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Interview with the cast of Fen

As I haven’t been involved in the show, I thought readers may like to hear from the cast themselves. Cast includes first year Drama student Sarah, second years Hannah Putnam, Katharina, Amy and Becca Robson as well as Performing Arts student Alex, and third years Becca Cooper, Hannah Abbott, Jonny and Kirsty as well as their stage manager, Gina.

Q How has this experience been for you?

Amy: Really good
Hannah A: Yeah, it’s good to feel part of a company.

Becca C: Eye opening. I know Caryl Churchill was a varied playwright but I had no idea she was this dark. Tim’s made it a whole lot darker. It’s amazing to see how a director can bring out the potential in a play.

Becca R: Amazing. Acting is something I was considering but wasn’t sure about so this has been amazing to work in a professional company. Tim has been good for setting up a professional atmosphere and expects us to work to a high level. It’s good for me to know how it works and that it’s what I want to do.

Hannah P: Amazing, great to work with people of the industry, costume and sound. I’ve not done a production this big before.

Kirsty: This time round everyone is at rehearsal together so the company are really close.
Even when you’re not in the scene, you’re still in it. It’s like there’s more excitement when something awesome happens.

Gina: This experience has been amazing, it’s helped my develop so many skills and i feel especially proud to be the first student to work on the production side of a collaboration project

Alex: This experience has been a great one for me! I have been so privileged to be a part of it and would like to thank everyone involved for making this so perfect for me!

Katharina: It has been (well, still is :)) a very special experience for me. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the time with the cast has been wonderful. It’s such a great chance to perform at a theatre like Curve, which keeps you motivated to do your best. It has been very challenging as well, you get pushed to your boundaries and beyond, but it helps you to improve. And we had a lot of fun as well!

Q What have you gained from this experience?

Becca C: Acting experience. It’s so demanding – so many things I have to do with little lines. Also the friends I’ve made and the sense of community has been really lovely.

Sarah: More experience, it’s been more professional than anything else I’ve been in – I was in one other show which was a lot different.

Hannah P: Confidence. Tim isn’t the kind of director who tells you each position, he just gives you the overall idea and it gives you that confidence as an actor.

Kirsty: I’ve learnt to act bigger, I tend to do quite small acting. It was difficult but good to learn.
Hannah P: Pushes you.

Gina: I have gained so much experience working with curve and have developed some great contacts that I know I’ll be using in the future.

Alex: I have gained so much from this experience. Coming from the Performing Arts course rather than the Drama course, I started out feeling a lot less confident about my abilities than maybe some of the other performers. However after taking part, I have learnt so much in the way of acting and becoming stronger and more natural, and have made some brilliant friends along the way who I hope to be friends with for a long time!

Katharina: I have learned some new approaches and methods concerning character development, textual work and blocking. Tim is always very interested in little details and reminds us to think about each pause, each full stop. It is brilliant to see how much you can get from the play text! I’ve also gained more confidence in performing in English, as this is still a lot more difficult for me. We all became friends throughout the rehearsals and I’m sure we’ll keep in contact after the show.

Jonny: A massive boost in confidence. I have a bigger swagger in me step. I’ve liked learning different styles of acting, I feel extremely lucky to have been given these opportunities.

Q How does this compare to previous years?

Becca C: Greek pushed me physically, as in my physical boundaries but this has pushed me emotionally. Two different experiences with two very different directors. Adele brought out the style of the play whereas Tim works on emotions of characters.

Becca R: I didn’t even know this was a thing. I saw Laramie last year and thought Holy Bananas, was blown away by the standard of the performance and asked the cast how to get involved. Jonny and Kirsty told me to look out for the e mail from Roger at the beginning of the year and here I am!

Alex: I did not take part in last year’s production, although I went to see it and loved it! I have found that this year has been the perfect one for me to start on and I hope to continue this into the next year!

Katharina: I didn’t know that there was the possibility to take part in the show last year – I didn’t get any information about it. I would have been to scared to audition anyway I guess, as I just moved to England last year.

Q Do you feel this would help towards a career in acting?

