Curve announces rehearsed reading of Raisin in the Sun and programme of events to mark Black History Month

Thu 30 Sep 2021

Curve theatre in Leicester has announced plans to share a rehearsed reading of A Raisin in the Sun as part of a programme of events to mark Black History Month.

In partnership with Curve Associate Company Serendipity and supported by Leicester-based music licensing company PPL PRS, on Tuesday 26 October the theatre will present a rehearsed reading of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark drama A Raisin in the Sun. The reading will be followed by a special BlackChat after-show discussion led by Serendipity, with reflections on the role playwrights across the world have had in sharing stories of Black lived experiences. Directed by Amanda Bright, full casting for A Raisin in the Sun at Curve will be announced in due course.

It’s the late 1950s and the African-American Younger family live in poverty in a small apartment in Chicago’s south side. When Lena, the family’s matriarch, receives her late husband’s life insurance pay-out, she hopes to use it to buy a bigger house in a white neighbourhood, whilst her son Walter dreams of using the money to build his own business, and daughter Beneatha hopes to become a doctor. Can the family’s dreams of a ‘better’ life be achieved in the face of racial prejudice and inequalities?

On Friday 22 October, Curve will host Reckoning, a film and live performance piece which blends contemporary dance, spoken word and digital animation. Created by Choreographer and Storyteller Akeim Toussaint Buck, Filmmaker Ashley Karrell, Animator Benedetta Fasson and Writer Mandla Rae, Reckoning tells the stories of refugees in their own words, created from the Reckoning with Refugeedom archives. Produced by ArtReach, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Creative Europe as part of Liberty EU, and supported by Manchester University, Reckoning will be a ‘Pay What You Can’ performance, with no set ticket price.

Curve Associate Company Kainé will also present two choir showcases as part of Black History Month at Curve. Better Together on Tuesday 12 October will see the culmination of a project led by Kainé over the summer, linking intergenerational groups to research, record and share experiences of the Windrush generation, young migrants and people of Black heritage. The showcase will celebrate this project, including presentations, spoken word and performances of African and Caribbean songs.

On Thursday 28 October, Kainé will present Yes You Can, a showcase of talented young Black people who have participated in the organisation’s programmes this year. As well as performances and awards for participants, the event will also include a discussion on the findings of the Black Lives Matter Leicester Peer Research, focusing on the experiences of 16 – 18 year olds of Black heritage in Leicester and the changes they would like to see in the city.

Speaking about the programme, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We are proud to be collaborating once again with our friends at Serendipity, to present this series of events to celebrate Black History Month at Curve. The centrepiece of our contribution to this vitally important series of events is a reading of arguably one of the greatest plays ever written; Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is a milestone of contemporary drama, combining a fiercely political response to the injustices suffered by the African American community, through this devastatingly moving and powerful portrait of the Younger family.

“We are pleased to welcome director Amanda Bright to Curve, who has assembled a fantastic cast for the reading. This will be followed by a BlackChat talk back, hosted by Pawlet Brookes. We are incredibly grateful to Pawlet and her team at Serendipity for hosting these events with us and to our sponsors PPL PRS, whose generous support has made the reading of A Raisin in the Sun possible.”

Serendipity Chief Executive and Artistic Director Pawlet Brookes said:

“We are delighted to be working with Curve for Black History Month programme this year as part of the programme across Leicester.  When Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun first appeared on Broadway it broke barriers, addressing the racial and gender issues that are as relevant today as they were in the 1950s.”

Tickets for all performances in Curve’s Black History Month programme are now on sale and can be booked online at Curve’s website, by calling 0116 242 3595 or by visiting the theatre’s Box Office in-person.

“A Raisin in the Sun” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.