Category Archives: Curve Events

Fen Blog 3

Today is the casts last Wednesday rehearsal before their full week of tech and dress runs next week. As I haven’t visited for a while, the setup is more extensive as they now have a smashing brown carpet to represent their field, amongst many more props I’ve not seen before. Before they begin, the cast are practicing the ‘Harlem Shake’ – not sure this is part of the play!
I feel a bit lonely as the cast leave the room to talk to Demon FM. I’m pleased to see that they are taking an interest this year and that students are helping to promote their fellow students, it really heightens this production as being about the talent of DMU students. Everyone reappears in their costumes; they all look fetching in their light denim jeans, woolly jumpers and flowery housewife aprons. Tim surprises the group with metal buckets which they all seem especially excited about, particularly Becca who has to sit on one – Time does an impression of how she would sit on the plastic one, you can imagine.
Tim is telling everyone about their visitors for this evening – production team and set designers as well as photographers. He tells the cast that Curve’s photographer Pamela Raith will be taking photos of their tech rehearsal and that the cast can have copies for their CV. This is excellent for the cast members thinking about a professional career in acting and is an added bonus to this experience in general.
The first scene they run through is intense, frightening. The costume adds to the atmosphere but the acting has come on even more since my last visit.
I can’t continue much more as the cast then did a full run through and to explain how it went would be giving too much away. All I know is that I left the theatre feeling really emotional and I wasn’t sure why! A sure sign of brilliant acting and directing, of course. Read my interview with the cast to find out exactly how this experience has been for them.

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Review: The Laramie Project

Whilst many people across Leicester were hitting the (alcohol) bottle, catching up with friends after a busy week or packing to go to Egypt (okay, that’s probably just my sister!!), me and a couple of my friends decided to go and see ‘The Laramie Project’ at Curve theatre. Now, this wasn’t the way that I usually like to spend my Friday nights, but I was so glad that I decided to swap catching up with ‘Jersey Shore’ to go and support my fellow DMUers.

I purposely didn’t research anything about the play because I wanted to see it with an open mind, but I was aware that ‘The Laramie Project’ had something to do with the murder of a gay university student named Matthew Shepard. Due to the fact that ‘The Laramie Project’ was a collaborative partnership between De Montfort University and Curve, I knew it wouldn’t be like anything else I had previously seen at the theatre. However, I was certain that it would be excellent!!

The play itself was split into two acts, with a twenty minute interval in between, and whilst it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it was definitely mine. Seriously, I was captivated right from the beginning up until the very end. I was so impressed by the acting and the way that it sort of dived straight into the story. You found yourself chucked in the middle of everything, trying to piece it all together. In addition, I liked the fact that the actors were addressing the audience throughout the play – bar two scenes (I think), because it kind of made it more personal and made me feel more involved.

I think the reason why I was so moved by the play (like many others, I’m sure) is because it’s a true story and uses the actual dialogue of the people of Laramie who were involved, people who are actually alive today. In fact, I was so moved by the play that as soon as I got home, I started researching the story myself and spent the next morning watching the 2002 film with the same name. In both the play I watched on Friday and the 2002 film, I found the monologue by the actor portraying Matthew’s father Dennis incredibly moving because in all the drama of it all, you sometimes forget that Matthew was someone’s son, brother, grandson, and friend.

Personally, I can’t believe that incidences like this can and do occur, because the way I see it is; love is love regardless of gender, age, religion and all the other constraints that people have placed on it. Hopefully, one day everyone will be able to look beyond the social constraints that have been placed on love and accept it for what it really is.

The DMU students involved in ‘The Laramie Project’ did an excellent job. They’re so talented and I hope to see them on stage again at some point in the near future.

If you’ve seen The Laramie Project or if you’ve got an opinion about the play/incident/etc, feel free to pop your thoughts in the comments box below.


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DMU students in rehearsals for The Laramie Project


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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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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Goodbye 42nd Street

On Thursday, after the Young Marketing Forum meeting, I was fortunate enough to see ‘42nd Street’. Seriously, I had high expectations anyway because Curve’s Artistic Director Paul Kerryson never fails to impress, but this show far exceeded my expectations. Honestly, I was toe tapping all the way home and I couldn’t fall asleep that night because I had the song ‘We’re in the Money’ stuck in my mind (not that I’m complaining because I love that song!). The dancing was amazing, the vocals were flawless and it was such a great show, I am SO glad that I managed to see it before its run in Leicester comes to an end.