Amy: Yeah, I’ve wanted it more since doing this.
Hannah: Good for lecturers to see you act

Amy: What you do at uni is …weird so it’s good to do real acting.

Becca C: Working in professional environement is different from uni, being directed is much more satisfying to the devising we do in class. I’m hoping to do an MA in acting.

Gina: This project has shown me that i do want to be a stage manager in the future, i know that i want to be taking a MA in a few years and i believe this will help me gain a place on a prestigious course.

Alex: Absolutely! As a Performing Arts student, I learn more about contemporary styles of performance, so to add one more string to my bow is always helpful!

Katharina: I do hope so – you need as much experience as you can get. It’s good to be able to provide some evidence of what shows you have been involved with.

Jonny: Because of the first experience I had with Greek, it encouraged me to persue acting and get involved with Off the Fence. Infact, a Leicestershire theatre group saw me in Greek and took me to Edinburgh.

Q How does this compare to other shows you have done?

Hannah A: This is more relaxed, some directors can be impatient

Amy: But you still get stuff done

Becca R: It was interesting to work with my local drama club where the cast were quite adult so this is interesting because of the younger cast, it’s a different dynamic. I prefer this because its more professional, the community feel is down to Tim having everyone here, I reckon Fen will always have a special place in my heart.

Gina: I’ve always been interested in stage management and my friends encouraged me to go for this role. To be honest I didn’t expect to be the official stage manager, I thought I’d be an assistant so I was very surprised.

Alex: Without a doubt the best show I’ve done! I have enjoyed every second, and would like to thank everyone involved for this experience, and hope everybody enjoys the show!!

Katharina: It’s really different from everything I have done before, simply because this is probably the biggest live performance I have ever been involved in. It’s the first time I have worked with a professional director, which makes such a big difference. It’s so good to have someone to tell you if you’re doing a good or a bad job and who can instruct you. It’s also very different, as we’re all almost on stage all the time. It’s also great to see that everyone is fully committed, so it truly feels like a collaborative group work!

Jonny: I was in last year’s Curve Community production of Oliver! And I found these DMU Collaborations to be more professional, you’re held to a higher standard. Whilst this is a great opportunity for us we are held to these responsibilities to give you experience of being a professional actor, we are working under Curve’s name so we don’t want to show them up!

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Fen Blog 2

As I entered this next rehearsal, I feel intrusive as the cast are in discussion with Tim discussion the plan for today. They have made charts and graphs about their character’s process through the play – a very interesting rehearsal technique, a good way for the cast to get into character. I sit next to Gina as I watch; she is inputting everyone’s measurements for costume.
The scene they start with is ‘exactly slap bang in the middle’ Gina tells me, one including all the female cast. The atmospheric music I mentioned last time assists their transition as they all walk very slowly to new positions, it seems very ghost like.
There are only two girls talking in this scene whilst all the others stand at the back staring at Becca, can’t wait to see it in context.
‘Waa’, Gina supplies the sound effects to prompt Amy as she goes to nurse a baby that looks a lot like a towel. Amy has a lot to do in this scene, Tim and Gina remind her of where she has to be on each line – acting isn’t as easy as it may look. ‘That’s alright don’t worry, it’s not easy’, reassures Tim. Now Jonny has entered the scene and poor Amy now has to tend to him with overlapping dialogue and numerous tasks to continue the scene. The other girls are still staring forward, except Kirsty who has her eyes fixed on Becca. I wonder what she’s done.
‘I must say Amy, you handle eating soup and holding a baby incredibly well’ Gina compliments her. The way Becca is miming ironing, I wouldn’t trust her with mine.

