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We are pleased to report another terrific year for our theatre with programmes both on and off our stages continuing to engage, entertain and inspire audiences and participants from across our city and beyond. Throughout the year we also took time to mark 10 years of Curve through a range of projects and initiatives including Curve Live! – a concert which celebrated the first decade of our theatre (and played to over 1500 people free-of-charge) and our Heritage Lottery supported community project, Fashioning A City which told the stories of our city through the eyes of 300 young people from across Leicester and Leicestershire. In the last 12 months we welcomed almost 350,000 visitors to our theatre and sold 220,000 tickets – almost 30,000 more than 18/19 – to over 600 performances across our three theatre spaces. We continued to find more ways to increase access to our work through a regular programme of free family days, workshops, projects, foyer performances, £1 dress rehearsals and our newly formed free 16-26 membership scheme. We also programmed over 40 access performances throughout the year and offered over 300 low-cost workshops through our partnership with our six Affiliate Companies including Nupur Arts, Sidekick Dance and Kainé Choir. Made at Curve continued to go from strength-tostrength and we produced or co-produced nine new productions and continued existing tours of a further three shows. Our Made at Curve work

recorded an average 74% attendance across the year. In addition to our produced programme, we continued to present work from a diverse range of companies and producers including Company Chameleon, Matthew Bourne, National Theatre, English Touring Opera, Northern Ballet, Rasa Theatre and Mischief Theatre. Curve once again continued to be a venue of choice to open major touring work and we were delighted Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérables launched in Leicester before embarking on UK tour. Touring continues to play a key part in our business and throughout the year we co-produced seven touring productions including a major tour of An Officer And A Gentleman, The Cat In The Hat, Hairspray and Sunset Boulevard. We were also delighted to transfer our production of Pink Sari Revolution to Mumbai as part of the Arts Council and British Council funded Reimagine India programme of work. Throughout the year we continued to invest in talent and just under 2000 artists took part in over 300 artists development activities. In addition, 16,000 young people took part in learning programmes led by Curve Learning Practitioners, and every week over 200 young people aged between 7 and 25 years took part in Curve Young Company (CYC) sessions led by practitioners and visiting artists. As we enter our second decade, Curve has never been in a stronger position and we look forward to the future with confidence and excitement. Who knows what our teenage years will bring?! Chris Stafford Chief Executive

Nikolai Foster Artistic Director

2018 was a landmark year for Curve as we celebrated our 10th birthday and a decade of operations in our iconic theatre, a theatre rooted in the heart of our community but with a national and, indeed, international vision and ambition built into all of our work. On stage we had a rich and varied year. Above all Curve is a producing house – we make theatre – and highlighting just a handful of the many shows we presented last year serves to underline the balance we aim to strike between our popular and commercially successful programming and the newer often more challenging work we present. White Christmas, Irving Berlin’s ever-popular festive spectacular, directed by Curve’s own Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster, took over our larger theatre from late November into January (and transferred to London’s vast Dominion Theatre for Christmas 2019). At the same time Dr Seuss’s riotous The Cat In The Hat caused joyous mayhem for younger audiences in the studio theatre. We were thrilled to have Akram Khan’s Xenos in the theatre and to open Dougal Irvine’s adaptation of Memoirs Of An Asian Football Casual. Both works were highly acclaimed and broadened audience perceptions of Curve. Memoirs was a real breakthrough show for us. Not only was it nominated for a What’s On Stage Award, it also won the Asian Media Award for Best Stage Production. A real highlight was almost half of its audience were first time visitors to the theatre

(and that’s an important achievement; we have to work hard to develop tomorrow’s audiences today). Xenos too was much lauded, winning an Olivier Award for its creator Akram Khan. All of this work and more helped us to deliver a sound trading outcome for Curve in 2018/19. We generated turnover of £11.3m – £600,000 higher than the previous year – and made a small surplus of £60,000, all of it reinvested in the theatre. The Board of Trustees has appointed a number of new members this year including two representatives of our newly established Youth Advisory Board. Once again this year the Board acknowledges the immense contribution of Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster. For the fourth year running both Chris and Nikolai appeared in The Stage 100, a reflection of their standing (and Curve’s I’d say) in the industry. Finally I’d like to thank all of my fellow Trustees for their continuing efforts this year and on their behalf I thank all of Curve’s staff and visiting artists for their skill and commitment; I’d like to thank our audiences and particularly our members for their loyalty, our co-producers for their continuing participation and our funders – chiefly Arts Council England and Leicester City Council for their support and encouragement throughout. Ian Squires Chairman, Leicester Theatre Trust

99% audience attendance. Toured to 19 cities across the UK. Enjoyed by over 160,000 people.

