Curve today announces its spring 2016 season following record-breaking ticket sales, a surge in visitor numbers to the iconic building in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter and an increase in turnover to £7.8m – Curve’s highest figure since opening in 2008.
The first under new leadership team of Chief Executive Chris Stafford, Artistic Director Nikolai Foster and Commercial Director Alister de Ternant, the season includes an all-new production of the award-winning West End and Broadway smash hit musical comedy Legally Blonde, directed by Foster and opening on 14 April, with previews from 11 April and running until 14 May. Foster’s first musical as Artistic Director at Curve, Legally Blonde will be choreographed by Nick Winston (Annie, Loserville, White Christmas).
Nikolai Foster also directs the hotly anticipated première of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, opening on 10 March, with previews from 3 March and running until 12 March. An adaptation by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg, the classic tale written by Truman Capote is being given a new lease of life as a stage play in a new production starring the multi award-winning Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly. Following its première at Curve, the production will embark on a national tour before transferring to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the West End.
Curve is also delighted to announce Akram Khan as Associate Artist, cementing his long-standing partnership with Curve. Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over fifteen years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. Khan and Curve’s relationship has seen several of his acclaimed works created at Curve, including DESH, and his new piece Until the Lions, developed during a residency at Curve in summer 2015.
Dance practitioner and choreographer Mel Knott is also announced as Associate Artist. Mel leads the Curve Young Dance Company, a youth group for talented young dancers living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, with whom she has created a number of dance pieces for both the stage and in site-specific environments and is currently working on Curve’s new production of The Witches.
Continuing Curve’s commitment to new work and developing diverse audiences, Wipers, written by Ishy Din, commissioned by Curve and co-produced with Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Watford Palace Theatre, is inspired by the real life story of Khuddadad Khan, the first South Asian soldier to be awarded a Victoria Cross for his extraordinary bravery at the First Battle of Ypres. Running from 8 to 23 April (press performance on 14 April) this startling new piece of work, directed by Curve Associate Director Suba Das, honours the contribution of the million South Asian soldiers who fought alongside British soldiers during the First Wold War. Wipers is set in October 1914 when the British forces, bolstered by huge numbers of volunteer soldiers from across the Empire, have suffered huge casualties at Ypres, in one of the first bloody battles of The Great War. As a sole survivor on the battlefield holds off the advancing enemy troops, a group of South Asian and British soldiers seek refuge in an abandoned barn. Over the course of a single night, this group of men must confront their fears and find a way to come together if they are to survive.
Also programmed is Zoonation Dance Company and Curve Co-commission Into the Hoods: Remixed, a newly revamped version of the award-winning West End production (14 and 15 March). The much-loved show returns to the stage with all the wit and charm of the original, updated with new choreography, a remixed soundtrack and fresh designs. The production is a co-production with Sadlers Wells Theatre, co-commissioned by Curve and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The new season brings with it and eclectic and diverse programme of visiting work including Mike Bartlett’s multi award-winning new play King Charles III (26 – 30 January) that comes to Curve following a critically acclaimed West End season, with Robert Powell (recently seen in Singin’ in the Rain and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell) in the title role. Green Day’s critically acclaimed musical American Idiot opens its national tour at Curve (19 – 26 March) and the spring season sees the return of Kali Theatre with Aamina Ahmad’s The Dishonoured (10 – 12 March) an engaging new piece of theatre about lies, deceit and how to tell who is telling the truth.
Other highlights include the return of Dave’s Leicester’s Comedy Festival (6 – 21 February), the Regent’s Park Theatre production of William Golding’s Lord of The Flies (9 – 13 February), the startling adaptation of Eimear McBride’s award winning novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (11 – 13 February) and best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson’s much-loved Hetty Feather coming to Curve in an Olivier Award nominated adaptation by Emma Reeves (16 – 20 February).
Curve Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster commented:
“It’s been an exhilarating first few months at Curve and working alongside Chris Stafford has been a joy; I am thrilled to be continuing this collaboration with Chris in his new role as Chief Executive. This is an ambitious programme of work, introducing more plays to our repertoire than ever before. Through this eclectic programme of drama, dance and musicals we hope to continue to diversify our audiences, offering theatre which entertains, challenges, inspires and is reflective of our communities. We are proud to be working with such a prestigious and dynamic group of playwrights, producers and practitioners and I’m thrilled internationally acclaimed artist Akram Khan and local choreographer Mel Knott have agreed to be Associate Artists.”
Chief Executive Chris Stafford commented:
“We are delighted to be launching our spring 2016 season- my first as Chief Executive. At Curve we strive to make theatre that is bold, exciting and accessible and we hope that there is something for everyone in the season ahead. Building on the success of our 2015 Autumn/Winter season, we’ve not only added 99 seats in our main theatre but 2016 will see Curve productions flying the flag for Leicester, both in the West End and on tour throughout the UK, cementing Curve’s reputation as a nationally recognised producing theatre.”