Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Young Arts Entrepreneurs (YAE) Project

Hey guys, I hope you’re all having an amazing 2012 so far! I’m Vicky and I’m a member of the Young Marketing Forum at Curve. I have been promising over and over to write a blog post and now it’s finally here. The year has started at an absolute high at Curve for me and 10 other young people and I just want to give you guys a brief update. As some of you may already know, Curve is running a project called Young Arts Entrepreneurs that is aimed at helping young people turn their ideas into enterprise in their chosen communities. It is a project new to Curve and the rest of the United Kingdom that will be established over a period of three years. In August there will be a celebration event where we will showcase the fruits of our projects. Hopefully you will get to know the other 10 entrepreneurs and their projects soon.

At the risk of making this a long read, I’m going to talk you through how I found out about YAE, the application process and hopes for the project. So it all started with me walking past Curve and wondering if such a cool Café was for just anyone or it was exclusive…No kidding that’s how it actually started. I wouldn’t go in on my own so one day whilst on my way back home with my friend we just thought oh what the heck, we’re going in. The service we got inside was just amazing and the cakes we had were lush, definitely under-priced! Basically the few minutes I was in that building for the first time made me want to know more about it so my next stop was the Curve website.

It was so surprising that there could be so much going on around us and we could easily not realise. Anyway there was an opportunity going for young people to join their marketing team. I jumped at the opportunity faster than light and got accepted. I had absolutely no background in marketing, all I was bringing to the table was my passion and determination to let everyone I can reach, know about what’s going on. I used to be one of those people who could have easily spent three years of my University life in a city so rich and never known about it. There is always something going on so if you’ve never been on the website, get surfing.

Got a bit excited there, anyway back on course, couple of weeks later in a YMF meeting we had the flyer that would advertise the YAE opportunity under discussion and the words that I remember so vividly from our coordinators were ‘This is for anyone who is into this kind of thing even you guys can go for it!’. I didn’t think much about it but ‘subconscious me’ wouldn’t let it go. Once they [flyers] were designed and ready, me being me, I jumped on a pile, stuck the flyers on every notice board I could find, handed it to anyone I thought might be interested and sure enough kept one for myself. I kept eyeing the flyer every now and then imagining how amazing it would be if I applied and actually got through. Lots of ideas were burning from inside and I knew then that if I didn’t write an application I would remain a dreamer and never more than that. I was not about to stand in my own way so I got out of my way and wrote the application and sent it.

Curve were interested in my project idea and wanted me to pitch it to them in person in a Dragon’s Den style event. I really didn’t know what to expect. They had arranged for two people to meet me upon my arrival and just have a casual chat before the presentation. It was an excellent way to calm all the nerves and get geared up for the pitch. When it came to actually delivering the presentation there were faces that meant business yet so friendly and calming. They were keen to know more about my idea [obviously :)] and had an interest which made the presentation meaningful and enjoyable to deliver. I had a couple of questions to answer after the presentation which is always daunting but overall it was a good experience that I’m glad to have had a chance to take part in.

At the moment we are being equipped to run the projects. Once the training period is over we will have to deliver our projects and then transform them into sustainable businesses. All the 10 projects are very diverse and will work with different kinds of people. I think Leicester will definitely benefit from all 10 in very different ways, both in the project phase and beyond the life of the projects. Pioneering such a huge thing is very exciting and we are all burning to get hands on.

Thanks for reading and please do watch the space for updates!

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Getting to know The Laramie Project

Photo by Briony Latter

The De Montfort University and Curve collaboration, The Laramie Project continues in rehearsal this week. Cast member, Kirsty Mealing took some time out to let us know how she’s been getting to know the piece better and developing her many roles.

I don’t think I have ever been quite so grateful to be doing a play, let alone being introduced to one, as I have been with ‘The Laramie Project’. The more and more we have been looking at the script and giving life to the characters, the more I’ve realised quite how much the play is about people. This is Verbatim Theatre: every word is what a real person has said, so every single word is important. As Joe said in his previous blog entry, you do feel a responsibility to do your character justice in their portrayal. And that doesn’t mean you should be the perfect mirror of them, it means you should say every word as though they are true ,and honest, to you. I think working on my characters and developing them with each rehearsal has allowed me to realise the honesty in which they speak, and it feels incredible!

Individually, the cast have been watching Louis Theroux’s documentary, where he visited the Westboro Baptist Church. It has been difficult to even be able to compute how these people can hate so much, and so passionately. Watching the documentary has definitely put fuel to the fire in the scene in which Fred Phelps , his followers, and ‘Angel Action’ go head to head: it’s becoming a really powerful moment.

One role I have been anxious to get ‘right’ is Reggie Fluty, the 39 year old Police Officer who dealt with Matthew’s body at the fence. As her story develops, you can see that she is a perfect example of how one horrific crime can affect the people in the community. What I love about her is her dedication to her job, she tries to help Matthew wholeheartedly: it’s immensely refreshing to play someone with such a big personality who is willing to put herself at risk in order to do her job to the of her abilities. I am genuinely proud to be playing her.

