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Leicester’s Curve theatre has released the latest episode of its Curve in Conversation podcast, a look ahead at this autumn’s line-up of productions including interviews with multi-award winning master of mind control Derren Brown, actor Sharan Phull and director Anthony Almeida.
In this episode, Martin speaks with the winner of the 2019 Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) Sir Peter Hall Director Award, Anthony Almeida, about the upcoming Made at Curve production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
Originally scheduled to run last year, Anthony discusses how he has continued to work on ideas with designer Rosanna Vize and how their plans are set to challenge preconceptions of the drama.
“If you Google image Cat on a Hot Tin Roof you’ll see pictures of beds, you’ll see pictures of fans in the ceiling, balconies where everyone walks upstairs. We’ve become used to assumptions of how this play is done and how this play is seen”, explains Anthony, noting – without giving away any spoilers – that the design they have now arrived at “feels so much more electric”.
Speaking about the themes of the drama, from loneliness and anxiety to distrust and menacity, Anthony also says “it feels that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a story for now. Tennessee Williams is asking those questions about how do we as people – trying to go about our daily lives and just get through the day – how do we survive when we’re confronted by these questions?”
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof will run at Curve this autumn, Fri 3 to Sat 18 September. Supported by grant funding from the RTST, the drama is a Made at Curve, English Touring Theatre (ETT) and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse co-production, which will embark on a national tour following performances at Curve.
Derren Brown will visit Curve for the first time this autumn with performances of Showman (Tue 19 to Sat 23 October). In the podcast, he also explains how events of the last 16 months have shaped the plans for his new tour.
“It’s been interesting to return to it because on the one hand I’m going to rewrite a few aspects, but on the other hand we’ve all leaned into precisely the feeling the show was about at its heart”, says Derren, “it’s certainly a time for shared vulnerabilities and that’s a good thing.”
As with all of Derren Brown’s performances, the content of Showman is and will remain a closely guarded secret – even after each show. “I’ve always sworn the audience to secrecy and people have done that” says Derren, adding, “I never really know until I’m out on stage for the first night whether these things will work!”
Finally in this episode of Curve in Conversation, Martin speaks with Leicester-based actor Sharan Phull, who will visit the theatre Mon 20 to Sat 25 September in the tour of smash-hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Sharan first appeared on-stage in the theatre’s Community productions and says Curve “is like a second home to me because I was able to build my career there after I left university”, she continues, “they did a lot for me and they acted as a stepping stone for me into the industry. It’s full of people who are so passionate about making it a wonderful space for artists, for audiences – it’s such a good community of people.”
Sharan has previously appeared in Made at Curve productions of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Pink Sari Revolution and Scrooge the Musical, and she recently returned to the stage as part of Curve’s socially distanced reopening season in Am Dram: A Musical Comedy.
In Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Sharan will play Pritti Pasha, Jamie New’s best friend. “She’s such a rock to Jamie on his journey of discovery and she’s got a real heart of gold”, explains Sharan, adding “what I love so much about it is the heart of the show is so uplifting and it’s got so many positive messages. Especially coming out of the pandemic, it’s so important to celebrate people coming together again.”
Released on the final Thursday of every month, the Curve in Conversation podcast takes audiences behind-the-scenes of Leicester’s Curve theatre and is hosted by former BBC Radio Leicester presenter Martin Ballard. Episodes are available to listen to and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud.
To find out more about productions coming soon to Curve and to book tickets now, click here.