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As part of our commitment to supporting and developing local artists from across our region, we’re excited to introduce you to our Curve Resident Creatives.
These 16 theatre-makers and companies will play a key role in shaping the future of Curve. The Curve Resident Creatives will be embedded in the life of the theatre and will be supported by Curve to create new work and develop artistic practice in Leicester.
The artists and theatre-makers were selected following an open call-out and interview process.
As part of this announcement, we commissioned photographer Ellie Kurttz to virtually capture a series of images of the artists. The collection of images follows Ellie’s series of photographs of performers taken throughout lockdown in 2020, called ‘Portraits in Isolation’.
Scroll down to find out more about each Curve Resident Creative and to see Ellie Kurttz’s portraits.
With ambition burning in abundance, Burnt Lemon Theatre are a multi-award winning, female led company who give rise to innovative new work. From riotous gig-theatre to electrifying musicals, they tackle sensitive stories with tenderness, punch and precision.
Since the founding of Burnt Lemon in 2018 by Co-Artistic Directors Cara Baldwin and Hannah Benson and Producer Tanya Agarwal, they have gained critical-acclaim. Their debut production The Half Moon Shania won Musical Theatre Review’s Best Musical Award 2018 and are more recently known for their Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show Tokyo Rose, winner of the Les Enfants Terribles ‘Stepladder Award’ as well as New Diorama and Underbelly’s ‘UNTAPPED’ award.
Utilising their skills of musicianship and fever for spoken word, Burnt Lemon Theatre’s productions demand your attention and leave you asking scorching questions.
Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD) is Leicester’s first South Asian dance organisation, found in 1981 by Artistic Director Nilima Devi (MBE) to promote knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Indian culture. Over 40 years it has produced many professional and community productions, nurturing generations of talent from the city’s diverse community. Past alumni include the UK’s finest Kathak dancers such as Aakash Odedra, an international artist with his own NPO company, Meera Patel, Subhash Viman Gorania and Kesha Raithatha.
Beyond the consistent teaching at the centre, CICD has a history of leading outreach work in schools, colleges and community organisations with alumni teaching dance classes at local, regional and national levels. CICD has also produced a string of well-received Indian classical, contemporary and folk dance productions, such as The Ugly Duckling, (1989) An evening of Indian dance (1987 and 1990) Triangle (1992), Kathak Double Bill, (1994) Rainbow (1995), Vyom (2000) and Folk dances of India (2002). Some of the productions were performed in Leicester and many were toured across the UK.
Outside the city the work has toured to the Lowry, South Bank Centre, Loughborough Town Hall, Cambridge University Theatre, The Bhavan Centre (London) and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As well as creating large-scale community and professional productions CICD has also produced with many solo and smaller group Kathak performances. In addition to its role as an institute of learning, the Centre has an archive of costumes, music, dance books, a rehearsal studio, information on dance artists, an extensive collection of leaflets, posters and newspaper cuttings, and much information on the theory and practice of Kathak and other Indian dance forms. Since 2010, CICD has received several National Heritage Lottery grants to establish a digital film, image and sound archive for the company’s work which can share this learning and story with a wider audience. These include Karman (2012), Abhilekh (2016) and Poshak Puralekh (2019).
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A new writing company with a focus on producing new LGBTQ+ work, Emmerson & Ward was formed in 2018 by Producer Max Emmerson and Writer Rob Ward. Since 2018, Emmerson & Ward has produced Gypsy Queen by Rob Ward at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, multiple UK tours and an international tour, Sex/Crime by Alexis Gregory at the Soho Theatre, Riot Act by Alexis Gregory, UK Tour and in 2020 they debuted The MP, Aunty Mandy & Me by Rob Word in association with Curve. Throughout the pandemic they have been developing new work with support from Arts Council England.
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Gerrard Martin was born in Northampton and trained at De Montfort University, gaining a BA Hons in English Literature and Performing Arts. He then went on to Northern School of Contemporary Dance to continue his professional dance studies. Gerrard is a dance artist who performs, choreographs, movement directs, educates and teaches yoga.
Gerrard currently teaches at Trinity Laban (CAT), and has taught and mentored on the Children Youth Dance and the Classes & Courses programme at the Place, he is a guest Associate Lecturer at the University of Northampton, and a dance and yoga teacher at RADA, (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).
Gerrard has choreographed for Outbox Theatre, Longborough Opera, British Museum, Pegasus Opera and the National Portrait gallery. The West Bengal Federation of Dance, India commissioned Gerrard’s choreography for World Dance Day. He was an assistant choreographer on the English National Opera’s Porgy and Bess, One Love Musical, (Bob Marley), and the 40th UAE Royal Anniversary Performance, Abu Dhabi.