With 7 weeks left to go, Tim reminds Rebecca to be off script as soon as possible. Hopefully the chart she was making earlier will help her remember her lines. Tim now advises the cast that punctuation is important, he is very thorough with his direction, always giving explanations as to why he is saying what he is saying; ‘we really have to understand the depth of the story’.
The cast now all sit round Tim as they read through the same scene, I think Tim felt they needed to get to know their lines better before they could run through it again.
‘We’ll do this scene, then we have a nice romantic scene, then we’ll go to church. What a strange play this is!’ Tim explains as they get up to put the scene in action again.
As they finish this scene, Hannah and Sarah, who play mother and daughter Angela and Becky, cross paths with Alex (playing Frank), staring at him as he passes. ‘Oh, I’m so sorry to stop you again, I’ve just had a genius idea’ Tim inserts. ‘Bing’ Becca adds. I won’t say what it was though because I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Everyone has a giggle at Gina’s expense as she flop-runs out of the room telling Tim something on the way out. He gives a good impression of her as he imitates her run, telling everyone that he couldn’t hear what she said. They all let her know of his mimicking when she re-enters the room.
Now they practice the Church scene but after a few lines they can’t continue as Becca has the giggles; ‘the highs and lows of a Fen rehearsal’ Tim observes. I think she was laughing at Rebecca’s accent to which Tim tells them, ‘don’t worry the accent man will be here in two weeks time’, I like the term ‘accent man’. Kirsty’s accent however is very good, she has practiced her speech well and I am involved in her story as she delivers.
As they practice this scene I can see that some of the cast have multi-roles. This mirrors last years Laramie Project as all cast members had at least 3 characters each. Playing more than one character in a play is a very hard task to determine as a young actor, a challenge of which I’m sure Tim will direct them through during the rest of the process. As I type this though he jokes, ‘tonight’s problem, what is a Jesus hug?’
‘Tight’ answers Gina.
As Becca and Sarah leave their scene, Tim tells him what he has thought for Val (Becca’s character). ‘Tim makes this play sadder’, Gina says. It is true, what he directs Becca to do is very heart-wrenching and I find myself even more intrigued. Becca’s giggles ruin the scene again though as she laughs her way through that serious exit. Tim makes her go back and do it again. The scene is beautiful once she carries it through correctly.
As they approach the next scene, Tim tells everyone that the great grandmother’s speech, played by Rebecca, is a verbatim one. The knowledge that these are words that Churchill collected from a real old lady from the Fens makes the sadness of this scene even more poignant.
Finally, Tim sits everyone down at the end to reflect on today’s session, congratulating them on their progress and describing how they are now beginning to properly understand the words of the play, portraying them convincingly.

Follow @Fenfm on twitter to hear from the cast members themselves. (According to Rebecca, Caryl Churchill follows!)

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Curve and De Montfort University collaboration


Sitting in the Curve café, sipping a hot chocolate that comes with a free biscuit, I await my first visit to the Fen rehearsals. As I sit here, Becca, who is playing Val, is practicing her lines, her West Country accent already authentic. This year, the cast have had one 3-4 hour rehearsal a week where all cast are required to attend. I’ve been told that Fen is about a varied community who live in the Cambridgeshire Fens, and it seems as though this weekly group rehearsal helps gain a sense of community in the group.

Today is a small rehearsal however as people have gone home for Christmas. As I sit to talk to Tim their director, they all get involved in a ball game to warm up, trying not to let the ball touch the floor. As they warm up, Tim puts ‘Call me maybe’ on through the speakers. While they wait for Jonny to get the ball the girls do a goofy dance. ‘This is the kind of mad stuff we get up to you see,’ says Tim as he joins in. Next thing I know I’m being plummeted with tennis balls.

Something new to this year’s production is their student stage manager Gina, who is also a DMU Drama student. She seems very much part of the cast which will ease them all when it comes to tech and dress rehearsals, having a friendly face rather than the scary techie men with beards, wearing all black.

After they decide which scenes to rehearse, they start to set up. Their set consists of randomly placed buckets and tennis balls all over the floor. I’m intrigued to see how this will transform in production. Tim is deciding some staging; ‘Jonny may have to drag you for a minute’ he decides, to which Becca replies, ‘I’m so sorry.’ These two have had many an awkward scene together, Becca playing Jonny’s mother and lover in Greek in the DMU/Curve’s first collaboration. If you know the story of Oedipus, then you’ll know what I’m referring to! I think Jonny is filling in for Alex though, who plays Frank. The task that Tim has set seems harder for Becca though, as she tries to stay limp and keep a straight face. Tim tells Gina, ‘Google how to move a dead body’ to which she replies, ‘I don’t know if that’s a joke’. Today they have a music man, Tom. He has a green guitar with a cool piece of equiptment that makes his guitar make atmospheric music. It works really well and adds an understanding to the strange place that the characters are situated. ‘It’s a very sinister play’ Tim tells me as they think about one of Val’s lines after she has awoken from the dead. I told him that I thought the play was about potatoes – ‘So did we’. As they all explore this eerie scene, Gina suddenly pops up with, ‘I typed in how to move a body across the stage and it came up with AA Breakdown cover’; looks like this will have to come down to pure acting skills. Even in rehearsal with no costume or effects, it is an eerie scene. Tim gives Becca notes to make her lines ‘make sense’, and she takes them well, I am fully involved in her story as I listen.

