Tuesday 7 February 2023

Curve 2023 Season Launch

Curve, Leicester

6th February, 2023

Last night, we were invited to Leicester’s Curve to hear more about their upcoming season. Set in the Studio, with the back wall lifted to reveal the illuminated back of Fly Davis’s atmospheric set for The Ocean at the End of the Lane, the event was hosted by Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, The Stage’s Deputy Editor Matt Hemley, and BBC Leicester’s Aminata Kamara. It was also our first opportunity to enjoy the new seating in the Studio. Replacing the two-tier black seats, the plush red seats are not only more comfortable but the space now feels like one. ‘Studio theatre’ can sometimes imply the work is more subordinate to what’s on the main stage, but this isn’t the case. The work we’ve seen in Curve’s Studio is certainly just as vital and dynamic as that produced next door and the new seating now reflects that. Similarly, Sheffield’s Crucible recently renamed its Studio to the Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse to welcome audiences to the space with a renewed vigour. Likewise, the new seating at Curve makes it a more democratic space and one which matches the audience’s experience to sitting in the main auditorium.

The evening started by reflecting on the last year: major revivals of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Billy Elliot, and The Wizard of Oz; West End transfers; UK tours; and community productions. Curve’s productivity and its commitment to make theatre coming out of the pandemic has (in my opinion at least) been unrivalled. Foster and Curve’s new Chair of the Board of Trustees Sita McIntosh spoke about Curve’s mission to create work with a local and national impact which encourages the next generation to engage with theatre. Their belief in the work and commitment to community is clear. From the bus loads of school groups seeing Ocean…, Curve is once again buzzing with activity.

After hearing a gorgeous rendition of ‘Tight Connection to My Heart’ from Conor McPherson and Bob Dylan’s The Girl from the North Country which plays at Curve next month, we moved on to the upcoming season. The breadth and eclecticism of work on and off the stage really stands out. In April, audiences can see Roy Williams’ 2010 play Sucker Punch and new musical Cake, a Parisian dance gig in one act. In May, Curve presents Jonathan Church’s new production of Broadway musical 42nd Street with choreography by Bill Deamer prior to a London run and UK tour. In the same month, the annual co-production with DMU will see students stage Jim Cartwright’s 1986 play Road in the Studio.

In September, after a well-received run last year at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre, Lotte Wakeham brings her production of The Book Thief, based on Marcus Zusak's novel, to Curve. There will also be a co-production with Frantic Assembly on a new version of Kafka’s Metamorphosis written by Lemn Sissay. Their accessible and contemporary take on Othello last year showed why they’re one of the most exciting theatre companies working today so I’m sure this will likewise be a must-see. And at Christmas, Foster will direct a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s Evita (1978). What’s really exciting is that Foster hinted it will make full use of the main stage similar to Billy Elliot, A Chorus Line and West Side Story. And in 2024, Curve will launch the UK tour of Come From Away, from which we heard Alice Fearn’s breath-taking version of ‘Me and the Sky’. There are also much anticipated UK tours of Annie, An Inspector Calls, Noughts and Crosses, SpongeBob the Musical and much more.

For further information, please visit https://www.curveonline.co.uk/

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