Gerrard Martin Dance (GMD) is a project-based company, which was created in 2011. GMD produces dance theatre which is engaging, passionate, emotive and socially relevant.
The company teaches and facilitates creativity through dance, movement, and yoga. GMD enhances desire and passion for dancing, elevates self-esteem, and nurtures and encourages potential.
Gerrard Martin Dance believes in collaboration and engages artists across different art forms.
GMD has had work featured at the National Portrait Gallery, RichMix and the Emerge, Between the Lines, South Bank Urban, Let’s Dance International, and Cloud Dance Festivals. GMD’s work has also been selected for The Field Film festival, UK and the Athens Video Dance Project, Greece.
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Morph Productions was set up by Subhash Viman Gorania (SVG) in July 2016 (originally called Morph Dance Company) for the purposes of developing opportunities for SVG as a dancer and choreographer to develop his contemporary style. SVG is Artistic Director of the company and features as performer, choreographer and collaborator in most of the works to date. More recently the artistic vision has been revised to enable current generations of artists to tell and present their stories using dance, physical theatre and digital mediums.
Since 2016 Morph Productions has created a number of works which look at deeper social and political issues such as the impacts of migration; bullying and racial harassment, the tensions underlying political protest. The company makes distinctive work through the use of new lighting design, an amalgamation of contemporary and Indian dance and music and the use of personal stories to shape the narrative. These works include Classic Encounters; Fly From, Metamorphic and Three in collaboration with renowned choreographers such as Gary Clarke, Saju Hari, Rukmini Vijayakumar, Preethi Vasudevan, T J Lowe and Chitraleka Bolar. Collaborators in sound and light include Niraj Chag, Raghu Dixit, Shammi Pithia, Andy Hamer and Hector Murray.
SVG has developed through lockdown new skills in dance and animation on digital screens with recent commissions from Aakesh Odedra Dance Company, Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD) Chitraleka Dance Company and MANCH. He was awarded Dance Xchange Choreography Award in 2018.
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The Gramophones are an established all-female company run by Co-Artistic Directors Hannah Stone and Ria Ashcroft. They create contemporary, playful, high quality shows that put women centre stage. They make work that is relevant and responsive but has hope and change at its heart. They tell stories that are rooted in the community, inspired by women’s voices and reach far and wide.
The Gramophones have toured extensively to venues across the UK. In 2011 they were selected by Theatre Writing Partnership to work with writer Clare Duffy to create an interactive show for children, Wild Duck. They were later awarded a grant to travel from Lands End to John O’Groats on as many forms of transport as we could. The show End to End received 4 and 5 star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe.
In 2016 they were commissioned by Derby Festé to make Tarzanna, an aerial theatre show for families which toured extensively and will tour again in October 2021.
“Thank you for inspiring + empowering my 3-year-old female warrior. Perfect timing as alarmingly she was just starting to say boys were strong not girls, but not anymore! Totally reprogrammed + empowered!”
The Gramophones are currently developing Aidy the Awesome, a children’s aerial show about a Grandmother and Granddaughter superhero duo commissioned by Curve and supported by Arts Council England. In 2020 they were commissioned by Lakeside Arts to make an audio adventure – ANOTHER PLANET, for an adult and child to experience in any green space.
Follow The Gramophones:
Facebook – @TheGramophonesTheatreCompany
Twitter – @TheGramophones_
Instagram – @the_gramophones
Samson Hawkins is a playwright and theatre practitioner from Syresham, Northamptonshire. As a playwright, he has worked with The Nottingham Playhouse, The Arena Theatre Wolverhampton, The Oxford Playhouse, Second Sons and Eton College. Most recently he was awarded In Good Company’s ‘Take Off’ prize, for his play oh for f**k’s sake (I’m in love with you). He has also written a play for radio We are in this Love Story for Rural Media and BBC Arts. He is a current Curve Resident Creative, New Perspectives associate & Graeae Beyond member. He has graduated from the writers groups of The Royal Court, Soho Theatre and The Oxford Playhouse.
Samson has also directed productions at The Orange Tree Theatre, Soho Theatre, the Old Red Lion & The Pleasance, and has assisted Gemma Farley and Steve Marmion. He is the current director in residence at Eton College, the former resident director of The Oxford Playhouse and a former trainee director at The Orange Tree Theatre.