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A feel-good musical for  families and grown-ups – who haven’t fully grown up!
A new musical comedy adapted from the much-loved Oscar winning film,Finding Neverland 


Multiple Oscar and Tony Award winning Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, (Shakespeare in Love, The Kings Speech, Pulp Fiction and Chicago) chose to premiere the show in Leicester before it goes to the West End next year.

Harvey said “the Curve is one of the leading regional theatres in the whole of the UK. The state of the art theatre enables us to put on this huge show, with the massive technical requirements for our big budget set and production.”

Producer Harvey Weinstein and Director Rob Ashford with Leicester’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby
Photo by Iain Jacques

Watch the production trailer >>

Finding Neverland is a show for the whole family. It tells the incredible story of the writer J.M. Barrie and the adventures he had with the family he met that inspired him to write Peter Pan. Directed by Tony and Olivier award winner Rob Ashford, whose previous shows include Streetcar Named Desire with Rachel Weisz, Anna Christie with Jude Law and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Daniel Radcliffe.

British stage and screen actor Julian Ovenden will play Barrie.  Having conquered the West End and Broadway, this charismatic actor and singer has just released his debut album and is well known for playing many leading roles in high profile television shows on both sides of the Atlantic. Two spine-tingling, show-stopping performances at the 2010 Proms, singing Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Julian Ovenden and Rosalie Craig
Photo by Pamela Raith

West End actress Rosalie Craig will play Sylvia, the mother of the Llewelyn Davies boys, who inspired Barrie to write his classic stories. Craig is currently wowing audiences and critics as the Mother in Ragtime at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London.  Her other recent theatre credits include Company at Sheffield Crucible and Aspects of Love at the Menier for which she was nominated for the Best Actress in a Musical Award.

Don’t miss the chance to see this world premiere right here in Leicester, book tickets at and follow us on twitter @FNthemusical #FindingNeverlandTheMusical

Book tickets and more information:
Curve Ticket Office 0116 242 3595

22 SEPT – 13 OCT 2012

Curve Young Company 2013/13

Curve Young Company (CYC), the young people’s theatre company for 12 – 26 year olds, is expanding this Autumn.

We are launching three new groups: Curve Musical Theatre, Curve Text and Curve Physical. As the names suggest, each of these groups will focus on a particular genre of theatre allowing members to develop key skills in this area.

Curve Young Company 2012-13 Auditions – from wc 17 Sept 2012

Curve Musical Theatre

Mondays                            6.00pm – 9.00pm

Oliver! Rehearsals
Photo by Pamela Raith

Curve Musical Theatre is a group that focuses on exploring musicals and musical theatre practice’s. Each project members will be working on a musical learning and developing key skills such as singing and movement, acting through songs, developing harmonies and choral practices.

Curve Physical

5.00pm – 7.00pm

Curve Physical is a group that focuses on the development of theatre skills and techniques and the work of different theatre practitioners. Each project will introduce, develop and focus on the learning of a skill and theatre practice; these may include things like physical theatre, mask, puppetry and Greek theatre.

CYC production 2012: Game Face.
Photo by Pamela Raith

Curve Text 

7.30pm – 9.30pm

Curve text is a group that focuses on plays and text. Members will learn the process of how an actor approaches a text and how to bring text to life. Each project the group will work with a director exploring a script; these may include things like traditional play texts such as Shakespeare, Brecht, Ibsen, and Miller.

