Tag Archives: Curve

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 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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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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REVIEW: OLIVER!

Curve Community Productions presents a cast of over 65 young performers from across Leicester and Leicestershire, bringing the much-loved musical Oliver! to life in their own style (31 July – 12 August).

By Young Marketing Forum member, Priya

On Tuesday I was delighted to be invited to see Oliver!, the story of an orphan who runs away to join a gang of pickpockets in London, at Curve theatre in Leicester and I took my sister along with me because she loves the classic tale as much as I do.

Opening scene of Oliver!

Oliver!
Photo by Pamela Raith

I, like many others, am someone who grew up watching the 1968 adaptation of Oliver! every single Christmas. Thanks to my love of the novel by Charles Dickens, and to my love of the film adaptation, I’ve always been hesitant to watch any stage adaptation because of my high expectations. In contrast, my sister had no such reservations and has previously been to see the West End adaptation of the show. Therefore, she really did have a high standard, in terms of quality theatre adaptations, to compare Curve’s efforts to.

When we entered Curve, it was evident to see how universal the tale of Oliver! was because there was a great mix of people in the foyer. Also, throughout the theatre, you could hear the sound of galloping horses, which was a nice touch and began to set the scene before the audience had even taken to their seats. It actually made me feel like I had walked into an interactive installation or something!

Once we found our seats, I was able to fully appreciate the set up inside the auditorium. The sound of the galloping horses sounded slightly louder here and the stage looked dark, smoky and mysterious, which only served to increase my excitement.

The show kicked off with the much-loved Food, Glorious Food, which was choreographed really well and held the whole audience’s attention throughout. I thought it was a great way to begin! I love it when there are loads of people on stage because it just gets the whole audience pumped and excited – okay, it gets ME pumped and excited!

The whole cast performed brilliantly, specifically the little kids who really were especially fantastic. However, the stand out performers for me were the actors who played Oliver, Nancy and the girl who was the first to sing in the song Who Will Buy?. The actor behind the character of Oliver had such a beautiful and innocent kind of voice – dare I say that it sounded somewhat angelic?!

The girl playing Nancy, the ‘tart with a heart’, really blew me away. She was feisty, energetic, charismatic and innocent, and she had a great voice that was stunningly showcased in As Long As He Needs Me and Oom Pah Pah.  Her take on the character of Nancy was exactly how I envisaged Nancy to be.

Nancy performing Oom Pah Pah

Oliver!
Photo by Pamela Raith

Most of my favourite parts of the show were the show tunes, specifically Who Will Buy?. The girl that was the first to sing had the most beautifully haunting voice, which totally captivated me whenever she sang. I was also super impressed with the harmonies of the four singers who began the song, before the rest of the actors joined in. Seriously impressive stuff!

The performance of You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two was also a particular highlight because of Fagin and the orphans, one of whom was so tiny and adorable. I’ve always thought of Fagin as being a much darker character, but I’ve noticed that he’s been more comedic in most of the adaptations that I’ve seen and was only really dark in the original novel.

I also thought that Mr Bumble could have been scarier, especially considering the young orphans are meant to be extremely fearful of him. However, Kieran Sutcliffe has a great voice and I liked his jovial portrayal of the character nonetheless.

The only criticism I have of the show is that Act II didn’t seem as strong as Act I, with a lot of audience members getting lost when everything kicked off on stage towards the end of the show. The girl sitting next to me was quite baffled, and had I not been so familiar with the story, I probably would have been confused as well. I think the second Act just seemed rushed, with Oliver sidelined more than I feel he should have been.

Visually the show was amazing and, according to my sister, it was similar set up to the West-End adaptation. I loved how the stage was easily transformed, with a lot of detail (hanging clothes, a mini London Bridge, and the basement with the coffins) going into each stage change. Plus, I loved how the depth of the stage was taken full advantage of, particularly in Act II. Oh, and the lightening really helped change and create different atmospheres. My sister and I were really impressed!

All in all I would give this Curve Community Production a massive thumbs up because it impressed me a lot, which is definitely saying something because I had such high expectations from the onset. I thought the amount of effort, in terms of staging, costumes, lighting, was incredible. However, I was most impressed with the cast, who were all from across Leicester and Leicestershire – Go Leicester locals!

Oliver!

Oliver!
Photo by Pamela Raith

Tickets and Information: 0116 242 3595 / www.curveonline.co.uk

Browse the Oliver! production photos >>>

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Premiere of new stage adaptation of GULLIVER’S TRAVELS

Premiere of new stage adaptation of GULLIVER'S TRAVELS

Based on the classic book by Jonathan Swift World premiere of a new stage adaptation for schools and family audiences aged 9+

As part of Leicester’s Spark Children’s Arts Festival, a new adaptation of the much-loved tale of GULLIVER’S TRAVELS will premiere in the Studio at Curve. The production is the culmination of more than a year’s research and development work with local young people. Dragon Breath and Curve bring Swift’s tale to life for modern audiences with their celebrated epic, visual performance style, in award-winning playwright Peter Rumney’s adaptation.

THE SHOW
It’s 1699. Lemuel Gulliver sets sail from England for lands unknown. Shipwrecked, he finds himself to be a powerful giant in one land, a tiny plaything in another. Then, abandoned by his crew, he discovers a flying island, and a strange world where men are beasts ruled by beautiful, civilised horses. Meanwhile, Gulliver’s daughter Molly waits at home for his return, and to hear his extraordinary tale. But Gulliver’s adventures have changed him for ever…. Can Molly help him truly return to the world he left behind?

Watch this space for behind the scenes blogs and updates from rehearsals.

Tickets and Information: 0116 242 3595 / www.curveonline.co.uk

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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.

Priya

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DMU students get ready to stage The Laramie Project

Cast member and DMU student, Jonny McClean give an update on The Laramie Project as they prepare for tech week in The Studio at Curve.

When I first was told about the Laramie project, I had no idea what it was about, and I must say I wish I had. It is an absolute privilege to be a part of a play of this kind with a talented cast and director onboard, I hope the audiences find watching it as moving as I have found reading and performing it. I think there is a wish in the cast to get the characters of this play `right`. It has been a markedly different experience to perform this play than any other mainly down to the fact that the characters are real people, many of whom are still alive today. This dynamic has added a focus on the truth of the emotion and being natural onstage rather than any dramatic focus, the drama comes from the fact that you know that beyond these representations is a real person who said these exact words, and went through this exact situation.

I’m beginning to be pleased with the way I’m portraying my characters now, still not quite there yet but close with most; the biggest challenge is portraying Dennis Shepard (Matthew’s father). I very much want to get his character `right`. The more I’ve researched the incident, Dennis as a man and the speeches and way he talks about his son, the more determined I’ve become to give this man the respectful, honest, and truthful portrayal he deserves. So…big, scary challenge.

All in all it’s going great, very excited to get all the tech and costume up on it’s feet and be ready in time for show week!

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

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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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