We are getting our character costume pieces this week, and I’m excited to see what Reggie and the other people I am playing will have. It’s just so exciting to see everything get pieced together now.

The Laramie Project runs at Curve 12 – 17 March.
Tickets only £5 or play and a pint for £7.

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DMU students in rehearsals for The Laramie Project

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A cast of performers from the Drama programme at DMU are currently in rehearsals for ‘The Laramie Project’: a powerful piece of theatre based on interviews with the inhabitants of Laramie, Wyoming, following the brutal murder of a young man in 1998.

Cast member, Joe Middleton, took some time during rehearsals to let us know how he’s discovering the piece and its characters and what audiences can expect from the play:

“Rehearsals for The Laramie Project are now in full swing, with most of the play loosely blocked with a skeleton structure to now build upon!

I’m really enjoying developing each character stage by stage and this is even easier now that my lines are near enough learnt. You feel such a responsibility for the characters that you are portraying because of the fact that every word spoken is true. Poignant moments of mine within the play include a moment with Stephen Mead Johnson, a Unitarian chuch minister, when he’s describing the fence where Matthew Shepherd was tied to and killed, and how its become almost a pilgrimage site for visitors to the town. Imagining the place where Matthew Shepherds brutal beating took place creates such a spiritual feel for the moment and is quite difficult to portray in order to do it justice, but I will get there!

Today in rehearsals, we used this moment and conducted an improvisation in which I took a group of people to the fence. This helped me to grasp the sense of spirituality that the character would have felt from going out there, and convey it much more effectively in my monologue. Another role which I’ve been working on extensively is the character of Harry Woods, a 52 year old gay man who describes the homecoming parade that he wanted to march with in Matthew Shepherds name. However, he recounts how he was unfortunately unable to march that day because of a cast on his leg due to a fall, so he had to watch from his window. It is quite a touching moment in the play, and really pulls with your heartstrings as he becomes so emotionally overwhelmed by the amount of people he sees marching for Matthew. Conveying this moment in the monologue with a true sense of realism was difficult at first but now I’ve developed a much greater connection with the character and am therefore able to understand where he is coming from. I think I feel sorry for the fact that he was unable to join the march that day but also happy that, as he says in the speech, ‘He got to see this in his lifetime’.

Tomorrow is a full loose run of the play, and with lines learnt, I can’t wait to put all that I have worked on together and hopefully feel a great sense of fulfillment for the work we have done so far.”

The Laramie Project runs at Curve 12 – 17 March.

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Curve Young Company’s 2012 Show – What’s Going On?

I’ve lost count of just how many Young Marketing Forum (YMF) meetings the forum has had, but it was only during the last meeting that we finally found out some details about Curve Young Company’s new spring/summer production. However, due to the fact that it’s a devised piece, these details could change by the time the forum meets again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with or can’t remember what devised theatre is, let me explain.

Devised theatre is a form of theatre where the show’s script originates from the collaborative work by a group of people. It can be the performers themselves, as was the case with ‘Hotel Paradiso‘ by Familie Floz, but it doesn’t have to be. It is my understanding that the Young Productions group are coming up with the ideas for the stories, but an up-and-coming scriptwriter is going to piece them all together into one coherent show. I think that’s right, although don’t hold me to it!

On the one hand it’s exciting because you’re kept on your toes, but on the other hand it’s difficult – for the YMF, especially – to know just what to communicate to the public. The reason for this is because it has to be vague enough so there’s room to make any necessary changes to the show, but clear enough to give the public an idea of what the show is going to be about/like.

I have some experience with this type of theatre because a very long time ago, when I was in secondary school in London, I took part in something similar. I initially only participated because of my friends, but I am so glad I did because I picked up a load of transferable skills that have come in quite handy whilst I’ve been working with the forum. Basically, what we had to do was to ultimately devise a show to be staged at Ilford Town Hall. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed because I was involved with scripting the show, naming the show, getting sponsorship for the show and marketing the show – which was the most challenging aspect because, like I previously said, it’s difficult to know what to tell potential sponsors about the show and what information to put on the marketing materials for the show when it’s continually changing.

The details that I know so far, and am allowed to tell you about, are;

  • Initially the show was going to be a double-bill, with the group splitting into two depending on their age, but it has now been decided that both groups are going to work together to produce one fantastic show. I think the forum is happy with this decision because it means that we now only have to think about marketing one show, as opposed to two.
  • It looks like the show is going to be inspired by London 2012 and the themes from the Olympics are going to be incorporated into the stories. I think that’s an excellent idea because it will provide some structure to the show and it’s capitalising on something that’s only going to grow in popularity – London 2012. However, as opposed to being purely sports-orientated, I think the show it going to be more rooted in real-life and the audience are going to be able to identify with the core meanings behind each story. Does that make sense?
  • Presently, the show is going to tell a number of different stories that tie-in with the themes of London 2012. These shows are probably going to be told using a variety of different approaches, including; dance, interviews, physical, monologue, etc. That’s the element that I am most looking forward to seeing, in addition to finding out what the tone of the show will be. Will it be comedy, inspiration, emotive, all three? Only time will tell!

