By Paul Johnson
Leicester’s Curve theatre has released the latest episode of its ‘Curve in Conversation’ podcast, a look ahead at this autumn’s line-up of productions including interviews with multi-award winning master of mind control Derren Brown, actor Sharan Phull and director Anthony Almeida.
In this episode, Martin speaks with the winner of the 2019 Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) Sir Peter Hall Director Award, Anthony Almeida, about the upcoming Made at Curve production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
Originally scheduled to run last year, Anthony discusses how he has continued to work on ideas with designer Rosanna Vize and how their plans are set to challenge preconceptions of the drama.
Derren Brown will visit Curve for the first time this autumn with performances of Showman (19 – 23 Oct). In the podcast, he also explains how events of the last 16 months have shaped the plans for his new tour.
Finally in this episode of Curve in Conversation, Martin speaks with Leicester-based actor Sharan Phull, who will visit the theatre (20 – 25 Sep) in the tour of smash-hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Episodes are available to listen to and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud.
By Paul Johnson
Curve theatre supports homeschooling during the third national lockdown with a brand new educational initiative: Curve Classroom.
Available on Curve’s website and YouTube channel, the free sessions are available every weekday from 4pm and delivered by a range of leading artists including performers Molly Lynch, Garry Robson, Cathy Tyson and Hareet Deol, designers Grace Smart and Kate Unwin, directors Tinuke Craig and Julia Thomas, choreographers Kesha Raithatha, Lee Proud and Mel Knott, writer Jess Green and composer and Curve Associate Tasha Taylor Johnson, as well as a number of Midlands-based artists local to Curve in Leicester.
The programme has been created following consultation with parents and teachers and lessons include English language, English literature, analytical thinking, vocal exercises, character work and choreography workshops, plus puppetry, disability awareness and LGBTQ+ history. Curve Classroom will provide an educational resource for all ages, from children to adults, as part of Curve’s commitment to lifelong learning.
Curve’s CEO Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have tried to respond positively and contribute meaningfully to the lives of our communities and audiences. Now in our nation’s third lockdown – and as our theatre continues to work online – we are launching our very own Curve Classroom to support homeschooling led by Curve practitioners.
“Many of the creative skills we use on a daily basis in making theatre are transferable to other aspects of life and can support teaching and learning across the curriculum. Literacy, music, complex problem-solving, forming well-reasoned arguments, teamwork and developing the imagination, are just some of the skills our practitioners will share in their online tutorials.
“We sincerely hope these daily sessions will help support learning and the incredible work being done by teachers, parents and carers, whilst also offering young people an insight into the creative industries and the incredible wealth of talent and resources we have to offer. We’d like to extend huge thanks to our army of freelance actors, local artists and practitioners who have responded so positively to our call out to join the Curve Classroom.”
Once released, each video session will remain online for access at any time.
To find out more about Curve Classroom and watch the latest lessons, see www.curveonline.co.uk/curve-classroom.
This new initiative sees the theatre build upon its existing database of online content produced and shared since its doors were closed in March 2020. Alongside activities for young people, Curve has also shared archive recordings of previous Made at Curve productions, in-depth conversations with leading theatre-makers and new commissioned work created by local artists and community members.
To explore Curve’s database of online content: www.curveonline.co.uk/the-show-must-go-online.
Curve, Leicester. Photo: Ellie Kurttz
By Paul Johnson
The search for an artist to design and produce a statue of legendary Leicester playwright, Joe Orton, in his hometown has been launched with the issue of an artist’s design brief.
The search following a successful, high-profile crowd-funding campaign which received celebrity backing and donations from the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Sir Matthew Bourne, Pet Shop Boys, Alison Steadman, Kenneth Cranham, Sheila Hancock, Adam Kay, Patrick Gayle, Jake Arnott, Graham Fellows and The Connor Brothers.
The Joe Orton Statue Appeal CIC (Community Interest Company) are inviting an artist to develop a permanent work of three-dimensional public art to memorialise Joe Orton in Leicester’s Orton Square, outside Curve Theatre.
The desire is to make the Joe Orton Statue a destination artwork and one which enhances the local resident and visitor experience of Orton Square, Leicester. It is envisaged that the artwork will be thought provoking, outward looking and make a major contribution to the community, enhancing the lives of passers-by.
Leonie Orton, sister of the late playwright and administrator of the Joe Orton Estate said: “I hope that the statue will become a memorable and exciting addition to Leicester’s cultural landscape that raises awareness whilst celebrating his life, work and legacy. It is not a ‘statue’ that people should be in awe of, rather something they want to interact with and associate with.”
This is a unique opportunity to rethink memorialisation and to create something which salutes individuality, represents inclusivity and reflects our diverse society. Tanya Brittain, CEO of the Public Monuments and Statues Association said: “PMSA is always happy to support the commissioning of quality works of public sculpture. The Joe Orton Statue campaign has, from its very conception, attracted public attention and provoked lively discussion. There are figurative bronzes in city centres all over the world reminding us how society has changed in a relatively short space of time. I really hope the finished artwork will educate, enlighten and invite cultural evolution, which is exactly what public sculpture should do.”
Artists are asked to submit ‘Expressions of Interest’ by the 31st May 2020 which includes their CV and examples of their previous work, a covering letter stating why they are interested in the commission, information on how their design fulfils the brief along with a visual interpretation of their proposed design.
Submissions will be reviewed and longlisted by an advisory group made up of local people who work in the arts and culture industries, the Orton family, members of the Saffron Lane estate and the Leicester LGBTQ community before being displayed at a public exhibition this Summer.
Public opinion and general feedback from the exhibition will be carefully considered before a selection panel that includes representatives of Leicester City Council, Curve, The Orton Estate, University of Leicester, Public Monuments & Statues Assoc. as well as Orton enthusiast, the artist, author and singer-songwriter, Holly Johnson. From this, three artists will be invited to submit detailed proposals including maquettes that will be exhibited at New Walk Museum this Autumn before the final design is chosen.
Holly Johnson said: “Joe Orton challenged hypocrisy with his barbed humour, always swinging the other way in the Swinging Sixties. It’s an honour to be asked to help select the statue that will commemorate this working-class hero who was an antidote to the stiff upper lip British establishment.”