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The latest episode of Curve in Conversation is now live, featuring interviews with internationally renowned choreographer and director Akram Khan, award-winning writer, historian and journalist Selina Mills, and writer, performer and Curve Creative Programmes Practitioner Chandni Mistry.
Hosted by former BBC Radio Leicester presenter Martin Ballard, the podcast takes listeners behind-the-scenes at Curve to find out more about the work that takes place both on and off the theatre’s stages.
From Saturday 2 to Saturday 9 April, Curve will present the world premiere of Curve Associate Artist Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined, a new dance-theatre production based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic tales, co-produced by Curve. In this episode, Khan explains how it feels to be making his directorial debut and how this adaptation will present the journey of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee. “I wanted to make something that did not neglect what’s happening in the world today”, he says, “to tell it in a way that’s more magical, that could connect with young children”.
Speaking about what drew him to reinvent the tales of The Jungle Book for this new piece, Khan says, “I was looking for a context of what narrative could I deal with that would involve climate change and my concerns about it through my medium – which is dance – so, Jungle Book seemed the closest thing because I’m so familiar with it”.
Akram Khan Company’s production isn’t the only world premiere to take place at Curve in April, as Graeae Theatre Company presents The Paradis Files from Friday 8 to Saturday 9 April. Produced in partnership with Curve, this newly commissioned chamber opera tells the forgotten true story of ‘The Blind Enchantress’, Maria-Theresia von Paradis.
“She was blind since a very early age, and she was a great success in her time and yet we don’t know much about her”, says Selina Mills, co-librettist and originator of the idea for the production. A contemporary – and alleged lover – of Mozart, Paradis captivated Europe with her sensational musical talent but her story has been mostly lost to history, until now.
The Paradis Files will feature a company of Deaf, disabled, neurodivergent and non-disabled singers, actors and creatives. Speaking about the importance of shining a spotlight on Paradis, Mills says, “actually showing that a blind woman in the eighteenth century can be successful, tells a modern person – a modern blind woman – you can do it”.
This summer Curve is set to mark the 50th anniversary of the Ugandan Asian exodus with a new Made at Curve community production, Finding Home: Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50. The production will include three new short plays written by local writers Chandni Mistry, Ashok Patel and Dilan Raithatha, whose families arrived in the UK from Uganda.
In this episode, Chandni Mistry – who also works at Curve as a Creative Programmes Practitioner – talks about how the production aims to bring Leicester’s communities together to reflect on the journey of the Ugandan Asians and their contribution to the city. “We can have different members from different communities all coming together”, she says, “hopefully making friends as well as creating and performing these stories that are resonant to a Leicester audience because these are the stories of people in Leicester”.
Curve is now looking for members of the community to take part in the production, with auditions taking place early in April. No experience is necessary and opportunities to take part are available both on stage and behind-the-scenes. To find out more, visit www.curveonline.co.uk/get-involved/finding-home-leicesters-ugandan-asian-story-at-50/ or email [email protected]
Tickets for Finding Home: Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50 will be on sale soon and tickets for Jungle Book reimagined and The Paradis Files are on-sale now. For further information and to book, visit www.curveonline.co.uk, call 0116 242 3595 or visit Curve’s Box Office in-person.