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The latest episode of Curve in Conversation, the podcast from Leicester’s Curve theatre, is now available and features interviews with stage favourite Jodie Prenger, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof actors Siena Kelly and Oliver Johnstone, as well as community member poetry readings.
August has seen the first Made at Curve drama, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, enter into rehearsals since 2019’s production of Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette. In this episode host Martin Ballard listens in on rehearsals for Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning piece.
Directed by the 2019 Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) Sir Peter Hall Director Award winner Anthony Almeida – who spoke about the play in July’s episode – performances are set to begin at Curve from 3 to 18 September, before touring.
During the episode Martin speaks with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof cast members Siena Kelly (Maggie) and Oliver Johnstone (Brick). “We want to acknowledge the piece’s popularity but we also want it to feel like a new play,” says Oliver. “You never go into a project thinking about how people have played these roles before, you go into it thinking ‘this is my version’ and we’re presenting our attitudes towards family, greed, mental health and love, very much for now.”
Speaking about the rehearsal process, Siena comments that “it does feel really creative and really fun and, looking into it so much, I definitely see why this is one of the greatest plays ever written.”
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a Curve, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and English Touring Theatre (ETT) co-production, supported by grant funding from the RTST.
This episode of Curve in Conversation includes poetry readings by community members Lyd Arlo and Rivka Miller. Curve’s Community Creative Writing Challenge, launched earlier this summer, saw budding local writers work with celebrated Leicester poets Mr Shay and Ty’rone Haughton, to create pieces to celebrate the diversity, resilience and uniqueness of the city’s communities over the last year.
The poems created during the project and submitted by community members are now on display at Curve this summer, alongside a filmed piece by award-winning local poet Jess Green and recordings of performances from Curve’s Young Dance Company and Associate Artists. The project has been inspired by Leicester City Council’s ‘We’ve Missed You’ campaign and its ‘By the Clock Tower’ poem, written by Arch Creative co-founder Joe Nixon – the focus of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Re-opening High Streets Safely programme of activity.
Finally in this episode, Martin Ballard talks to Curve favourite Jodie Prenger about her upcoming return to the theatre as part of the tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s musical, Tell Me on a Sunday.
A one-woman show, Jodie plays Emma, a young English girl in New York in the heady days of the 1980s. “She always stays positive”, says Jodie, “she goes through so much but she comes out and she battles on and I think it almost matches, mirror-like, to what we’ve all gone through with the pandemic. We kept getting knocked down, but we got up.”
Jodie also speaks about returning to the role she previously played in 2016, saying “it’s really interesting from a performer’s point of view to revisit a part because I think you find so much more in it, you develop – more like a fine wine than a fungus!”
Tickets for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Tell Me on a Sunday are on sale now and can be booked online at www.curveonline.co.uk, over the phone by calling 0116 242 3595 or in person at Curve’s Box Office (10am – 6pm, Monday to Saturday).