Curve, Leicester’s state of the art theatre, is situated at the very centre of the Cultural Quarter.
The building designed by award-winning architect Rafael Viñoly, is a sight to behold – curved, as the name suggests, and made of 1,192 tonnes of steel, and 4600m2 of glass. Curve was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 4 December 2008.
“Architecture is a dialogue with the forces of life. As a major form of social intervention, its essential responsibility is to elevate the public realm. In every project, I seek to maximize the opportunity for civic investment with a goal of forming iconic works that fulfill the needs of the client. For me, this makes architecture the most unique form of artistic endeavor".
Offering a new theatre experience for Leicester’s audiences, Curve is unlike any other theatre - there is no traditional backstage area separating the world of theatre-making from the public showcasing modern theatre here in the heart of Leicester's Cultural Quarter.
Commissioned by Leicester City Council, the building has won two prestigious awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the ProCon Leicestershire Building of the year award.
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Work on the new building began in June 2005 when pile-driving rigs arrived on the already cleared site to insert the 600 piles that would form the foundation of the building.
A year later, much of the building’s 1,192 tonnes of steelwork had been erected and around half of the massive steel roof was in place. Each of the roof girders had been transported from Glasgow and lifted into place using a giant crane.
The stairwells within the building were partially complete and the concrete terraces in the large auditorium were being laid. Work on installing the mechanical and electrical infrastructure was well under way and during the summer of 2006 the first phase of work began on the power flying system. A number of major building plant items were being installed in the lower roof level.
A ceremony to celebrate the completion of the upper glass facade in June 2007 marked a major milestone in the project. In total 4600m2 of glass had been used including massive five metre high panels at street level that were installed over the summer of 2007.
In June 2007 work also began on the installation of the large acoustic steel shutters that form the walls of the stage house. These were substantially complete by the end of 2007.
By February 2008 seats were being installed in the 800 seat capacity auditorium and the theatre had been named Curve. The main construction works were finally completed in August 2008 and Leicester City Council handed the building over to Leicester Theatre Trust.
Curve is one of the most technically advanced theatres in the country. It has two auditoria, one is a versatile performance space centred round a 15m deep 25m wide main stage, opening though a 15m wide 8m high proscenium arch onto an 800 seat main auditorium.
The rear wall of the stage flies out to reveal the second auditoria a 13m wide and 17m deep studio space designed to present productions in its own right, extend the main playing space or provide a 450 seat auditorium to the main stage.
The side walls of the main stage also fly out revealing the foyer and, on stage left, the outside world though a further glass wall. This flexibility allows Curve to play host to a range of creative opportunities, from end on proscenium arch theatre through to large scale promenade productions.
It has a flexible orchestra pit capable of housing up to 23 musicians and the ability to rise to auditorium level for additional seating or stage level performance space.
The main auditoria has 82 flying points including 12 automated hoists, 44 moving lights and panasonic projectors.
Curve also has a fully equipped sound studio and onsite AV suite.
Find out more about the Technical Specifications for our theatre >>
Principal partners in the building of Curve are:
Funds were received from The National Lottery, East Midlands Development Agency, LeicesterShire Economic Partnership, a project part financed by the European Union (ERDF), in partnership with Leicester Theatre Trust and in association with Phoenix Square Digital Arts.
Curve, Rutland Street, Cultural Quarter, Leicester LE1 1SB