6 – 21 APR 2018 Director Nikolai Foster | Choreographer Kate Prince | Set & Costume Designer Michael Taylor | Musical Supervisor Sarah Travis Original Screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart | Book by Douglas Day Stewart & Sharleen Cooper Cohen | Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell Sound Designer Tom Marshall | Associate Choreographer Rhimes Lecointe | Resident Director Anthony Ekundayo Lennon Resident Assistant Director Mandeep Glover – Supported by The Weston Jerwood Foundation | Musical Director Michael Riley A Curve, Jamie Wilson with Gavin Kalin, Jason Haigh Ellery, Anthony Clare & Broadway Baby Productions production


Curve module of Drama BA (Hons) and Performing Arts course established at DMU. Over 500 DMU students engaged with Curve. 20 students participated on The Crucible.


3 – 5 MAY 2018 Director Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie | Set Designer Al Parkinson | Costume Designers Edd Lindley & Lucy Duncan Lighting Designer David Hately | Composer & Sound Designer Tasha Taylor Johnson Voice Coach Sarah Ingram | Assistant Director Bex Woodford A Curve & De Montfort University co-production


Curve’s 10th Community Production. Audience attendance over 6,000. 120 community participants.

10 – 19 AUG 2018 Director Sarah Ingram | Original Choreography Reproduced by Melanie Knott | Musical Director Sioned Saunders Set Designer Al Parkinson | Costume Designer Edd Lindley | Lighting Designer Neil Foulis | Sound Designer Dave Norton A Curve Young Company & Community production

‘This is a production which should be applauded for achieving its objectives of commitment to performance and community inclusion.’ BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE PHOTOGRAPHY PAMELA RAITH

Performed in cities across four continents, including Moscow, Athens, Paris, Montreal & Leicester. Outstanding Achievement in Dance at the Olivier Awards. 99% attendance.

21 – 22 SEP 2018 Director/Choreographer/Performer Akram Khan | Set Designer Mirella Weingarten | Lighting Designer Michael Hulls Costume Designer Kimie Nakano | Original Music Score & Sound Design Vincenzo Lamagna | Dramaturg Ruth Little Writer Jordan Tannahill | Rehearsal Director Mavin Khoo A Curve & Akram Khan Company co-production

‘A triumph of energy, empathy and intelligence.’ THE TELEGRAPH PHOTOGRAPHY JEAN LOUIS FERNANDEZ

Winner of the Best Stage Production at the Asian Media Awards & nominated for Best Regional Production at the Whatsonstage awards. Hareet Deol & Jay Varsani joined Curve as Associate Artists. 50% of all attendees enjoyed their first trip to our theatre.

26 SEP – 6 OCT 2018 Adaptor Dougal Irvine | From the book by Riaz Khan | Director Nikolai Foster | Set & Costume Designer Grace Smart Lighting Designer Charlotte Burton | Composer & Sound Designer Tasha Taylor Johnson | Casting Director Kay Magson CDG Voice Coach Carol Leeming | Resident Assistant Director Mandeep Glover | DMU Trainee Assistant Director Barnaby Nyombi

‘A tour de force in its exploration of the intersections between racism, violent, masculinity and Britishness.’ THE GUARDIAN PHOTOGRAPHY ELLIE KURTTZ

New Theatre Talent was our free training programme for people in Leicester from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic and low socio-economic backgrounds, aged 18 to 25 who wanted to pursue an acting career. The programme was funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and culminated in a headline performance for our 2018 Inside Out Festival.