If you are interested in being a part of Curve Young Company and would like to audition please contact Ticket Office on 0116 242 3595 to register your name.

Discounted Tickets!  £5 Ticket Offer for CYC Members

All members of CYC are eligible for £5 tickets for selected shows. These tickets are limited though – so book quickly to secure your place!
Shows included in the offer are:

Obama the Mamba
Entertaining Mr Sloane
Hello Dolly!

Keep up to date with Curve Young Company

Curve Young Company has a Facebook page! We’ll keep you up to date with CYC activities, offer sneak peaks behind the scenes and showcase all the great work you can be a part of here at Curve. Keep in touch with us and with each other! We need you … Join today >>

For more information about Curve Young Company email

Keep up to date with the Curve Young Company blog>>>

An update from a Curve Young Arts Entrepeneur

Bethany Taylor (aged 18) is one of ten ‘Young Arts Entrepeneurs’ (YAE) developing a project to deliver in their community with the support of Curve theatre. Bethany’s project is “Operation:Act!” by Cognito Theatre, which will be a Theatre in Education programme working with Years 5-7, introducing them to the world of theatre and drama whilst developing their awareness of emotional and mental health, and emphasisng the importance of talking about how we feel.

This is one of her updates on how she is bringing this project to life. To find out more and for updates visit Bethany’s blog 

Saturday 19th May – Young People’s Day at Embrace Arts

On Saturday 19th YAE went across town to Embrace Arts at the University of Leicester to showcase our projects and work with young people at one of the Young People Connected events run by Soft Touch Arts. In the foyer, along with other local arts people we were able to showcase any business cards or promotional items we had to start ‘putting ourselves out there’.

The morning was focused on kids aged up to 13, and so at a few points I helped run drama workshops with Aminata and Jenna, specifically I personally led some warm ups. Although the majority of kids were younger than those I plan to work with in my Theatre in Education workshops, the experience of being in charge of that sort of situation was still very valuable of course, and they seemed to really enjoy it which gave me a brilliant buzz!

One of the most important parts of the day though was being able to link in with the other practitioners and arts businesses who were showcasing themselves too. I had a brief chat with The Mighty Creatives about their funding opportunities and met Tom Cleaver of Mr Cleaver’s Monsters, a scenic artist who I have been chatting with about the possibility of him building some work for our installation. In the afternoon there were performances from those aged 13+, and one of the performers, a musician named Nijah, I have also been in touch with about possibly producing some music for the video aspect of the installation. This would get yet another young local person involved in the project, plus he already has  a fanbase who would also be perhaps interested in coming along to see the finished Cognito piece.

Demon FM (from De Montfort University) were covering the event and conducted an interview with myself and Jenna.

Through somewhereto, John Lewis have expressed interest in hosting the installation over the summer, and the city council are also going to provide us with details about possible empty shop spaces or other space in the city centre we could use. Getting spaces through somewhereto could ultimately save me a large chunk of funding.

I’ve also just finished a rough copy of the script for the film aspect for DYEMTT (Do You Expect Me to Talk?), although I now need to find another filmmaker as my original contact has had to back out. I’ve literally just started to call for interested local actors, but I’m hoping Curve can help me out with this.

Earlier this week, Claire the Media Officer at Curve contacted me asking if I’d do a phone interview with Meera at Pukaar Magazine. I quickly accepted and spent 30 minutes chatting with Meera about the YAE scheme in general, my own background in theatre, what Cognito is all about, and the importance of talking about mental health. It was a great chance to start spreading the word about our work and I’m indebted to Claire for the opportunity! Hopefully the next issue of the magazine will be out soon.

Workshop-wise, I now have a booking for a full day on Thursday 5th July at Husbands Bosworth Primary, and an afternoon at Dunton Bassett Primary at the end of June.

Nathan (from Citizen 598 Theatre) has recommended I start looking at pop-up banners etc, and I’ve found looks to be quite good for these sorts of items. I’ve now put all my budget work into a proper spreadsheet, so I think now I need to spend a bit of time analysing this and properly considering how I will spend the rest of my funding. I also need to get things sorted and planned for how I will spend my rehearsal day at Curve on Saturday 9th June.

