The cast of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles gathers in the drawing room. (Photo contributed by Chattanooga Theatre Center)

By Ryan Jordan, Staff Writer —

Chattanooga Theatre Centre presents “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” an intriguing stage show, beginning Jan. 26.

The story, based on Agatha Christie’s first novel of the same name, revolves around a murder mystery in a manor in Essex, England, in which the audience will be introduced to a variety of characters who may or may not be the murderer.

Head of the UTC Theatre department, Steve Ray, will be directing two UTC graduates, Matt Johnson and Emanuel Clark, in this production.

Ray is very passionate about theatre, an art form he thinks the current college generation could appreciate more than film if they would give it a try.

“Live theatre, when done well, can be far more compelling than film or television,” said Ray. “It’s like the difference between listening to a recording of your favorite artist and going to see them live; there’s just something special and exciting about being a witness to a live event.”

Ray is enthusiastic about directing this production that he is sure will thrill any viewer.

“The audience will enjoy watching Hercule Poirot, an iconic character in Christie’s novels, put the pieces of the puzzle together to solve the murder mystery,” said Ray. “The design elements will also be very appealing to the audience; the furniture and props actually look like a British country manor in 1917.”

Although he does not think the protagonist of the production is relatable to college students, Ray is sure they will still have quite an enjoyable experience.

“I’m not sure students will identify with the lead character,” he said, “not unless they have visited a friend while recuperating from a war wound only to have the matron of the home be murdered in the middle of the night. Identify? Probably not. Find it intriguing? Definitely.”

“The Mysterious Affair at Styles” will be presented at Chattanooga Theatre Centre from Jan. 26 through Feb. 11. Ticket prices vary by seating section and can be bought online or at the box office.

For more information about the Chattanooga Theatre Center and to buy tickets, visit

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