17 – 20 OCT 2018 Director Suba Das | Designer Kevin Jenkins | Lighting Designer David Hately | Music by Sheep Soup Fight Choreographer Tony Middleton | Movement Director Lucy Cullingford | Voice Coach Yolanda Vazquez Costume Supervisor Edd Lindley | Assistant Director Kathryn King | Stage Manager Debbie Clayden

‘This production gave the alumni of Curve’s inaugural New Theatre Talent programme a great showcase allowing them to build characters and present them to an appreciative public.’ WESTERN PARK GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHY PAMELA RAITH

Partnered with Charity Link to offer 1,200 tickets to people in financial hardship, to experience Christmas at Curve for free. 2019 transfer to the Dominion Theatre. 109% performance to target.

6 DEC 2018 – 13 JAN 2019 Director Nikolai Foster | Choreographer Stephen Mear | Set Designer Michael Taylor | Costume Designer Diego Pitarch Lighting Designer Mark Henderson | Sound Designer Tom Marshall | Original Orchestrations by Larry Blank Vocal & Dance Arrangements by Bruce Pomahac | Re-Orchestrations by Jason Carr | Musical Supervisor Stephen Brooker Musical Director Neil Macdonald | Illusions by Chris Fisher | Illusions Associate John Bulleid A Curve & Jamie Wilson production

‘Nikolai Foster’s glorious revival’ THE TELEGRAPH PHOTOGRAPHY ELLIE KURTTZ

Collaborated with the National Centre for Circus Acts. Toured to ten cities. 35,000 tickets sold.

8 DEC 2018 – 12 JAN 2019 Director Suba Das | Designer Isla Shaw | Music & Accompanying Songs Tasha Taylor Johnson | Lighting Designer Zoe Spurr Sound Designer David Gregory | Associate Director Jack Horner | Casting Director Kay Magson CDG A Curve & Rose Theatre Kingston co-production

‘An absolute delight: the cat’s whiskers.’ THE GUARDIAN PHOTOGRAPHY MANUEL HARLAN

Learning, Participation & Artist Development Throughout the year we continued to invest in talent and just under 2000 artists and participants took part in over 300 artist development activities. In addition, 50 artists took part in sustained development programmes across the year and we embarked on our first year working as part of the Arts Council England funded programme ‘In Good Company’ for artists across the region. As well as supporting our 18 Breakthrough Artists & Companies, local-writers took part in our Writer’s Lab programme, and 18 local artists & companies presented 15 different performances as part of our annual Inside Out Festival including Kesha Raithatha, Mia Johnson and Subhash Vimen. Curve co-commissions of Debris Stevenson’s Poet In Da Corner and Rachael Young’s Nightclubbing also enjoyed national and international success with performances at the Royal Court and across the USA respectively. In addition to commissioning eight new works we also worked in partnership with Kali Theatre to support the work of four South Asian female playwrights and we launched the Naseem Khan Commissions (with Bristol Old Vic and the Lowry) to develop new work by artists of colour.


We also piloted our free drama training programme New Theatre Talent (NTT) for 16 young people aged between 18-25 years old from BAME or challenging socio-economic backgrounds. Supported by the Andrew Lloyd-Webber Foundation, NTT offered participants an intensive actor training programme (scheduled around working hours) which culminated in a professionally directed showcase production of Ché Walker’s The Frontline which was presented as part of Inside Out Festival. In addition to supporting the work of emerging talent through NTT, we also appointed a Resident Director as part the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme aimed at improving diversity within our sector. Throughout the year we also continued to support the development of seven BAME managers and emerging leaders from Leicestershire through the Curve Cultural Leadership Programme. In the second year of the programme participants took part in sessions at Curve as well as secondments and mentoring sessions. The programme culminated in 2019 with each participant sharing the impact it has had on them with an invited audience hosted by Farooq Chaudhry from Akram Khan Company. In 2018/19 over 300 schools and 16,000 young people took part in learning programmes led by Curve Learning Practitioners. In addition, each week over 200 young people aged between 7 and 25 years took part in Curve Young Company (CYC) sessions led by practitioners and visiting companies including New Adventures, Rambert and Central School of Speech and Drama. We also produced four CYC productions which were seen by an audience of over 8,500. We also hosted the National Student Drama Festival where over 300 young people from across the country came to take part in workshops at Curve from leading industry figures. Curve Associate Company National Youth Music Theatre once again returned to Curve with new musical Super Hero. Curve’s partnerships with further and higher education institutions continued throughout 18/19 with projects developed with De Montfort University, University of Leicester and Loughborough University.


