Preview – The Picture of Dorian Gray

David Knowles chats to the co-directors of this week’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’

Assembly Rooms DST Nicoletta Asciuto Oscar Wilde Steffi Walker Tom Eklid

David Knowles interviews Tom Eklid and Steffi Walker, Co-directors of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

First Question, why did you choose The Picture of Dorian Gray?

Tom: I was wandering around a book shop over the summer and they had a ‘modern classics’ section with four books for £1.99. One of the ones I picked was ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and on the train up to Durham I settled down and read the entire book in one sitting. All the way through I just couldn’t help thinking that this would be brilliant as a play and when I approached Steffi with a tentative idea she was just as enthusiastic as I was, then it all developed from there.

Steffi: Tom and I have acted in a few plays together at Durham and have been friends since our Freshers’ Play; when he approached me telling me he’d read an amazing book.


Firstly I was stunned that he had read a book – he does maths – and secondly I love Oscar Wilde, so directing Dorian together was a no-brainer. The book is decadent with subtle hints of debauchery but what has made it a classic is how it deals with the universal issues of growing older, morality and working out what you want from life.


This play is the best adaptation of the book we could find and I felt that despite its strong Victorian references, it is still relevant to modern audiences; it’s also bursting with Wildean witticisms which I adore.

Can you summarise the story for us?

Dorian Gray has an exquisite portrait painted and wishes it could age in his place. Over the course of the next 18 years, guided by the morally corrupting influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he devotes himself to the worship of his senses, leaving a trail of heartbreak and sin in his wake.

What's your favourite moment in the show?

Steffi: Obviously I enjoy the whole play, but the scenes where Dorian is at his most morally corrupt are great; particularly his scenes with the Vanes and Alan.

Tom: There are so many bits I really love, but some of my favourite parts have to be the schoolroom scenes and the interplay between Dorian, Henry and Basil.

Give us one killer reason why Durham students should come and see the show?

Because you get to see Charlie Warner half naked to the sounds of David Bowie…


Photography courtesy of Nicoletta Asciuto

Venue: The Assembly Rooms Theatre

Performances: Thursday 1st-Saturday 3rd March: 7:30pm (and 2:30pm Saturday matinee)

Tickets: £5.5/£5/£4.5 Normal/Student/DST (£5/£4.5/£4 Sat Mat)

To book head to or contact [email protected]