Live theatre will return to Leicester as Curve announces plans to reopen to the public from 23 November 2020. The theatre, which was forced to close on 16 March, will open again this autumn for re-imagined, socially distanced concert performances of acclaimed Made at Curve productions, using the building’s unique theatre design.
Ria Jones and Danny Mac will return to star in Sunset Boulevard; T’Shan Williams and Danielle Fiamanya, who won The Stage Debut Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role as Nettie, will star in The Color Purple.
By raising the walls between its theatre spaces, Curve will reopen as a 533-seat socially-distanced auditorium, with audiences enjoying live performances from all four sides of the stage, fully realising the ambition of architect Rafael Viñoly’s original design. A triple-revolve, donated by Cameron Mackintosh, will help to transform the space.
The season will officially launch on 12 November 2020 with an exclusive event which will be live-streamed from the theatre.
Curve’s reopening plans are only possible due to grant funding received from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and the ongoing support of Arts Council England and Leicester City Council.
From 23 November to 3 December 2020, the Made at Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome co-production of The Color Purple will return in a concert staged by original production team members, director Tinuke Craig, musical director Alex Parker and choreographer Mark Smith. Cast members T’Shan Williams (Celie) and Danielle Fiamanya (Nettie) will return for the performances The 2019 Made at Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome co-production
Christmas will see the return of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard from 14 December 2020 to 3 January 2021. The concert performances will be directed by Nikolai Foster, with Ria Jones and Danny Mac (winner of the Manchester Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Visiting Production) reprising their roles as Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis. The performances will also feature a 16-piece orchestra. Full casting for all three productions will be revealed in due course.
Kicking off the new year from 25 January to 6 February 2021, Curve will revive its 2018 production of Memoirs Of An Asian Football Casual, winner of the Asian Media Award for Best Stage Production. Director Nikolai Foster will bring a stadium feel to the Leicester drama based on the life of former football hooligan Riaz Khan.
Curve will begin welcoming audiences back with a Family and Community Day on 14 November. The socially distanced day will include a range of low cost and free workshops, performances and activities for all ages from Midlands artists and theatre companies.
Curve has also reaffirmed its commitment to developing new work. A group of local creatives and theatre makers across a variety of disciplines will take up residency at Curve in the new year. The full cohort of Curve Resident Creatives will be announced in the coming months.
Speaking about the plans, Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster said: “Although we have a long road to recovery ahead of us, we are delighted to announce a new programme of work which will reopen our theatre after seven long months of closure. The team at Curve have worked tirelessly on plans to enable us to safely reopen our theatre with social distancing.
“Curve’s unique architecture has always demanded a bold response in whatever we do, and we are proud to present these performances in our newly configured, socially-distanced, in-the-round theatre which merges our Studio and Theatre into one performance space.
“The Color Purple, Sunset Boulevard and Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual celebrate all that is great about Leicester and our theatre: community spirit, resilience and the irrefutable transformative power of culture and theatre in all of our lives.
“We couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who donated and supported Curve during this temporary closure, in particular our principal funders Leicester City Council and Arts Council England. We would also like to extend our grateful thanks to Cameron Mackintosh for the loan of the revolving stages used in this special autumn re-opening season; Cameron and his team have been incredibly generous and supportive throughout the lockdown and we are most appreciative to all of them for their support.”
To ensure audiences are able to safely enjoy a return to Curve, the theatre has introduced a number of new measures throughout its building, including a one-way system, additional cleaning and temperature checks before entry to the building.