22 May 2021

Returning to Curve - Season Preview

The beating heart of the Arts scene here in Leicester is undoubtedly Curve and after 14 months with it's doors closed the theatre finally welcomed it's first audience again for it's season launch event and what a pleasure it was to be there.

I want to assure anyone who reads this and is feeling nervous or anxious about returning to a theatre that the measures that both Curve and Royal and Derngate which I visited on the same day have put in superb systems that run smoothly and feel really safe. 

Before the show you receive your tickets with the confirmation e-mail, you can print these off or show them on your phone, you also receive information about attending the theatre again. On the tickets it included your arrival time and your route for once you arrive - at Curve there is two routes, blue and red. The information was clear and really useful - masks to be worn, you can order drinks to your seat amongst other things.

The stunning in-the-round staging at Curve.

Outside Curve there was a steward helping and guiding people to the right queues and once in these queues they moved fairly slowly at first (this was the first night back after all) but once they got moving it was like a well oiled machine. Entering the building and unbeknownst to us all we had our temperatures checked. Curve's Chief Executive, Chris Stafford explained that you wouldn't notice but once you enter there's a check on everyone's temperature and it would flag to a staff member if anyone entered and theirs's was raised.

After checking in on the NHS Track and Trace App it was inside the building, you follow a one-way system around to the correct door into the auditorium. At the door you have your ticket checked and in you are, and I can't really describe that feeling of seeing the space again and that amazing set up Curve have done. For those unaware and whilst social distancing is in place, Curve are using their two performances spaces superbly. In the middle of both is the stage which is in the round. The stage is on a revolve that was kindly donated by Cameron Mackintosh

There was a slightly extended interval of around 30 minutes which allows for audience to stretch their legs or go to the loo or order refreshments from their seat. This again was managed brilliantly by all the Curve staff.

The season preview events are basically a way to tell audiences more about the productions and companies that are going to be visiting Curve in the coming months and for audiences to get a snippet of performances from those shows. The evening was hosted by Chris Stafford, Matt Hemley and Geeta Pendse with Artistic Director Nikolai Foster sadly unable to attend as he was in hospital - I'd like to wish him a speedy recovery.

There's a whole host of brilliant productions coming to Curve. The re-opening socially distanced season includes Welcome Back!, an evening of work from local artists (21st and 22nd May), Rising from Aakash Odedra Company (24th and 25th May), AMDRAM: A Musical Comedy by Quick Fantastic (27th to 29th May) and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (7th to 19th June 2021).

Serendipity are bringing an exhibition, Colonisation in Reverse: Jean-Léon Destiné Exhibition to Curve. The free exhibition will allow visitors to see archival materials from choreographer Jean-Léon Destiné's career. Jean-Léon (1918 – 2013) is known for his choreography that addresses Haiti’s history of resistance against colonialism and slavery. The exhibition will run between 27th May and 30th June with free timed entry tickets available from Curve's website. 

Laura Pitt-Pulford performing a number from AMDRAM.


There's two streaming events taking place with Curve first partnering with De Montfort University in their latest co-production Blood WeddingBlood Wedding is a gripping Spanish tragedy from the writer of Yerma and The House of Bernarda AlbaFederico García Lorca. Inspired by a true story and first performed in 1933, the play will be creatively reimagined for the digital stage. Blood Wedding streams between 27th and 31st May. The second stream is a family show from The Gramophones Theatre Company and their production of Aidy The Awesome. It tells of a normal 8 year old girl, Aidy, or so she thinks, one day she discovers a family secret that changes everything. Aidy and her granny embark on an adventure that turns their world upside down. They even begin to question what normal is. After all, who wants to be normal when you can be SUPER! Aidy The Awesome Stream on 31st May and 1st June.

There's plenty of visiting companies coming to Curve throughout the year. Peter James' Looking Good Dead which will star Adam Woodyatt and Gaynor Faye will run between 1st and 3rd July (subject to government guidance easing restrictions). Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice bring their show Him and Me on 4th July. Mischief Theatre's touring production of Magic Goes Wrong will begin it's tour at Curve between 16th and 24th July. The Made at Curve production of Grease will also begin it's tour at Curve running for two nights on 30th and 31st July

The big summer production will see Curve return to in-the-round with a concert staging of the musical Rent. Directed by Nikolai Foster the show will run between 10th and 21st August 2020

Further productions include Dial M For Murder (31st August - 4th September), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof directed by Anthony Almeida running in the Studio (3rd - 18th September), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (13-18th September), Everybody's Talking About Jamie (20th - 25th September), Six The Musical (28th Sept - 3rd October), What The Ladybird Heard (30th September - 3rd October), Hairspray (4th - 9th October), Matthew Bourne's new production The Midnight Bell (11th - 16th October), Tell Me On A Sunday (12th - 16th October), Derren Brown: Showman (19th - 23rd October), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2nd - 13th November).

The Christmas production will be a new production of A Chorus Line again directed by Nikolai Foster. The musical that is described as a "love letter to theatre" will bring some real spectacle to the festive season. The production will run from 3rd to 31st December 2020. The original 2020 Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz has been pushed back to Christmas 2022 before it heads out on a national tour.

Emma Williams performing 'Seasons of Love' from Rent

At the season preview there were guests talking about some of the above mentioned productions as well as some fabulous performances including Jessica Daley performing the title song from Love Never Dies and Tim Rogers performed 'Gethsemane' from Jesus Christ Superstar - both of whom will star in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. There was excellent dance from the Curve Resident Creative Company Wayward Theatre who performed at the new work showcase. Laura Pitt-Pulford performed a number from AMDRAM which she will star in (and I've booked for). Sheep Soup, associate artists of Curve performed a song from Hording. Melanie La Barrie performed a spellbinding rendition of 'What I Did for Love' from A Chorus Line. Emma Williams closed the evening with a solo rendition of 'Seasons of Love' from Rent. All the musical performances were with Alex Parker on the piano.

All in all it was such a superb evening, just being back in this gorgeous theatre and having such a lovely time. Seeing familiar faces in the audience and previewing some of the great work that lies ahead. Attending Curve felt safe and I can assure you from first hand experience the whole team at Curve have done an amazing job to make everyone feel comfortable in returning to the theatre.

To find out more about the Curve season or to book tickets to any of the productions that I've mentioned please visit www.curveonline.co.uk

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