With over 40% of students today unable to obtain an A-C grade in GCSE maths, Tangent, which opens tonight at the New Diorama theatre, shines a light on our struggle with the subject and its practical implications.

Here, the team from Waxwing Theatre company give us five reasons to go along.

It’s a great story! It covers the big things: love, death, friendship and our struggle to get ahead.
Chloe is a ‘new girl’ in an urban comp, struggling to get the support and the conditions she needs to succeed in her GCSE. Two-hundred years earlier, Samuel, a midshipman in the Royal Navy, learns the maths he needs to navigate a ship and pass his Lieutenant’s Exam. Learning from the ship’s Master, Samuel gets to grips with the maths, but he has to adjust to a life at sea and there is the small matter of being at war with Napoleon.

It’s a great mix of movement and words: very well written, but meshes with some fantastic movement work.
Juxtaposing these two very different worlds invites a strongly creative approach to staging. In answer Waxwing bring their exciting brand of theatre to bear, blending text, physicality and design to evoke these worlds and highlight the inherent drama of learning and problem solving. With a cast of nine, a rich palette of characters inhabits the stage and their stories unfold with humour and pathos

It's hard hitting and relevant – we need to educate our children better, and the government needs to listen.
Who could honestly say they looked forward to their maths lessons at school? A small minority, at most. The UK does not do well in international league tables on maths. We’re 28th – according to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD.) Despite repeated government attempts to reverse the situation, just over 40% of students don’t get an A-C in maths GCSE. A report, carried out by Sheffield University, and commissioned by the previous government, concluded that 22% of 16 to 19 year-olds are functionally innumerate, and that the situation had not much changed over the previous 20 years.

It's really original – who every heard about a maths play? (Well except for Complicite’s Disappearing Number).
Tangent provokes us to consider the ways young people learn and the systems they learn in, the pressures they are under, the role of the teacher and the part played by discipline. As the kids in the present day struggle to comprehend the purpose of maths beyond passing an exam, the midshipmen know it could make the difference between life and death.

It's great value, and part of great new venue.
New Diorama is an 80-seat theatre located in central London. They host and support theatre companies, both emerging and established, presenting a variety of productions ranging from comedy to drama.