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From Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 March Leicester’s Curve theatre will present its annual New Work Festival, celebrating talent from across the Midlands. Over the course of four days, over 30 artists and arts organisations will showcase new plays, musicals, dance and spoken word pieces.
The festival will include the Midlands premiere of Katie Arnstein’s Sticky Door (Saturday 12 March), a five-star storytelling show with songs about sex, stigma and cystitis – ★★★★★ “Plays as good as this are rare” (The Reviewers Hub).
Beccy D’Souza, producer of Sticky Door, said:
“We’re super excited to bring Sticky Door to Curve for its regional premiere. Sticky Door premiered at VAULT 2020, just before…well you know… and has since had a short run at Pleasance London in August 2021, but this is the first time we’ll be performing it in the Midlands. As a Midlands writer and performer and an East Midlands producer we’re really happy to be performing our first show of the year at Curve.
“We love the East Midlands crowd and we’re looking forward to bringing some Katie Arnstein flavour to the New Work Festival, which we are sure will be full of fabulous Midlands talent.”
Shortlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Playwriting, Nicole Acquah’s Sankofa (Saturday 12 March) weaves together live music, storytelling and traditional pottery in a semi-autobiographical show about legacy, heritage and what it means to belong as part of the African diaspora.
Leicester-based writer, director and multidisciplinary artist Carol Leeming MBE returns to Curve with theatre company Dare to Diva’s production The Dreadful Dance of Ms Iniquity (Thursday 10 March), a choreopoem by a fictional Black woman based on real events.
Carol Leeming said:
“Dare to Diva Company are absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the New Work Festival 2022 at Curve, an important festival to platform exciting new work for audiences, in Leicester my home town, and the wider Midlands region.”
Curve Resident Creatives Tina Hofman and Jude Taylor will both feature as part of the line-up. The Notnow Collective’s Pepper and Honey (Thursday 10 March) is a drama about the meaning of home complete with live Croatian biscuit baking, performed by Tina Hofman. On Friday 11 March, audiences can see Jude Taylor’s Is He Musical?, a new musical comedy inspired by the true stories of queer friends in 1930s London, produced by MPTheatricals. Curve Associate Company Nupur Arts will close the festival on Sunday 13 March with Dance Dhamaka 2022, a showcase of vibrant Indian dance performed by over 120 young people from across Leicester and Leicestershire.
Closed captioning via The Difference Engine will be available on selected events throughout the festival.
The festival will also feature work-in-progress presentations as part of a Scratch Night on Friday 11 March and rehearsed readings of Dilan Raithatha’s Little India (Saturday 12 March) and Emma-Louise Howell’s Patterns (Friday 11 March).
Patterns writer Emma-Louise Howell said:
“Leicester Curve was the first professional stage I stepped onto as a 12 year old, for it to be home to my first professional play as a writer feels like something really quite special.”
Over the four days audiences will also be able to enjoy a programme of free entertainment from local artists on Curve’s New Work Festival Foyer Stage, including poetry, DJ sets, dance, live music and more.
Curve will also host a variety of workshops during the festival, including playwriting with Royal Court commissioned playwright Emteaz Hussain and artist surgeries with Midlands creative and business development programme In Good Company. Curve Resident Creatives Emmerson & Ward and Burnt Lemon Theatre will lead workshops on producing and how to set-up a theatre company.
Whilst the festival will be based at Curve in Leicester, audiences anywhere will be able to engage digitally in select activities on offer, including an online workshop from Pleasance Theatre on how to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as a new digital theatre piece from Proto-Type Theater.
Speaking about the festival, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:
“It is two years since we presented our New Work Festival and we are thrilled it returns this spring, better and bolder than ever, with a fantastically talented group of artists from across our region.
“Over the past two years we have continued to work closely with our Curve Resident Creatives and local artists, and we are overjoyed to showcase their work with a season of new plays, music, events and readings, which are guaranteed to be entertaining, thought-provoking and ultimately inspiring.
“Now more than ever we need to support new work, so do join us, try something new and support this incredible team of artists, director and writers.”
Tickets for all performances and workshops as part of Curve’s New Work Festival are now bookable. To find out more, call Curve’s Box Office on 0116 242 3595 or click here.