Could your dog be on stage? Bullseye auditions for Oliver!

Paul Kerryson is looking to cast local dogs to play the role of Bullseye in Curve’s forthcoming community production of the ever-popular musical, OLIVER!

Following  last summer’s Curve Community Production, WEST SIDE STORY, the production team at Curve will once again join a talented cast of local individuals, and dogs, to present one of the most successful musicals of all time.

Director, Paul Kerryson has been auditioning talented hopefuls for the last few months and he is now looking for Bill Sikes’ brutal sidekick dog, Bullseye.

Appearing alongside the actor playing Bulleye’s owner Bill Sikes, Curve is looking to cast multiple dogs to perform on alternate performances. Close to confirming casting for the entire company, Bullseye will be the final addition.

Kerryson says:
‘I am looking for a Bulldog, English Terrier or similar breed of dog to perform in different performances of OLIVER! They will need to act fiery on stage, but of course be friendly backstage and in rehearsals. We recently had seven dogs in our recent production of GYPSY, who did very well and added something extra to the live performance.This is a unique opportunity and the successful dogs will have a substantial role in the production. Owners can of course be on hand in the wings – it will be a memorable experience for an owner and their best friend.’

Sara Hartop’s dog Fudge recently appeared in Gypsy at the theatre, she commented:
‘Fudge had a fantastic time performing at Curve. It was great for the whole family to see her on stage and she became quite a diva by the end of the run!’

The pets and owners will be required for a number of rehearsals starting in early July and have to be available for the run of the show: 31 July – 12 August

Interested owners should not delay in getting in touch to book their dog in for a meeting with Paul Kerryson by contacting Assistant Producer, Alex Smith by Friday 1 June.

Please include dog’s name, photo and owner’s contact details.
Alex Smith  0116 2423560 /

Curve co-production DESH wins Olivier award

Curve co-production DESH wins Olivier award

Curve was acknowledged at the prestigious Olivier awards for the first time last night.

Their co-production with Akram Khan Company for DESH won in the ‘Best New Dance Production’ category was announced at the awards ceremony last night at the Royal Opera House.

DESH received its World Premiere at Curve in September 2011. This followed a six week residency by Akram Khan Company, in which they finalised the piece and took advantage of Curve’s technical capabilities and expertise. Taking inspiration from his homeland, Khan choreographed and performed this full-length solo show in which he used his body and voice to portray several characters familiar in daily Bangladeshi culture.

DESH, in addition to Curve’s previous co-productions with Khan, IN-I and VERTICAL ROAD have helped to put Leicester on the international dance map and built Curve’s reputation as a leading dance venue. Following their runs at Curve, all three productions have subsequently played London’s Sadler’s Wells and toured internationally. VERTICAL ROAD continues to tour the world having visited 55 venues playing to a total of 80,000 people so far.

Also nominated in the same category for ‘Best New Dance Production’, ZooNation’s SOME LIKE IT HIP HOP, has been co-commissioned by Curve and will visit the theatre in autumn 2012.

Fiona Allan, Curve’s Chief Executive says:

“We are incredibly proud that Curve has been acknowledged at the Olivier awards for the first time. Curve is a superbly equipped and versatile venue for dance. The team at Curve supported Akram through the show’s creation and it was developed here in Leicester. We are thrilled that Akram Khan Company and Curve to have received this recognition and we look forward to working together again in the future.”

Akram Khan said:

“It’s wonderful to receive the Olivier Award for DESH but it would not be complete if I didn’t mention the birthplace of DESH. In any creation, there is always an immense amount of fragility, darkness, and a sense of homelessness. And thanks to the Curve, we, the DESH team, has felt extremely supported, secure and rooted in a place I could call home. Curve for provided the strong soil in which DESH could grow.”

Did you see DESH at Curve? Let us know what you thought!

Ahead of The Laramie Project opening night

Ahead of The Laramie Project opening night, cast member Douglas Deans looks back on rehearsals and ahead to the run.

Its sunday the 11th, the day before our opening night. After a week of intense rehearsal, teching and finalising the cast and crew have been given a day off to rest. A calm before the storm one might say.


