Plans announced for funds raised by Sir Ian McKellen

Tue 17 Sep 2019


Curve has revealed plans to enable even more people to access the theatre, thanks to over £30,000 raised by legendary actor Ian McKellen at special performances earlier this year.

In celebration of his 80th birthday, Ian McKellen has visited theatres across the UK with a new solo show, raising money towards projects at each venue. As part of the tour McKellen performed in Curve’s Studio space 1 & 2 Jun.

Proceeds will allow Curve to partner with local charities Vista, Charity Link and Age UK to offer complimentary tickets for people who might not otherwise be able to attend a performance.

Leicestershire and Rutland’s leading charity for people with sight loss, Vista, will receive up to 200 tickets for One Under, a Graeae and Theatre Royal Plymouth co-production presented in association with Curve. The specially adapted drama features creative captioning and audio description at every performance.

Shilpa Gokani, Marketing and Communications Manager of Vista, said:

“Talking to the people we support, we know that some of them have felt left out in the past, not able to visit places and enjoy the same things as their friends due to a lack of accessibility. Curve has, however, always been a place where they’ve felt welcomed and accommodated, with their touch tours and audio description.

“This gift of 200 tickets for the accessible performances is absolutely wonderful. Not everyone who wants to attend accessible theatre has always been able to afford them previously or felt confident to attend, and our members are already excited about the shows. I hope that it will give them the confidence to see theatre more frequently and visit the Curve whenever they can.”

In 2018 Curve partnered with Charity Link, an organisation set up to support vulnerable people and families across Leicester Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire, by providing free of charge tickets to Made at Curve productions of The Cat in the Hat or White Christmas. In continuation of this partnership, Curve will be donating an entire performance of its Christmas production for children and families, Giraffes Can’t Dance. A Curve, Rose Theatre Kingston and Simon Friend production Giraffes Can’t Dance will run in Curve’s Studio from Mon 9 Dec – Tue 31 Dec.

Susan McEniff, Director of Charity Link, says:

“After partnering with Curve last December to offer a magical Christmas experience to hundreds of local people, I had the pleasure of hearing first-hand what a huge difference a festive theatre trip can make to local families at what can be a really tough time of the year.”

“We are delighted to be working with Curve again to help brighten Christmas for even more vulnerable families, many of whom may never have experienced live theatre before.  Whilst Charity Link works to ensure that everyone has the basics in life, such as enough food to eat and a warm safe place to sleep, the benefits of being able to escape the hardship of daily life for a while, to dream and be inspired should not to be underestimated, particularly for children.”

Curve was the second theatre in the UK to present and regularly programme Dementia Friendly performances. In partnership with Age UK Leicester and other local dementia projects and organisations, Curve will provide up to 300 complimentary tickets for the Dementia Friendly production of West Side Story on Wed 8 Jan 2020. This performance will see those living with dementia and their families and friends enjoying the festive season in a supportive and specially adapted environment. The Made at Curve production of West Side Story is directed by Nikolai Foster and runs 23 Nov 2019 – 11 Jan 2020.

Tony Donovan, Executive Director from Age UK, said:

“We are very grateful to Curve for giving many of our service users and their family members the opportunity to attend a relaxed, dementia-friendly performance of West Side Story free of charge. To be able to go to the theatre and not worry if a family member becomes restless, relieves any anxieties that may have previously deterred people from being able to enjoy a live performance.”

Chris Stafford, Chief Executive and Nikolai Foster Artistic Director at Curve said today:

“It was a great honour to welcome Ian McKellen to Curve; Ian was incredibly generous during his visit and took the time to learn about what we do here and how the money raised from his performances will benefit our communities. It was deeply humbling and moving to see this extraordinary actor perform on our stage and astonish us with his breath-taking brilliance.”