Samson formed ‘The Secret Monday Group’ an Oxford-based free accessible youth theatre, as well as directing many productions with young people. He recently received an Arts Council DYCP grant to develop a working practice of using the principles of relaxed performances as an artistic impetus to create work for rural and studio touring, this working practice of ‘LO-FI Theatre’ will be created by ‘The Tomfool Ensemble’ a company of which Samson is the creative director.
Twitter – @samson_hawkins
Tina Hofman is a bilingual performance maker of Croatian origin, who works both independently and leads Notnow Collective. Her work is inspired by standing on the precipices, disruptions, migration and fantasy, and uses collaborative practice and movement as primary languages. Having mainly created indoor studio work, Tina is now moving into both digital and outdoor spaces, and aims to create strong international corridors of creativity.
Tina regularly works with Tirena Theatre, Zagreb as an associate artist: co-devising and directing new, urgent work for young people – the most recent work U Mojoj Glavi is opening conversation about anxiety and depression.
In 2020 she was selected for the Creative Digital Leadership programme by Arts Connect and has been awarded the THRIVE bursary for developing her participatory practice through investigating protest as a creative intervention.
She is a core member of Migrants in Theatre movement, addressing mis/under representation of first generation migrants in UK, which is currently working on a series of Town Hall meetings across the UK. Tina is passionate about the decentralisation of arts in both the UK and Croatia, and developing corridors for creative exchange between her two home destinations.
Twitter – @hofmanica
Hal Mayer is an experimental multidisciplinary artist, his work ranging from Film, Theatre, Immersive, Mixed Media and Visual arts. Within his rooted movement practice he channels Butoh methodology through Hip-Hop dance disciplines. Using styles such as Tutting, Popping and Krump to tell provoking and harrowing narratives. Hal’s body of work connects the gap between horror and societal qualms. The work dealing with taboo subject matter as a means to open cathartic outlets for an audience, allowing them to engage with complex morality in a philosophical capacity.
His seminal performance ‘Mannequin’, a duet between live performer and a mannequin; gained some notoriety for the troubling visual/theme, leading to a permanent ban from a Royal Theatre. A key moment in the young artists journey, one that developed into wanting to unpick the hypocrisy of the arts and lending direction to his artistic vision.
Subsequently, Hal became the youngest participant on Breakin’ Conventions developmental programme ‘Back to the lab’. From this point Hal has gone on to develop work for: Artist’s 4 Artists, Breakin’ Convention, Studio 3 Arts, The Nottingham Contemporary, The University of Nottingham and Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
Instagram – @reyamlah
YouTube – Reyamlah
Stacey McCarthy is a dancer, choreographer, movement director and practitioner.
Stacey studied Dance and Drama in college and performed in Youth Theatre, Street Arts, Circus and TV. She trained at De Montfort University and graduated with a BA Hons in Dance in 2006. During her dance studies she started exploring Dance in the Deaf Community and commenced on her 10 year journey to become a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter, graduating with a Post Graduate Diploma in Interpreting and Translation BSL/English.
Stacey is a qualified Youth Worker and became a Specialised Senior Youth Worker in Dance for Leicester City Council, where she created dance projects and opportunities for young people city-wide, which led to her working in Youth Dance and Youth Theatre.
Stacey has performed and choreographed professionally in the music industry, for corporate events, and festivals. These skills, in conjunction with business courses, allowed her to provide young people with an insight into the world of work as a professional dancer. She is now a guest lecturer at De Montfort University, has presented at dance colleges, and provided consultation workshops for professional dancers on how to set up their own business ventures.
As a Registered Sign Language Interpreter (RSLI), Stacey provides access to the Performing Arts for the Deaf community and audiences. She travels across the UK providing interpretation for West End productions, regional theatre, musicals, artists , scratch nights, and festivals, as well as being integrated into dance performances. Stacey is also a member of the THEATRESIGN team.
Whilst working creatively within a range of communities, Stacey has learnt and developed a number of skills, which have always influenced her dance work, and will continue to do so. Stacey’s style reflects her journey, which started as a young person exposed to the performing arts via art-forms inspired by Black culture. This passion then progressed into studying contemporary dance and on to commercial styles, which have all fused to inform her diverse practice and current work in movement direction and choreography.
Stacey is developing her own work and looking to collaborate further with Deaf and Hearing Creatives to bring more opportunities to the Midlands.
Phizzical tells tomorrow’s stories today by creating high quality, entertaining and unique South Asian arts and cultural experiences on the small to mid and large-scale touring circuits. Phizzical work with local communities, gathering their stories and, with its new perspectives, the company’s work influences the wider UK theatre sector. With a strong history of bringing both traditional and South Asian audiences into theatre spaces, Phizzical’s adventurous, physical and colourful work challenges the status quo and empowers new generations of theatre goers.
