Pride Amplified - how 10 students brought #DMUPride to Curve

Fri 23 Feb 2018

As part of Curve’s partnership with De Montfort University, 10 DMU students have had the unique opportunity to programme a series of productions and events at Curve to celebrate #DMUpride and LGBT History Month in Feb 2018.

Over a period of four months, the students have been embedded within Curve working with teams in the theatre to create an exciting week of work.

Here, DMU student Peta Searle writes about her experience at Curve and how the week came together.

As a student, I never believed I would have any cool opportunities until after I graduated, so imagine how excited I was when I was able to get involved in a four-month placement with Curve!

As part of a module for second year Arts and Festivals Management, Katie Whyley (one of my lecturers at De Montfort University) introduced my peers and I to a placement opportunity at Curve theatre

For this placement, we were tasked with programming a week of performances and wraparound activities for #DMUPride, and we called ourselves (and the project) – PRIDE AMPLIFIED!

The 10 DMU students involved in Curve's #DMUPride project sit on chairs in the RR2 theatre space

The 10 DMU students involved in Curve’s #DMUPride project

 

This task was incredibly daunting as we had to create something from nothing. Having to find shows, contact companies and negotiate times seemed impossible. I remember wondering how we were going to achieve everything, especially considering the high standard of shows on at Curve everyday! Since November, our Supervisor and Manager at Curve, Abi Colebrook and Alex Bliss, have been guiding us through this process and every week I have learnt something new. I never thought about how much work actually goes into theatre before! I know that’s ridiculous because of course a lot of work goes into it but it’s different when you’re actually on the inside and seeing how everything works first-hand. It’s actually kind of mad but I also love it!

The first couple of weeks of the project were spent researching production companies and looking for potential shows and activities. When we found things we liked, we pitched back to the group and on a few occasions even pitched to Suba Das, Curve’s Associate Director, and Emma Ling, Curve’s Education Associate. I had loads of fun debating with the team of placement students about which shows were the best fit for Pride Week. Eventually though, after a lot of hard work, we decided on three main shows and wraparound activities.

The main shows we decided on were:

At A Stretch

Gypsy Queen

Gypsy Queen

and still to come Saturday 24 February 7:15pm…

Polaris

Polaris

Polaris is a one-woman spoken word performance about mental health and sexual identity. We chose this as one of our main performance pieces as spoken word is a really interesting medium in which to explore something so emotional. Hannah Raymond-Cox is an award-winning poet and writer so we knew the quality of the work was going to be fantastic. This helped the decision a lot. I am also a strong advocate for spoken word as it is a beautiful form of expressing yourself.

We also arranged several wraparound activities as part of the week, these included:

After-show discussions

Gypsy Queen actors John Askew (left) and Rob Ward (right) take part in an After-Show Discussion hosted by DMU students.

Gypsy Queen actors John Askew (left) and Rob Ward (right) take part in an After-Show Discussion hosted by DMU students.

 

Lectures

DMU Professor Julie Fish presents a public discussion about the place of activism in the lives of LGBT people.

DMU Professor Julie Fish presents a public discussion about the place of activism in the lives of LGBT people.

 

A family-friendly workshop

The At A Stretch set ready for an interactive workshop in RR2

The At A Stretch set ready for an interactive workshop in RR2

 

A boxing workshop

DMU students with members of the Community Boxing Group ahead of the Boxing fitness workshop

The Community Boxing Gym hosted a fitness session at Curve inspired by Gypsy Queen.

 

Last but not least, the installation exhibition set up on the Mezzanine. Part of this is courtesy of the LGBT Centre in Leicester and it shows the fascinating history of LGBT in Leicester. There are sound boxes that contain recordings of interviews with LGBT people as well as interesting information and facts about prominent individuals. It is a fantastic installation and definitely worth a look! It will be up during Pride Week (which starts on the 19th Feb) and the week after.

This is a major achievement and it will take me far in my professional life because now I can say I have experience of programming shows at Curve, a state-of-the-art theatre! It’s so important that there are opportunities like this out there as it means that students can get real, hands-on experience of whichever field they might want to work in and get to know their strengths and weaknesses and learn the tricks of the trade early. This gives us a major boost in the creative industries and I am so ready to use everything I have learnt in the future.

The #DMUPride students at a performance of Curve's Christmas production of Scrooge the Musical.

The #DMUPride students at a performance of Curve’s Christmas production of Scrooge the Musical.

Whilst doing this placement, I have been considering my option for where to work in the future and I am still uncertain of the outcome. The role of the Artistic Director inspires me and if I were to work in a theatre production company, I’d want to be even half as good as Nikolai Foster is now. Until my ultimate ambition is realised though, I am perfectly happy muddling through and taking every opportunity I possibly can.

http://www.curveonline.co.uk/get-involved/dmupride/

Keep up to date with what our Pride Amplified is doing on our social media channels:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pride-Amplified-1919171778411692/4

Twitter: https://twitter.com/prideamplified?lang=en

Take Pride,

Peta