Anyway, let me pause in my love-fest about the show and tell you what ‘42nd Street’ is all about. It’s the story of a small-town American girl called Peggy Sawyer (or ‘Allentown’ as she is frequently called throughout the show because that’s where she comes from) and her journey from chorus girl to fully-fledged Broadway star. A show originally conceptualised to cheer people up during tough economic times; it is packed with dazzling show-stopping numbers and impressive dance routines, plus a score including a song that I am sure everyone knows called ‘We’re in the Money’. Purely for my own amusement, here is a YouTube-clip of the song from the original 1980 Broadway production;

Speaking of the original production, the 1980 Broadway show won the Tony Award for Best Musical and went on to become a long-running hit. When the show was produced in London, it went on to win an Oliver Award for Best Musical. The 2001 Broadway revival won the Tony Award for Best Revival.  Impressive, right?!

Drawing your attention back to Curve’s production of the show, I loved the fact that it went straight into the story without beating about the bush. I also liked how the 14-piece on-stage orchestra were used to draw the audience in and the way it was interwoven throughout the show, it was flawless. Paul Kerryson used the stage in such an imaginative way and I especially liked how the backdrop was used to recreate the feel of the Great Depression. As I previously mentioned, the dancing was incredible and I am sure that the vocals were some of the best that I have heard at Curve. In addition, the talented cast were fantastic, particularly Ria Jones as Dorothy, Geraldine Fitzgerald (that is my all-time favourite surname!) as Maggie and Tim Flavin gave an extremely strong performance as Julian Marsh.

Before I stop taking up your time ranting about my love of Curve and 42nd Street, I need to tell you that the tickets for Curve Young Company’s spring show are going to go on sale very soon, so please make sure you book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Last year’s show completely sold out, so don’t leave it too late to get your tickets for this year’s show. Keep your eyes on Curve’s website to find out exactly when and how you can book tickets.

Go on, support young people doing productive things!!


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Team Comms on Tour!

Last weekend Paddy, Lucy and I wrapped up and took a little trip up to the very beautiful city of Edinburgh for The King & I press night at Edinburgh Festival Theatre!

After the great success of our Christmas production of The King & I last December Curve is very proud to have secured a UK tour.  It opens in Edinburgh and will be heading back to Leicester from Tue 8 – Sat 12 May 2012.

The King & I was the very first show I watched at Curve and I have been besotted with the place ever since!  Having settled down after what I’m sure Lucy will agree was the longest train journey of OUR LIVES, we glammed up and headed straight over to the Theatre to be greeted by a few members of our Senior Management Team at Curve including Curve’s Artistic Director Paul Kerryson.

I’d almost forgotten just quite how stunning the costumes and dances were, with the story of Uncle Thomas proving to be one of my absolute faves.

This year’s production stars Josefina Gabrielle as Anna and Ramon Tikaram as The King of Siam (only Amiras Dad from Eastenders! Yes he’s been in a lot more but anybody that has been in my beloved Stenders is an instant star in my eyes).

After a lot of laughs, a bit of a sing a long and an absolutely spectacular show I cannot wait to welcome The King & I back to Curve next Summer!

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Diwali 2011 Celebrations at Curve

Last week saw the largest scale Diwali celebrations at Curve to date. These formed part of city-wide festivities in Leicester, home to the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India!

The events included three studio productions, a national South Asian dance symposium, a free saree exhibition and free foyer entertainment at ‘CurveBall’

The Saree exhibition on the mezzanine, curated by Belgrave Road retailer Anokhi Sarees.
The exhibition was opened on Diwali by Councillor Manjula Sood and three generations of the Modha family, who own Anokhi Sarees.

Watch highlights from Pukaar News here:

‘Curveball’ offers free foyer entertainment on the last Friday of the month. For Diwali on Friday 28 October, Curve’s foyer was brought to life by Bollywood dancing accompanied by the World Groove Orchestra.

The events had a great response from audiences and Bachchan Haule Haule and Amaas enjoyed sell out performances.

If you experienced any Diwali events in Leicester, let us know.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s Diwali!

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