Executive Team

Chris Stafford

Chief Executive

Chris Stafford was appointed CEO of Curve in 2015 and in partnership with Nikolai Foster, he is responsible for the artistic and business leadership of the theatre.

Since taking up post, Curve’s annual turnover has increased by over £10m and audiences have risen by over 30% for performances in Leicester. Under Chris’ leadership, Curve has also developed a reputation as a leading producing theatre in the UK and a destination venue for producers to open major touring productions, with recent productions launched at Curve including Come from AwayLes Misérables and Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet. In addition to launching work, Chris has led the development of Curve’s work on national and international tour, with productions playing to over 600,000 people a year. In the last eight years, eight Made at Curve co-productions have played in London’s West End, including The Wizard of Oz (London Palladium), Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Musical (The Ambassadors Theatre) and Grease (Dominion Theatre). Chris was also Executive Producer on Curve’s critically acclaimed streamed productions of Sunset Boulevard and The Color Purple which were watched by audiences in 45 countries during the pandemic.

Throughout his career Chris has overseen almost 100 productions and co-productions, and prior to joining Curve he worked extensively internationally, touring and making work in the Middle East, South Korea, Japan, Barbados, North America and Europe. He was Executive Director of dreamthinkspeak, one of the UK’s leading producers of site responsive theatre for two years and prior to that he worked in the education department at Shakespeare’s Globe, where he led on producing work for children and young people. Chris was also Acting Head of Development at Bristol Old Vic.

He is a graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, a 2009/10 Clore Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme, an Alumnus of the Windsor Leadership Programme, listed in the ‘Who’s Who’ Directory and named with Nikolai Foster as 18 in The Stage 100 most influential people and partnerships in theatre.

Nikolai Foster

Artistic Director

Nikolai is Artistic Director at Curve, Leicester, one of the UK’s leading regional theatres which was recently described as ‘world-class’ by The Daily Telegraph.

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nikolai grew up in North Yorkshire and trained at Drama Centre London and at the Crucible, Sheffield.

He has created work for many of the UK’s major producing theatres, touring houses and international venues. Nikolai has been director on attachment at the Sheffield Crucible, the Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre Studio and served as an Associate Director at Leeds Playhouse.

Most recently at Curve, Nikolai has directed The Wizard of Oz (also at the London Palladium); the first new UK production of Billy Elliot the Musical (winner of Best Musical Production at the UK Theatre Awards), described as a ‘masterpiece’ by The Times; Grease at London’s Dominion Theatre; and an acclaimed revival of A Chorus Line. During lockdown, Nikolai directed Curve’s first digital streamed production, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s critically acclaimed Sunset Boulevard – at Home, which was hailed as a ‘Game-changer’ by the Telegraph. Nikolai has also directed a major revival of West Side Story; Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette (nominated for Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2020); Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; the world-premiere of Dougal Irvine’s adaptation of Riaz Khan’s Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual (winner of Best Stage Production at the Asian Media Awards 2019, nominated for Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2019), An Officer and a Gentleman – the Musical; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard (winner of the Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2018); Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw (with Theatre Royal Bath); Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s Grease (Curve, Dubai World Trade Centre & UK tour); Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (with Birmingham Rep); the Broadway musical Spring Awakening (with NYMT); Legally Blonde (Opera Garnier, Monaco & Daegu Opera Festival, South Korea – Winner Best Musical – Daegu International Musical Festival Awards); Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Curve, Haymarket Theatre, London & UK tour); Roald Dahl’s The Witches (with Rose Theatre Kingston, Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds & UK tour); Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire; Shakespeare’s Richard III; Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good and a performance to celebrate the reveal of the tomb of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral.

Nikolai has also directed acclaimed productions of Calamity Jane (UK tour); Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds); Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing (20th anniversary production – Arts Theatre, London);  Brecht’s The Good Person of Sichuan (Mercury Theatre, Colchester); Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret by Mark Catley (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds); Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water (New Vic, Stoke & Stephen Joseph, Scarborough); the European premiere of Morris Panych’s The Dishwashers (Birmingham Rep); the Sondheim / Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along (Clwyd Theatr Cymru); The Diary of Anne Frank (York Theatre Royal & The Touring Consortium); a major new production of the Broadway musical, Annie (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds & on tour); Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester) and Macbeth (Singapore Repertory Theatre, Fort Canning Park, Singapore).

Senior Management Team

Linda Dixon

Finance Director

Kay Hardiman

Director of Creative Programmes

Phil Lisseman

Director of Buildings and Operations

Tessa Stanley-Price

Director of Fundraising

Will Mauchline

Director of Producing and Programming

Claire Ward

Executive Director, Audiences and Commercial Operations