Photo by Pam Raith

I look back at the last few months, at all the hours of work we’ve all put in, at he research into the truth of the story undertaken with great fondness. I suppose its a bit of an affectation, but this play has moved me in a way that a play hasn’t done so before. Its been touched upon by the other cast members, but I suppose its quite simply because the whole emotional affair is a true story. The play tells of how one tragic event can impact so greatly upon so many peoples lives. Those who had nothing to do with it are dragged into the saga one way or another, and they have no choice but to play thier part. The play serves to give these people a voice, and prove that Laramie, Wyoming is not a place ‘defined by an accident’.

The play itself is constructed purely through dialogue with very few hints of stage direction. When I first read the script, I couldn’t help but feel that it was saying ‘here is the story, its up to you how you tell it’. As a company, it felt like we had a duty to tell this story in the most honest way we could. There was the moment where when we began looking further into the story, the news reports, the interviews, the testimonials, pictures of Laramie, pictures of the fence, that we realised our task.

I won’t say too much more, I will leave the rest for you to decide when you come and see it. For me, this play is a testimonial for a town which had so much to say, but no way of saying it. It truely sums up the phrase “there’s nought so queer as folk”.

The Laramie Project runs at Curve 12 – 17 March.

Tickets only £5 or play and a pint for £7

The Laramie Project is a collaborative partnership between Curve Theatre and De Montfort University, performed by DMU students and directed by Josh Seymour.

The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project by cast member Anna Cohen

Being someone who celebrates the fact that life is made up of different people, all individuals believing different things and being who they are, or who they are told to be at times, I believe that the world would not be the same if it wasn’t for this variation. If everyone thought the same, then what kind of boring world would this be? I therefore feel that preaching is not a great activity as I feel enforcing your opinions on to other people, so strongly in some cases, is not fair or reasonable as we all have our own minds and should embrace this.

I recently attended the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv, Israel.  I had great fun, the spirit and atmosphere was so high and triumphant! I feel as though it may come across as defensive to mention that I personally am straight, however I do not use it to defend the fact that I’m not gay, instead I use it to show that the support of the heterosexual community is just as important as the strong sense of togetherness that the homosexual community have themselves.

Therefore, by being a cast member of The Laramie Project, I feel a strong sense of support for the story of Matthew Shepard and can proudly voice the different thoughts and stories of the members of Laramie. The deadly event that occurred in 1998 caused much controversy and outrage, people wanting to defend their home town, like old Alison Mears who tells us how Laramie is ‘S.O.L’, or to defend their religion, like the twisted Fred Phelps, a Baptist Christian minister who enrages many by telling us that ‘God hates fags’, or most importantly to defend Matthew, like his father Dennis Shepard, who tells us how Matthew was ‘a winner’.

Anna (left) in The Laramie Project rehearsals, photo by Madeleine Burke

A character I play, Zubaida Ula, talks about how she too is different, being a muslim girl she is part of a minority in her local town as well and tells us how people can’t comprehend and ask infuriatingly impolite questions about why she feels the need to stand out, even if they are aware it is for religious reasons. There is so much ignorance in the world, and for people who are not open minded, sometimes they just wish not to understand. I also play Kristin Price, the murderer’s girlfriend, who explains how Aaron Mckinney, the perpetrator, ‘wanted to teach [Matthew] a lesson not to come on to straight people’. This is a great illustration of the oblivion that led to the attack in the first place. I have to sit in my chair and embody Kristin for a while before she speaks so that the lines are spoken with complete detachment from my own personal views. As my fellow cast members have mentioned, these are real people, so using the word ‘character’ seems incorrect and all the more important for us to ‘do our best to say it correct’.I look forward to sharing The Laramie Project with Leicester and De Montfort University at Curve Theatre and hope that the members of Tectonic Theater company would be proud of our performance. I think it is amazing how each one of us have felt so emotionally attached to this story, a truly well written and put together play that will pull the heartstrings of many.The Laramie Project runs at Curve 12 – 17 March.

Tickets only £5 or play and a pint for £7

The Laramie Project is a collaborative partnership between Curve Theatre and De Montfort University, performed by DMU students and directed by Josh Seymour.