Founded in 2003 by Artistic Director and CEO Samir Bhamra, Phizzical has created and delivered 22 projects across all art forms. As part of its talent development and diverse arts sector support, Phizzical has produced 27 projects on behalf of emerging artists (Subhash Viman Gorania, Kesha Raithatha, Shahid Iqbal Khan, etc.) and small arts companies. Phizzical produces the Midlands edition of the UK Asian Film Festival.
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Kesha is a dancer and choreographer who embodies Kathak and Contemporary movement. She creates work that is rich in detail and experimentally reconsiders contemporary South Asian dance. Her curiosity and exposure to a wide range of movement training informs and invigorates her dance-making vocabulary. She is passionate about exploring her dance a way which allows the viewer to have a surreal and transcendental experience, but also as a means to be a voice for the collective.
Sonia Sabri is a multi award-winning dance artist and choreographer. She is one of the world’s leading Kathak dancers and amongst the brightest and most inspirational of British born dancer-choreographers working in the twenty-first century. She has created a fresh, unique style of Kathak by reinventing it from within, by pushing boundaries and generating work that is original in concept and exciting and relevant to today’s audiences.
Facebook – Soniasabricompany
Twitter – @SoniaSabriCo
Instagram – @soniasabrico
STATE OF FLUX is movement company based in Leicester and London led by artistic director Laura Weston.
Since 2016 the company has delivered movement-based workshops across the UK, Europe and more recently online. They became Breakthrough Artists at Curve Theatre in 2017 where they developed ‘untravel’ and ‘(don’t) touch me’ which was performed as part of New Work Festival in 2019. STATE OF FLUX also produce live events which bring together exciting artists from across music, dance, theatre and spoken-word for one off live gigs (FLUX #1 Silver Building, London and FLUX#LC Curve Theatre, Leicester). Currently they are developing a series of dance films based in Leicester.
Artistic director Laura Weston was born and raised in Leicester and trained in contemporary dance at Trinity Laban (2002-2006). She worked professionally as a dancer touring nationally and internationally in works by Sarah Michelson, Athina Vahla, Thomas Hauert, Gary Clarke, Crystal Pite and Rashpal Singh Bansal. Laura now works as a freelance movement director and choreographer for stage and screen. She also teaches and directs at dance and theatre conservatoires including London Studio Centre, Guildford School of Acting (GSA), Mountview and Rose Bruford College.
STATE OF FLUX is also made up of Leicester-born associate artist and producer Brad Foster who has been part of the company since 2017.
Follow STATE OF FLUX:
Twitter – @_stateofflux
Instagram – @_stateofflux
Jude Taylor is a composer, lyricist and writer from Leicestershire. His first full length musical Steep Themselves in Night premiered at The Other Palace in London during October 2018. His most recent work, Make Me Infamous, a musical theatre audio production (produced by MP Theatricals) was released online in November 2020.
Jude is interested in creating quirky new musical comedies and fairytales which explore and challenge the usual representation of LGBTQ+ people in musical theatre.
Other credits as a composer/writer include: QUEERME (MP Theatricals, 2021); SIGNAL x MT Pride (2020, MP Theatricals/Queerly Productions/Adam Lenson); on hope: a digital song cycle (2020, MP Theatricals/Victoria Saxton); All That Scratch podcast (2019; All That Productions/The Other Palace); (Hey) Jude Taylor live at The Pheasantry, London (2019); Lionel Bart Masterclass (Mercury Musical Developments, 2018)
His first EP, (Hey) Jude Taylor, was released in 2019 and is available to stream online.
In 2012, Jude completed the Curve Young Arts Entrepreneurs scheme before going on to lead a number of small applied theatre and community arts projects, including work with partners such as Curve, West Yorkshire Playhouse, and YoungMinds. He has extensive experience in teaching, leading workshops and facilitating groups, including as a singing teacher.
Following 7 years of working in the third sector with mental health services alongside his work in the arts, Jude also has a particular passion for promoting the benefits of singing for wellbeing, leading him to develop several singing courses/groups for adults with mental health difficulties.
In 2019 he gave a TEDX talk on his experiences of singing for wellbeing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Si Rawlinson is a British East-Asian hip hop dancer and choreographer, Curve Resident Creative and Artistic Director of the hip hop dance company Wayward Thread, which started in 2016. He is also a lecturer at De Montfort University.
Wayward Thread is a hip hop dance company. Rooted in break, the company uses hip hop styles, contemporary dance, physical theatre, spoken word and film to explore compassion, identity, and our dissonant relationship with a rapidly changing world.
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