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Leicester’s Curve theatre has published a brochure reflecting on a year like no other – a story of survival, resilience and ingenuity.
Whilst the theatre’s doors have remained closed to audiences since 16 March 2020, Curve has continued to innovate, engage with communities and support those in the industry. Throughout the year, Curve has created and shared more than 250 digital assets, including its Curve in Conversation series of in-depth interviews with leading theatre-makers, free to view archive recordings of Made at Curve productions and educational Curve Classroom sessions to support home-schooling and lifelong learning, created as a direct response to the needs of teachers and parents during lockdown. In total, Curve’s digital work received over 650,000 interactions across more than 120 countries.
The theatre also created acclaimed streamed productions of musicals Sunset Boulevard and The Color Purple for audiences to enjoy at home. These performances were seen by 35,000 people. Over the course of the year, Curve employed 268 freelancers and remained connected with its Curve Youth and Community Companies, delivering more than 160 online classes.
As lockdown began the theatre made over £10,000 available to local artists and community groups and throughout 2020, Curve commissioned and supported its associate artists and organisations including theatre company Sheep Soup, Nupur Arts Dance Academy and poet Jess Green.
Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster commented:
“When we closed our doors last March, we could never have imagined the building would still be closed over a year later. The sense of loss and sadness at all the things that have been postponed and cancelled over the past 12 months is immeasurable. However, like our city, Team Curve are a resilient group of people and from the moment we were plunged into lockdown, we were determined to make the very best out of every challenge thrown our way. We have always believed passionately that everyone who lives, works or learns in our city should have access to great art and culture, and faced with the devastation of the pandemic it seemed more important than ever we should do everything possible to remain connected to our audiences, communities, young people and artists.
“We are indebted to our principal funders Arts Council England and Leicester City Council, the DCMS Culture Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for supporting Curve throughout the pandemic. If it wasn’t for this crucial investment in Curve, as well as the unwavering support from our audiences and communities, the theatre simply wouldn’t be here today.
“There are challenging times ahead, but working together we know Curve will come through this pandemic stronger and more ambitious than ever before. We look forward to reopening our doors later this month and sharing live performance with our audiences once again!”
Curve is currently preparing to safely reopen with a special socially distanced season which will include two nights of new work curated by Curve Resident Creatives and local artists (21 – 22 May), Curve Associate Artist, celebrated dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra will return to the stage with Rising (24 – 25 May); comedy musical AmDram from Alex Parker and Katie Lam (27 – 29 May) and from 7 – 19 June Nikolai Foster will direct a spectacular concert production celebrating the life and extraordinary music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Tickets are available to purchase now and more information can be found online at www.curveonline.co.uk.
Read Curve’s A Year In Review document in full below.