Curve facts & figures. • Annual turnover £11.27m • Tickets sold at Curve 219,448 • Total participants in Community, Learning or Education programmes 28,083 • Number of visitors to Curve 357,199 • Number of Made at Curve productions on tour 6 • Number of weeks on tour 54 • Total tour audience figure 333,997 • Digital engagement 654,908 • Number of access performances programmed 41 • 1st time customers 25,074 • Number of members 3,666

26 local arts organisations supported through in-kind and cash support • 575 training sessions were delivered for Curve employees


Happy Birthday Curve! We marked our special 10th anniversary with a variety of performances, events and projects. Our community production of A Fiddler on the Roof engaged over 100 participants from Leicestershire including 14 disabled participants from SideKick Dance. On Sunday 26 August, we presented our FREE 10th Birthday Concert Curve Live! Featuring songs, drama and dance performances from Curve artists past and present, the concert saw Rafael Viñoly’s magnificent vision for the theatre fully realised, as Curve’s theatre spaces were transformed into an in-the-round arena, with 1,500 seats. With funding from Heritage Lottery Fund we worked with 304 young people from nine areas of low engagement from Leicester as part of Fashioning A City. Through Fashioning A City we developed partnerships with a range of local community organisations (including The Brite Centre, Pork Pie Centre and the African Caribbean Centre) who supported the delivery of the project which culminated in 21 performances in a range of community settings attended by over 3,000 people free-of-charge. Our pledge to providing accessible pricing continued as our £1 public dress rehearsals played to 73% capacity and we made available £10 tickets across almost every show programmed throughout the year. We also partnered with Charity Link to provide over 200 people living in hardship with a Christmas at Curve including a free ticket to a performance or either White Christmas or The Cat in the Hat.








Annie Bannister Mary Brown Anthony & Lisa Clare Mike Dalzell Nikolai Foster Ritva Foster Linda Fox Neil & Jackie Frettsome

BOARD MEMBERS Ian Squires – Chair Liz Blyth Gautam Bodiwala CBE Mike Dalzell Gary Dixon Shobna Gulati Georgina Hall

Simon Harrison Jane Harris-Lock Alan Heggs Jonathan Kerry Robert & Janie Martin Barbara Matthews Lynne McCormack Jim Riley

Nicola Hurley Sita McIntosh Savanna Patel Cllr Piara Singh Clair Vivien Waterfield Donna Williams

OBSERVERS TO THE BOARD Kevan Grantham Clare Simpson

Jean Roberts Chris Stafford David & Diane Statham Philip & Alison Tasker Nicola Voyle Robert David Williams Anya, Stuart & Tara Zarb


Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust The Foyle Foundation Garfield Weston Foundation The Headley Trust Heritage Lottery Fund The Jerwood Foundation

John Ellerman Foundation The Mackintosh Foundation Maud Elkington Charitable Trust The Royal Theatrical Support Trust The Wolfson Foundation The Williams Charitable Trust


Chris Stafford Nikolai Foster Julia Bates Aimi Bonas Jay Bridges Susie Cattermole Aidan Grounds Andy Reeves David Ross Beth Shouler Claire Ward

Chief Executive Artistic Director HR & Operations Director Head of Finance Buildings & Technical Director Head of Fundraising Executive Producer Head of Learning Head of Hospitality & Business Relations New Work Associate Director of Audiences



Curve is run by Leicester Theatre Trust Limited, a registered charity (No. 230708). We gratefully acknowledge and welcome the continued support of and partnership with the organisations listed below.

Profile for Curve Theatre

Curve | Annual Review 2018-19  

Curve | Annual Review 2018-19