NASDA’s latest play finds hope in adversity

Growing up in post-war Amsterdam, Thomas develops a colourful imagination to escape within his own mind from an abusive and strictly religious home, in which his father doesn’t appreciate Thomas’s fanciful tales of things that no-one else can see.

Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd’s National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts’ (NASDA) latest production of ‘The Book of Everything’ tells the beautifully honest story of a young boy finding magic in the mundane, while facing a volatile home life.

Director Holly Chappell says, “The play deals with quite meaty issues, but in a charming and accessible way that’s not too scary and a bit of fun. There’s also lots of imaginative moments so you’ll leave feeling really hopeful, which is exactly what we need right now.”

All 29 of NASDA’s second-year students are involved in the production, which has meant some creative multiple casting as the show is originally made for a cast of eight.

Tristan Valencia plays one of eight Thomases. “Thomas goes into his imagination to cope with the real world and writes his fantasies into his ‘Book of Everything’, including his dreams of being happy. With the help of some friends he grows as a character and realises in the end that he finally is happy.”

Thomas finds hope from the support of some unlikely allies such as his neighbour Mrs. van Amersfoort – a war survivor who is said to be a witch – and Eliza, a friend of his sister who has a leather leg which creaks when she walks; both of who teach him not to be afraid anymore.

The production features live music written and produced by the students. Nadia Hill plays the role of Mother and is also head of the music production, which includes an ensemble of live piano, guitar, percussion, glockenspiel, viola and violin.”We’ve created all our own music and sound effects for the show, underscoring all the moments where something is really magical or suspenseful which really makes it feel like a storybook.”

NASDA’s production of The Book of Everything is on 1-4 July in the NASDA Theatre, at Ara Institute of Canterbury’s Madras Street campus. Tickets can be purchased online via Eventbrite: