Curve Classroom 2021

In January 2021, as the nation return to lockdown, we launched Curve Classroom, our resource to support home-schooling and lifelong learning!

Still available today, these free educational sessions were delivered by a range of leading artists including performers Molly Lynch, Garry Robson and Beth Hinton-Lever, Designers Grace Smart and Kate Unwin, Director Julia Thomas, Choreographers Arlene Phillips and Mel Knott, Writer Jess Green and Composer and Curve Associate Tasha Taylor Johnsonas well as a number of Midlands-based artists local to our Leicester home.

Scroll down to find lessons ranging from English language and literature, analytical thinking, music, character work and choreography workshops, as well as puppetry, disability awareness and LGBTQ+ history.

Whatever your interests, age or ability, we hope you’ll enjoy and be inspired by these sessions delivered by our fantastic tutors!

Week Seven

Life as an actor on tour with Jessica Daley

Learn all about life as an actor on tour! Jessica Daley has travelled the world with various musical productions. She speaks here about her experiences of life on the road and the lessons and challenges it has brought along the way. Please note there are some mentions of anxiety, performance anxiety and stress.

Recommended age: 14+

Jessica is a performer, voiceover artist, tutor and all-round creative person from Teesside. She trained at Arts Educational Schools in London, after appearing on BBC1’s Over the Rainbow in 2010, where she studied a BA (Hons) Degree in Musical Theatre. She made her West End debut in Mamma Mia! playing Ali before going on to play Baroness Elberfeld/Alternate Maria in The Sound of Music (UK Tour), Factory Girl/Cover Fantine in Les Miserables International Tour (Manila/Singapore/Dubai), Frenchy in Grease (Dubai), Lynette Pomeroy in An Officer and a Gentleman (UK Tour) and most recently, Eva Peron in the original Hal Prince production of Evita (China).

During the pandemic, Jessica produced and presented ’The Self-Isolation Podcast’ and ‘Unusual Times’, commissioned by BBC for BBC Radio Tees – covering a range of topics revolving around day-to-day life in lockdown. Both podcasts can be found on BBC Sounds.

She also recently qualified as a Mental Health First Aider (MHFAE) and is passionate about mental wellbeing within the arts.

Twitter: @jessicacaca7
Instagram: @jessicacaca7

Looking: The image in the 21st century with Douglas O'Connell

The use of the photographic image has grown exponentially with the development of technology and smart phones. Using cinema, theatre and art, Douglas O’Connell demonstrates, through video, the development of the photographic image and its impact on culture, the way we think and how it affects our way of looking.

Age recommendation: 14+

Douglas O’Connell is a Video and Projection Designer. In 2018 he received a fellowship award for Promising New Research from the University of the Arts, London and a grant from the British Arts Council to lead Digital Performance for the UKIERI Thematic Partner at Hyderabad University, India.

Recent designs include: Sunset Boulevard – at Home (Curve), The Royal Hunt of the Sun (Parco, Tokyo), Pinocchio (Texas Ballet), Lost Thing (Royal Opera House), Witches of Eastwick (Cameron Mackintosh), Grease (UK Tour), An Officer and a Gentleman, Sunset Boulevard, Scrooge The Musical (Curve).

Douglas’ upcoming work includes: The Wizard of Oz (Curve), Identical (Trevor Nunn) and We Will Rock You (World Tour).

An introduction to Bharatanatyam with Nupur Arts

Santosh Nair from Nupur Arts tutors an introduction to a form of classical Indian dance called Bharatanatyam. Santosh takes you through a series of movements and short routines, including basic Bharatanatyam poses and how to represent animals. This fun and relaxing tutorial is suitable for beginners of all ages.

Recommended age: 11+

A Curve Affiliate Company, Nupur Arts is a dance academy which has been based in the heart of Leicester since 1990. Nupur Arts engages with artists, practitioners, arts organisations and people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, to develop, promote and support South Asian dance in Leicestershire and beyond.

The Color Purple - at Home Q&A

We’re delighted to share this recording of our The Color Purple Q&A, which took place online on Monday 1st March.

Hosted by Pawlett Brookes, CEO of Curve Associate Company Serendipity, watch this discussion to hear insights into the show from our panel including writers Marsha Norman (Book), Stephen Bray and Brenda Russell (Music and Lyrics), company members of our Made at Curve production in association with Birmingham Hippodrome – Tinuke Craig (Director), Alex Parker (Musical Director), T’Shan Williams (Celie) and Carly Mercedes Dyer (Shug Avery), Researcher at the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, De Monfort University Mutsa Mhende and Curve’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster.

Insights from Curve's Technical Team

In this session, members of Curve’s technical team give you a special behind-the-scenes look at Curve, taking you into the backstage spaces the audience doesn’t usually see, including the dimmer room, winch room, follow spot bridge and automation desk. Technicians from across the Sound, Automation and Stage and Lighting departments tell you about their job roles and the kind of daily tasks they undertake during productions, as well as their highlights of being members of the technical department at a busy theatre, and tips for how to get into technical theatre careers. This is a great introduction to different technical roles in theatre.

Featuring insights from Dave Norton, our Head of Sound and Video, Sound and Video Technician Sean McCabe, Lighting Technician Jude Michell, Stage and Automation Technician Emily Walker, Lighting Technician Judith Moulton and Stage and Automation Technician Jasdeep Singh.

Recommended age: 12+

Creating theatre on Zoom - Conversations Q&A

Learn about new writing and creating theatre on Zoom in this recording of our Conversations Q&A with the team behind the show, including insights from Writer Rob Ward, Producer Max Emmerson, Director Julia Thomas and performers Reece Lyons and Londiwe Mthembu, hosted by our Artistic Director Nikolai Foster.

Recorded on 25 Feb, this discussion took place as part of the premiere of Conversations, a brand new LGBTQ+ digital drama presented by Emmerson & Ward, Curve and De Montfort University during LGBTQ+ History Month and #DMUpride.

Recommended age: 14+

The Hand Jive dance tutorial with Mel Knott

This session from Curve Classroom is one for everyone aged 6 and over, whether you are seated or can stand to dance, and whether you are at home and dancing on your own or with your family, or learning in school or as part of a group. Mel teaches the hand jive, a form of dance most popular in the USA during the 1950s. Mel starts with a warm up, then teaches the hand jive, and follows on with several creative tasks for you to work on in your own spaces both as part of the video and as a follow on from watching it. Mel then finishes with a cool-down. If you want to share your dances with Curve, please send them in to us via Facebook messenger.

Recommended age: 6+

Mel Knott is a dance artist, educator and choreographer and is Lecturer is Community Dance Practice at De Montfort University. She has choreographed productions at Curve including George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Witches and Giraffes Can’t Dance, and leads Curve Young Dance Company.

Week Six

LGBTQ+ History with Rob Ward

In this session, Rob Ward gives a short history of events that have affected the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the UK and around the world. The lesson includes definitions of key terms related to both gender and sexuality; important historical events across the 20th and 21st century, like the Stonewall riots and HIV/AIDS Crisis; and the passage of laws and equality legislation relating to the community. Rob also discusses important LGBT figures like Oscar Wilde, Lili Elbe and Alan Turing. This is an excellent introduction to LGBT history for anyone interested in the topic.

Recommended age: 14+

Rob Ward is a playwright, actor and producer. His plays include Conversations (part of DMU Pride at Curve in 2021), The MP, Aunty Mandy & Me and Gypsy Queen. Rob co-wrote Away From Home, which toured nationally and internationally between 2013-16, picking up critical acclaim and several awards including the Manchester Theatre Awards for Best New Play and Best Fringe Performance.

Drawing people with Grace Smart

In this session, Designer Grace Smart teaches you, step-by-step, how to draw people, using a simple template for the basic proportions of a human body, and then breaking down how to simply draw each part of the body. Grace shows you how to adapt basic body proportions to enable you to draw other figures, and then zooms in and shows you how to draw a face in detail, again using proportions. Perfect for beginners or anyone who has always wanted to draw a person, but not known where to start!

Age recommendation: 11+

Grace Smart is a Set and Costume Designer who was the overall winner of the 2015 Linbury Prize. She trained at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) in Theatre Design. Grace’s recent theatre and opera design credits include: Looking a Lot Like Christmas (Donmar Warehouse), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), The Real Thing (Chichester Festival Theatre), My Beautiful Launderette and Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual (Curve), Susanna (Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House), Henry VI and Richard III (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe), Crocodile Fever (Traverse), The End of History… (Royal Court), God of Chaos (Plymouth Theatre Royal), One Night in Miami (Nottingham Playhouse/Bristol Old Vic), Good Vibrations (Lyric Theatre, Belfast) and Killer Joe (Trafalgar Studios).

DIY Theatre with Samson Hawkins

Samson is a theatre maker from Northamptonshire. He’s created work with The Orange Tree Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse & The Arena Theatre. He is a resident creative at Curve, an associate at New Perspectives, Graeae Beyond member and a part of The Royal Court Script Panel.

Samson’s session gives a working model for how to create your own story telling piece from scratch and explores why we tell stories, who should tell stories and how we tell stories. By the end of the session, you will have created alive piece of theatre with only yourself, your imagination and some sticky notes.

Age recommendation: 12+

Demystifying the monologue with Beth Hinton-Lever

Demystifying the Monologue focuses on different techniques to work with your text to create a more nuanced, focused, and assured performance. Whether it’s a monologue, Shakespeare, or a song; these handy tips and questions will help you to connect to the text and character whilst still holding onto your idiosyncrasies and what makes you an individual.

With a few handy tips and tricks to help with settling your nerves and creating a character thrown in along the way!

If you want to chat further or have any questions about the session, Beth’s journey into acting, or her work please do drop her a message! You can find her @BethHintonLever on Twitter and Instagram.

Age recommendation: 12+

Narrative through Dance with Magnetic Movement

In this session, Magnetic Movement focus on ’Narrative through Dance’.

This is the creative art of storytelling using movement. In this dance class you will learn a routine and explore, with Alex and Lindsay, the connection between the story and how we express that through our bodies. As humans, we are storytellers and there is something truly magical about portraying our own narrative and thoughts through movement’s dynamic qualities, journey and intention.

Alex and Lindsay hope you will take away some ideas away from the session, and then be able to take a piece of music that you like and listen to it in a different way, allowing the orchestration, lyrics and narrative to influence the way you create movement and the story that you tell.

Age recommendation: 11

DIY Theatre with Samson Hawkins

Samson is a theatre maker from Northamptonshire. He’s created work with The Orange Tree Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse & The Arena Theatre. He is a resident creative at Curve, an associate at New Perspectives, Graeae Beyond member and a part of The Royal Court Script Panel.

Samson’s session gives a working model for how to create your own story telling piece from scratch and explores why we tell stories, who should tell stories and how we tell stories. By the end of the session, you will have created a live piece of theatre with only yourself, your imagination and some sticky notes.

Age recommendation: 12+

Week Five

Curve Classroom | Julia Thomas - Play Archaeology

Julia was Associate Director at National Theatre Wales (2019), RTYDS Resident Director at Curve, Leicester (2015-2017), and Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio (2015). Julia is a member of the Directors Lab at the Lincoln Center Theater New York, representing Wales in the Lab‘ Making Theatre in a Time of Change’. Julia has also been a Festival Director for National Theatre Connections and a Facilitator for the Arts Council Wales, Night Out Young Promoters Project.

Credits as director include: Giraffes Can’t Dance (Curve, The Rose Kingston and Simon Friend Entertainment, National tour), London Wall (Richard Burton Company, RWCMD) Twelfth Night (Story house);This Incredible Life (Fwrnes and Canoe National tour); Two (Derby Theatre); George’s Marvellous Medicine, Our Day Out, A Clockwork Orange, Burning Books (Curve). Director on Cotton Fingers by Rachel Trezise, Associate Director on Storm 3 and Emerging Director on Iliad and A Provincial Life (National Theatre Wales).

In this session, Julia leads a text analysis workshop for students of English and Drama, discussing “play archaeology” and how we can excavate “events” in plays or texts–naming what is happening in the space of the text–to help us understand and interpret texts, and providing the key to make plays really interesting and exciting. Julia also explains how events can be used in formulating your own stories and creative writing.

Age recommendation: 12+

Curve Classroom | Jack Holden Introduction in speaking Shakespeare

In this session, Jack leads a workshop on Shakespeare, focusing on speaking the text aloud. Jack leads breathing, physical and articulation exercises to get you warmed up and then coaches you step-by-step through a speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He provides key tips in speaking and understanding Shakespeare: repeating the speech aloud, looking up unfamiliar words, working out the character’s objective and playing with sounds in the speech.

Jack trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and then went straight on to play the lead role of Albert in the National Theatre’s internationally award-winning production of WAR HORSE.

Since then, Jack has worked at theatres across the country including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Curve Leicester, Theatre Royal Bath, Bristol Old Vic, Nottingham Playhouse, The Yard and the Almeida. He was most recently seen in the West End in James Graham’s INK, directed by Rupert Goold.

Jack has also appeared in British independent films THE LEVELLING and JOURNEY’S END, and short films STRAY and HIYA JANICE. He has featured in television dramas for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Amazon.

Age recommendation: 12+

Curve Classroom | Jennifer Lane Baker and Georgie Proctor Lockdown Poetry

illustrated poetry with Jennifer Baker and Georgie Proctor Today, Jenny and Georgie take you on a visual journey through two poems from the AQA GCSE English syllabus – ‘Sonnet 29′ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and’ Climbing my Grandfather’ by Andrew Waterhouse. Georgie’s animated illustrations accompany analysis of the poems.

Age recommendation:13+

Jennifer Lane Baker is a freelance theatre director, currently training at Curve. At Curve she has worked on streamed productions of Sunset Boulevard and The Color Purple and is directing the upcoming online production of Blood Wedding.

Previously Jennifer has worked and trained with organisations including the Pleasance Theatre Trust, Museums Worcestershire, and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Her background lies in musical theatre, and she also works with young people, both in youth theatre and as a tutor.

You can find out more about her work at

Georgie Proctor is an illustrator and writer based in Greenwich, London. With a background in fine art, Georgie began exploring graphic design and illustration through poster and logo commissions at University. Since then, she has worked on commissions for numerous professional clients, in the music sector and beyond. Georgie is currently completing her MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway and is a musician with the jazz talent development programme Tomorrow’s Warriors.

To follow all her illustration work, you can check out her Instagram @georgies.archive

Physical Characterisation with Tina Hofman - Part 1

This is part 1 of Tina’s Physical Characterisation workshop. Tina is a specialist in physical theatre, a theatrical style where actors primarily use movement, the body or gestures to communicate. Tina’s two sessions are about physical characterisation–creating a character through the body. Part 1 is about warming up and preparing the body for physical work, exploring and becoming aware of how the body can move. Tina leads exercises which isolate the movement of different body parts and teach us how to “write” with our body parts.

Tina is an actor, performer, director and producer. She trained in physical theatre and began her career by teaching movement at Birkbeck University London, before moving into freelance performing and directing. Under the mentorship of Adrian Howells in 2012 she started making her own work by working on one-to-one piece ‘Talking to Shiran’. In 2014Tina was selected for an International Residency by Conflux Glasgow, where she conceived Lucid Interval. In 2015 Tina co-founded Not now Collective, an organisation dedicated to radical questioning of “who’s not here?”. With Not now Collective she co-created and performed in three shows which toured nationally, including ‘Pepper & Honey’. Tina was a part of co-founding Migrants in Theatre. She is currently producing, consulting, learning about leadership (with help of Arts Connect) and making new work: discovering co-creation with young people in a digital project examining Protest (Thrive Bursary), working on a new piece, ‘Ananas in Always Ananas But Pineapple In English’ (commissioned by Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester).

Week Four

Not fitting in and daring to be different with Carrie and David Grant

In this session renowned presenters and vocal coaches Carrie and David Grant talk through a life lesson about daring to be different, standing out, and finding your identity as a creative and as a person. They invite you to think about “breaking out of the box”, talking through concepts of embracing change, battling fear, shame and doubt to become tougher and more true to yourself. They also encourage you to discover the support system around you, and focus on how to make a pledge to yourself to combat criticism, learn from mistakes, take your time on your journey and move past difficult experiences to be a stronger person.

Age recommendation: 11+

Carrie and David Grant are probably best known as judges and vocal coaches on TV talent shows “Pop Idol” (ITV) and BBC’s “Fame Academy”. They are current judges on BBC 1’s BAFTA Award winning “Glee Club.”

They have acted as vocal coaches for The Spice Girls, Take That, Kimberley Wyatt, Will Young, Charlotte Church, Lemar, The Saturdays, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marvin Humes, Demi Lovato and many others.

David has had 14 hit singles in the UK charts including the Top 5 duet with Jaki Graham “Could it be I’m falling in love”. David was also nominated for Best Newcomer in the Brit Awards as lead singer of Linx. David is currently a regular presenter on “Songs of Praise.”

Carrie started as a dancer on TV then moved into presenting and session singing where she became one of the country’s top session singers, working with the likes of Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Rod Stewart, Lighthouse Family, Fat Boy Slim and many others. Carrie currently presents for The One Show, covering most of their music items and many other subjects. She has also reported for The Culture Show and made documentaries on Al Bowly and Eva Cassidy. Their vocal coaching book “You Can Sing” is a worldwide bestseller.

They are the authors of “Jump Up and Join In” a 6 part children’s book series out on Egmont. Their online vocal coaching course is available now,…

In 2008 David and Carrie were awarded a BASCA for their lifetime services to the music industry.

Poetry workshop with Jess Green

Jess Green leads a workshop on writing poetry about the experience of lockdown and exploring our emotions. She starts with a reading of her Curve Commissioned poem about Leicester, ‘Not Something That Other People Do’ –… and follows with a short exercise to warm up your creativity, asking questions for unconventional ways for you to describe yourself. Jess then invites you to explore the feelings you’ve experienced during lockdown through free writing and writing inspired by the five senses. Throughout the session, Jess shares tricks for approaching your poetry confidently, like the process of drafting poems and being specific in your writing choices.

Jess calls up these poets for inspiration in her session:

Tania Nwachukwu – @tanianwachukwu on Instagram
Caroline Bird –…
Vanessa Kisuule –

Age recommendation: 13+

Jess Green is an award-winning performance poet and script writer. She has written episodes for EastEnders and Casualty, was a part of BBC Writers Academy 2019 and is a BBC Slam Champion. She began to garner a following in 2013 with her viral poem, Dear Mr Gove. Since then she has performed at Glastonbury, Latitude and Bestival and written two shows (both published by Burning Eye Books), Burning Books (2015) and A Self Help Guide To Being In Love With Jeremy Corbyn (2018) which both received 5* at the Edinburgh Fringe and on their national tours. The theatre adaptation of Burning Books toured in 2018 including a performance at NUT National Conference.

Alana Dancing Star: LA Moves with Arlene Phillips - part 3

Arlene Phillips concludes her third and final instalment and continues to read from her book Alana Dancing Star: LA Moves, all about a little girl called Alana who dreams of becoming a dancing star.

Recommended age: 7+

Curve Classroom | Set and costume design process with Kate Unwin

In this session, Kate talks through what a theatre designer does, the timeline of a designer’s role and elements of the design process when approaching a script or piece of theatre. This includes researching the geographical location in a piece and the background of the characters, exploring your gut feelings or responses to the piece and how to build up a “library” of design references.

Kate also discusses her experience of designing site- specific pieces through storyboarding, creating 3D models and collaborating with a production and technical team. We especially recommend this video for those who would like an introduction to theatre design, or may be interested in becoming designers in future.

Age recommendation: 14+

Kate Unwin has worked as a freelance set and costume designer and maker for the past 20 years. Working predominately in theatre, Kate has worked for the National Theatre, London’s West End, regional theatres all over the UK and designed many touring and outdoor productions. She also designs site specific work, installations, bespoke costumes, events, and music videos.


Week Three

Bunraku puppetry with Jack Holden

In this workshop, Jack demonstrates puppetry techniques, drawing on the Japanese art of Bunraku Puppetry, the basis of the puppetry in the hit stage show War Horse. Jack starts with a warm-up to gently exercise the hands and body ready for puppeteering. Jack then shows you how to create your very own person-puppet with only an old newspaper, some sellotape and a pair of scissors. Then, Jack and his housemate Jess explain how to make the puppet breathe, move and show different emotions, and how to interact with the puppet as an actor. Finally, Jack and Jess animate objects they find around the house, making the most unlikely items come to life!

Recommended age: 10+ including puppetry beginners. This workshop is for two people so please bring a parent, sibling or someone in your bubble along.

Jack trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and then went straight on to play the lead role of Albert in the National Theatre’s internationally award-winning production of War Horse. Since then, Jack has worked at theatres across the country including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Curve Leicester, Theatre Royal Bath, Bristol Old Vic, Nottingham Playhouse, The Yard and the Almeida. He was most recently seen in the West End in James Graham’s Ink, directed by Rupert Goold. Jack has also appeared in British independent films The Levelling and Journey’s End, and short films Stray and Hiya Janice. He has featured in television dramas for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Amazon.

Alana Dancing Star: LA Moves and a dancing competition with Arlene Phillips

Arlene Phillips continues to read from her book Alana Dancing Star: LA Moves, all about a little girl called Alana who dreams of becoming a dancing star.

Recommended age: 7+

Creative writing with Nicole Jebeli

In this Curve Classroom performer Nicole Jebeli leads a creative writing workshop, sharing her own top tips and giving her advice on how to get your artistic ideas flowing. During the session Nicole will guide you through several exercises, helping you to bring an object to life in your writing and demonstrating her own examples.

Age recommendation: 11+

Nicole is an actor and singer who trained at Colchester Institute in Musical Theatre. She made her professional stage debut playing Tania in Curve’s production of My Beautiful Laundrette, which was nominated for ‘Best New Play’ and ‘Best Regional Production’ at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2020. Other theatre credits include Pocahontas in The Forest of Enchantment and This is Matty at The VAULTS.

Vocal warm-ups with Jodie Prenger

Musical theatre legend Jodie Prenger leads you through a fabulous physical and vocal warm-up to release tension and get you ready for singing – or just have some fun! Jodie shares her favourite vocal exercises to develop range and flexibility, as well as top tips for singing – with a few guest appearances from her dog, Oscar.

Recommended Age: 6+

Jodie most recently starred in the National Theatre’s touring production of A TASTE OF HONEY, which transferred to the West End to play a 12-week season at Trafalgar Studios. Other recent theatre work includes tours of ABIGAIL’S PARTY, SHIRLEY VALENTINE, ANNIE, FAT FRIENDS, TELL ME ON A SUNDAY and CALAMITY JANE. In the West End, she has starred in OLIVER! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS at Theatre Royal Haymarket and SPAMALOT at the Playhouse, and appeared in LES MISERABLES as the inaugural production at the Dubai Opera House. Jodie has starred in pantomime in at Liverpool Empire and Birmingham Hippodrome.


Week Two

Singing Lesson with Molly Lynch

Molly Lynch leads a 45-minute singing lesson including breathing, range and technique exercises and broken-down teaching of the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Molly teaches each line and section in detail before putting the whole song together.

Recommended age: 10+, and for any level of singer – whether you are a beginner or more experienced.

Backing Tracks for practice:

Eb (key signature Molly sings in the video)
Db (slightly lower)

Molly is an actress and singer from Cork, Ireland and is a graduate of The CIT Cork School of Music (BMus) and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (MA). Theatre credits include: Betty in Sunset Boulevard – At Home at Curve, Cathy Hiatt in The Last Five Years at Southwark Playhouse, ensemble/cover Clara in The Light in the Piazza at The Royal Festival Hall & International Tour, Kolokolo Bird in Just So at The Barn Theatre, Anne Brontë Wasted at Southwark Playhouse, Betty in Sunset Boulevard UK Tour, Stand-by Julie Jordan in Carousel at ENO’s Coliseum, Chava in Fiddler on The Roof at Grange Park Opera/BBC Proms, ensemble/cover Johanna in Sweeney Todd at ENO’s Coliseum and Serifina in Sacred Heartsat Latitude Festival.

Disability in the arts with Garry Robson

In this session, Garry gives us A Short History of Disability Art; From Freakshows to Fashionable. The talk covers his career as an actor who uses a wheelchair, how disability arts have developed over the years, and what he believes needs to happen to continue to improve accessibility in the arts.

Recommended age: 15+

Garry Robson is a Writer, Actor, Director and occasional musician.

He’s directed over 40 professional productions in the UK, Italy, Russia and Hong Kong, receiving several awards including a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award and a Herald Angel. He has been a Drama advisor for both the Arts Council of England and the Scottish Arts Council and was an Unlimited Awards panel member for the Cultural Olympiad. He was Artistic Director of DaDaFest International 2008 and 2010, establishing DaDaFest as one of the key International Festival for Deaf and Disability Arts and performance worldwide. He is Artistic Director of Fittings Multimedia Arts and was Co- Artistic Director of Birds of Paradise Theatre (BoP) from 2012 – 2018. Recent acting work includes lead characters in BBC Wales Pitching In and BBC’s Silent Witness. In theatre: Ramps on the Moon’s Our Country’s Good, Pericles at The National Theatre, White Christmas at Curve, Kiss Me Quickstep for Queens Hornchurch/Theatre Clwyd and Our Town at Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Just prior to lockdown 1 he played Arvide Abernethy in Sheffield Crucible’s Guys and Dolls and since has completed roles in a new feature film Valentines Day, a Radio 4 Drama Bartholomew Abominations and filmed theatre Christmas Tales at the Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.

Alana Dancing Star: LA Moves book reading with Arlene Phillips

In the first of Arlene Phillips’ Curve Classroom sessions, Arlene begins to read from her book Alana Dancing Star: LA Moves, all about a little girl called Alana who dreams of becoming a dancing star. In this book, Alana learns all about one of her favourite dance styles, hip-hop.

Recommended age: 7+

Arlene Phillips is a showbiz legend, honoured as a CBE for her services to dance and charity. From creating the provocative and revolutionary dance group Hot Gossip in the 1970’s to working with stars from film, TV and theatre, Arlene has become a household name. Her work includes choreographing hit West End and Broadway musicals, Hollywood films, and iconic music videos, through to her television work as a dance show judge, presenter and writer.

The acting process with Jay Varsani

In this Curve Classroom session, actor and Curve Associate Jay Varsani talks about the acting process, from finding the right mindset to preparing for an audition and his advice for getting into the industry. Jay also works through a practical exercise on how to break down a script.

Recommended age: 14+

Jay is an actor and stunt performer. He trained at East 15 Acting School. 

Recent theatre credits include: Saeed in Homing Birds (Kali Theatre); Dyer in Ralegh: The Treason Trial (Shakespeare’s Globe); Riaz in Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual (Curve). 

Theatre whilst training: Ariel in The Pillow Man; Laertes in Hamlet; Ginger in Jerusalem; Joe Keller in All My Sons and Riz in The Invisible.  

Jay has also appeared as a stunt performer in Ripper Street for Tiger Aspect Productions and BBC and as Sid in World on Fire for Mammoth Screen. 

Jay was a Spotlight Prize Nominee in 2018. 

Latin American dance with Dale White

In this session, Dale White teaches Latin American dance. Dale starts with a warm up to get the energy flowing, and then breaks down steps for the Cha Cha and Samba before putting sequences together for you to dance along. If you have always wanted to try Latin dancing, this workshop is for you. No partner is required as Dale teaches the steps for one person.

Recommended age: 10+, including dancing beginners

Most recently, Dale appeared as Big Deal and cover Riff in West Side Story (Curve, Leicester). Other theatre credits include: Eugene/Dance Captain in Grease The Musical (UK Tour) Merry Widow at the ENO, Dance Captain/Ensemble/ Cover Scott in Strictly Ballroom at the Piccadilly Theatre, Mirvish Theatre (Toronto) and West Yorkshire Playhouse directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie and also in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park; Ensemble/Resident Choreographer in Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith); Starlight Express (Bochum Germany); Jack and the Beanstalk (Hackney Empire). Workshop credits include: ‘What’s New Pussycat’ The Tom Jones Musical and Company (Elliot and Harper Productions). Dale has also performed at the Olivier Awards 2016 (Royal Opera House), Sunday Night at the Palladium and on The One Show and is a former British Ballroom and Latin Champion.

Week One

Music and Wellbeing with Jude Taylor

Jude Taylor is a composer, lyricist and writer from Leicestershire.

In this session Jude focuses on music and wellbeing. It begins with some breathing exercises and thinking about how music can help us explore and express different kinds of emotions. Jude discusses what makes a happy song sound happy (or sad song sound sad) and invites students to help him finish writing a song about happiness.

Recommended age: 10+

Jude’s first full length musical Steep Themselves in Night premiered at The Other Palace in 2018, and his most recent work Make Me Infamous was released by MP Theatricals as a radio production in 2020.

Following years of work in mental health services alongside work in the arts, Jude is particularly passionate about promoting singing for wellbeing, and gave a TEDX talk on the subject at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2019.

Script Work and Creating Characters with Djalenga Scott and Jonny Fines

Djalenga and Jonny are actors with many theatre, film and TV credits.

Djalenga and Jonny’s lesson explores how we can learn about characters through close reading of scripts and research inspired by clues in the writing. Focusing on scenes from the musical Annie, Djalenga and Jonny discuss the characters of Lily and Rooster and how they created these characters for the stage.

Recommended age: 13+

Djalenga trained at Italia Conti. Her theatre credits include Lily St. Regis in Annie (Piccadilly); Mona and Liz in Chicago (Garrick, Cambridge & Adelphi); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (New London); Beautiful and Damned (Lyric); Bombalurina in Cats (Kilworth House Theatre); Rizzo in Grease (Curve Leicester and Dubai); Anita in West Side Story (UK Tour).

Screen credits include: Beast (Agile Films); Alexandra in I Give It A Year (Studio Canal); series regular Scarlett/Esme on Trapped! (BBC).

Jonny graduated from the Guildford School of Acting 2010. Before finishing his third year Jonny was cast as Rolf in the UK Tour of The Sound of Music. He has also played Zack Mayo in Curve’s production of An Officer and a Gentleman (UK Tour), Rooster in Annie (UK Tour/Piccadilly Theatre, London) and Johnny in the first major stage adaptation of Hanif Kureshi’s Oscar nominated screenplay My Beautiful Laundrette (a Curve, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Leeds Playhouse co-production). Over the Summer Jonny has been workshopping the role of Prince Charming for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Musical, ‘Cinderella’, which opens in the West End in 2021. Jonny played Officer Jake Turley in Hollyoaks for Channel 4.

Q&A with the team behind Sunset Boulevard

In this session, find out more about musical masterpiece Sunset Boulevard from the team behind the show!

This live online pre-show talk was recorded on Wed 6 Jan as part of the streamed run of Sunset Boulevard – at Home. During the Q&A, hear insights and anecdotes from composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, writers and lyricists Don Black and Christopher Hampton, Curve’s chief executive Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster, as well as performers Ria Jones (Norma Desmond), Danny Mac (Joe Gillis), Molly Lynch (Betty Schaefer) and Adam Pearce (Max Von Mayerling).

From its original creation to our latest Made at Curve production, hear the history of the show and how our 2020 performances were filmed for audiences to watch at home.

Recommended age: 14+