Curve in Conversation: Nikolai Foster on big Made at Curve news, and conversations with Samantha Womack and Tanya Agarwal

Thu 30 Sep 2021

September’s episode of podcast Curve in Conversation from Leicester’s Curve theatre is now available to download.

In this month’s episode, Samantha Womack speaks about her role as the evil White Witch in the upcoming tour of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Curve Resident Creative and Burnt Lemon Theatre producer Tanya Agarwal speaks about new musical Tokyo Rose, and the theatre’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster tells listeners more about exciting news at Curve.

September saw two major Made at Curve announcements; the full company of Christmas production A Chorus Line and the news that Curve is set to stage the first new UK production of Billy Elliot the Musical in summer 2022, both of which are set to be directed by Nikolai Foster.

“They’re literally going to blow the roof off”, Nikolai says about the cast of A Chorus Line, describing the line-up – which includes Carly Mercedes Dyer (Anything Goes, The Color Purple – at Home, West Side Story) as Cassie and Adam Cooper (Singin’ in the Rain, Swan Lake) as Zach – as a “Rolls Royce” casting, adding “I’m overwhelmed at the prospect of working with somebody who has changed the course of history with their art in the way that Adam Cooper did.” The legendary smash-hit musical A Chorus Line will run at Curve this Christmas from 3 to 31 December and tickets are on sale now.

Nikolai also talks about how it feels to be able to create a new production of Billy Elliot the Musical at Curve, saying “For Stephen [Daldry] and the team at Working Title to give Curve the rights to present the first brand new production of Billy Elliot in the UK is a really momentous moment in the history of our theatre”.

In the episode, Nikolai speaks about his plans to meet people connected with the mining community of Easington Colliery in County Durham in the 80s, noting “it’s so important the representation of this history is accurate and is presented with real integrity.” Tickets for Billy Elliot the Musical at Curve will go on sale to Curve Friends from Thursday 30 September, Supporters from Friday 1 October, Members, Groups and Access Register Customers from Monday 4 October and on general sale from Monday 11 October.

From Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 October, the theatre will welcome Curve Resident Creatives Burnt Lemon Theatre with new musical Tokyo Rose, the story of Japanese American wartime disc jockey Iva Toguri who was charged with treason for allegedly broadcasting Axis propaganda to the Allied Forces in the Pacific. “If you saw [the story] in a movie you wouldn’t believe it”, explains Tanya Agarwal, Burnt Lemon Theatre’s producer. Iva spent over six years in prison before being released on parole in 1956, later receiving a presidential pardon in 1977. “She’s kind of a secret hero and she doesn’t get credit for that work”, says Tanya.

Burnt Lemon Theatre seeks to amplify women’s voices and marginalised stories with its work and Tanya describes the music of Tokyo Rose as “really catchy, poppy and electric” with “influences from Japanese classical music.”

Tokyo Rose is touring England this autumn and as Curve Resident Creatives, Tanya notes “I don’t think we would have the confidence to go on this tour if it wasn’t for the support of [Curve] and our two other associateships with Birmingham Hippodrome and MAST Southampton.”

Also featured in this episode of Curve in Conversation is star of stage and screen Samantha Womack, who was recently revealed as the White Witch in the upcoming tour of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is set to open at Curve Tuesday 2 to Saturday 13 November.

“It’s a really wonderful way to get back to work because it feels celebratory of the theatre”, Samantha says of the show, which features an array of puppetry, dance and actor-musicians. On portraying Narnia’s evil White Witch, Samantha says “the Queen starts off almost as a 1920s movie star while she’s still in control and in power. She starts to melt throughout the production and becomes a bit like a war-lord, she suddenly starts to become quite feral and pagan and that’s something we’re working on with the designers at the moment”.

Tickets for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Curve are on sale now.

Hosted by former BBC Radio Leicester presenter Martin Ballard, Curve in Conversation is a monthly podcast which takes audiences behind-the-scenes of Leicester’s Curve theatre. To listen to this episode in full and subscribe now, visit Apple PodcastsSpotify and Soundcloud.