I think those are the main points to mention in relation to the impending Curve Young Company’s Spring/Summer show, although if there are any others I am sure one of my fellow forum members will write about them and fill in the gaps.

The challenge for the Young Marketing Forum, in my opinion, is the communication of the show to the public. As I previously mentioned, due to the nature of devised theatre, we can’t be too specific about what the show is going to be about or be like because it could all change – especially as the show is in its improvisational stage – yet, we can’t be too vague because we want to convey a sense of what the show will have in store. In addition, this is something that we immediately need to think about and pin down because we need to create a title-treatment for Curve’s website, alongside details about the show. However, once we’ve all decided on this, everything will be set in motion such as the title-treatment can be produced, the leaflets can be designed and printed and we can all breathe a little easier!

I don’t think there’s much more to add, but the forum will definitely keep you up to date with the gossip in relation the new show.

Until next time,

Priya

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Hotel Paradiso

I have to admit that my highlight of the week was seeing a show that I hardly knew anything about at Curve. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, the show was called ‘Hotel Paradiso’ and it was only stopping in the UK for three nights – so it’s a good thing I was able to catch it when I did. However, before I tell you all about the show, let me tell you about its co-producers; Familie Flöz.

Familie Flöz can trace their roots all the way back to the main coal-mining area of Germany, the Ruhrgebiet. The ‘Flöz’, the German world for ‘seam’, is a layer in the earth and it gave the company’s first place its title; ‘Family Flöz Reaches Daylight’ (1996). A few years later the company started using ‘Familie Floz’ as its name and they gradually expanded into an international pool of actors, mask-builders, directors, producers, musicians, set-designers, light-designers and artists. That’s ‘Familie Flöz’ in a nutshell.

Now, on to the show itself.

First and foremost, I had such an excellent seat – right in the middle of the first row (thankfully the show took place in the studio so I didn’t spend the whole time looking up at the action), which was exciting and intimidating at the same time because I was dreading any kind of attempts by the actors to engage the audience. Yes, contrary to popular belief, I am shy!

I had no idea of what to expect before I saw the show, Curve’s website didn’t say too much, but I think that’s a good thing otherwise it might have given some of the best elements of the show away. For example, the characters convey everything from happiness, disappointment, confusion, annoyance and a whole host of other feelings, without actually uttering a single word. In addition, each character had its own mask and it was quite remarkable just how many emotions can be conveyed to the audience by tilting the mask in different ways, by using expressive body language and without saying a word. I was amazed! Finally, I would say that there were over ten characters, all brought to life by four talented (and good looking!) actors. To say that they did a good job is such an understatement, they were fantastic.

I am being completely honest when I say that I didn’t think I would enjoy the show half as much as I did and, although my initial motivation to see the show was so that I had something completely different to write about, I’m so glad I went to see it. When I tried telling people about how good the show was, they don’t really believe me, but I’m not even joking. Seriously, if you ever have the opportunity to see anything by these guys, go and see it – you won’t regret it!

That’s one of the things I love about Curve, it’s so diverse in its offering and visitors have the chance to see shows that they might not have the opportunity to see otherwise. It’s such a huge asset to Leicester!

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‘…a bawdy romp through sci-fi Thebes’ – Oedipussy is coming to Curve.

On 7 February, Curve Young Company member Jenni Smith and Curve’s media officer Lucy Pickering attended the opening night of Spymonkey’s ‘Oedipussy’ at Royal & Denrgate theatre, Northampton.

OEDIPUSSY REVIEW

Kill your father and marry your mother.

That’s the basic concept at work in Oedipus, the tragedy which sent Sophocles to the top spot for playwrights in Ancient Greece almost two thousand five hundred years ago. A lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Spymonkey, a clowning quartet of rather epic proportions, have transformed the classic text into a bawdy romp through sci-fi Thebes – say that ten times fast. It’s a playful revenge against Scotsman critic Joyce McMillan’s review of Spymonkey’s last show, Moby Dick (2011). Instead of accepting her demand for maintaining the sacredly serious performance of high literature, Spymonkey do quite the opposite. There’s no shortage of blood, sweat and tears, though it’s strategically placed paper cut-out blood, sweat from running around in between costume changes and tears of laughter from the audience. This is physical comedy at its best; everything McMillan condemned – ‘silly walks and slapstick’ – which tickles the audience in just the right places.

To read Jenni’s full review, pick up a copy of The Demon newspaper.

View the Spymonkey rehearsal video

Spymonkey’s Oedipussy is at Curve, 27 – 31 March.
£10 tickets for aged 16 – 26 yrs.
For more information and to book tickets: 0116 242 3595 / www.curveonline.co.uk