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T’Shan Williams Cast As ‘Celie’ in Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s Production Of ‘The Color Purple’ & First Look Imagery

The first images of Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s production of Tony Award-winning Broadway production The Color Purplehave been released, with T’Shan Williams set to take the role of Celie.

The regional UK premiere will play at Curve, Leicester from 28th June – 13th July, followed by 16th – 20th July at Birmingham Hippodrome, with a national press night at Curve on Wednesday 3rd July at 7pm.

T’Shan Williams joins the cast as heroine Celie. T’Shan’s previous credits include Heather Duke in Heathers The Musical (Theatre Royal, Haymarket & The Other Palace); Caroline, or Change (Hampstead Theatre) and Queen in The Life (Southwark Playhouse) for which she won the Off-West End award for Best Female in a Musical.

She joins the previously announced cast including Joanna Francis as Shug Avery, Ako Mitchell as Mister, Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Mister’s son Harpo, Karen Mavundukure as his wife Sophia, Danielle Fiamanya as Celie’s sister Nettie and Delroy Brown as Pa.

The cast is completed by Geoff AymerOwen ChapondaPerola Congo, KM Drew Boateng, Danielle KassaratéAnelisa LamolaRosemary Annabella NkrumahJochebel Ohene MacCarthyLandi Oshinowo and Jo Servi.

Directed by Tinuke CraigThe Color Purple is filled with a soul-raising musical score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. The landmark musical, from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel, classic hit film and Tony Award-winning production on Broadway, follows heroine Celie as she discovers her own identity and power over the course of 40 years in 19th century southern America. 

Creative Team

Director Tinuke Craig
Set & Costume Designer Alex Lowde
Musical Supervisor and Musical Director Alex Parker
Orchestrator Martin Higgins
Choreographer Mark Smith
Lighting Designer Joshua Pharo
Sound Designer Tom Marshall
Hair & Make-up Designer Cynthia De La Rosa
Casting Director Kay Magson CDG
Co-producers Birmingham Hippodrome

Curve (Leicester) Announce New Co-Production Of Hanif Kureishi’s ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’

My Beautiful Laundrette_Tour

CurveBelgrade Theatre Coventry, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham and Leeds Playhouse have today announced that they are joining forces to co-produce a new stage production of Hanif Kureishi’s screenplay My Beautiful LaundretteThe national press night will be held at Curve on 26 Sep at 7:15pm.

This bold new production of Hanif Kureishi‘s ground-breaking 1985 Oscar-nominated film of the same name will be directed by Curve’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster (Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual and Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw, both at Curve). Presented against a funky backdrop of 80s music and culture, this drama will explore cultural conflict, gender equality, class and generational strife.

The production will open at Curve in Leicester 20 Sep – 5 Oct, before touring to Everyman Theatre Cheltenham (8 – 12 Oct), Leeds Playhouse (15 – 26 Oct), Belgrade Theatre Coventry (29 Oct – 2 Nov) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre (5 – 9 Nov).

Set in London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Laundrette tells the story of young British Pakistani, Omar, who transforms his Uncle’s run-down laundrette into a thriving business. After being confronted by a fascist gang, Omar recognises school-friend Johnny and uses their history to diffuse the situation. As they renovate the laundrette together, love blossoms between them. This culture clash comedy is also a subversive work of social realism, sprinkled with magic and joy running through the rich veins of Kureishi’s writing.

Speaking about the announcement, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said

“We are thrilled to be presenting Hanif Kureshi’s astonishing adaptation of his Oscar-nominated film My Beautiful Laundrette.

“Hanif surfs a multitude of strikingly relevant issues in his 1985 masterpiece – from the journey of the immigrant, English working class society, women’s roles in the family and the results of Thatcher’s policies. Kureishi does all of this with bucketloads of wit, openness, compassion and a sense of mischief at the absurdity of it all.

“We are looking forward to working with Hanif and our partners at Leeds Playhouse, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Everyman Theatre Cheltenham very much.”

Hamish Glen, Artistic Director of Belgrade Theatre Coventry said:

“We’re really pleased to be continuing our ongoing partnership with Curve after the success of our previous co-productions Wipers and Pink Sari RevolutionMy Beautiful Laundrette forms part of our ongoing efforts to reach and retain new audiences, and with the support of our co-producers, we hope to strengthen the relationships we have already begun to develop with the Midlands’ diverse communities, particularly as Coventry moves towards its year as UK City of Culture in 2021.”

Everyman Theatre Cheltenham Chief Executive Mark Goucher said:

 “The 1985 film had a tremendous effect on me. It was radical, moving and very funny. The film launched the career of Daniel Day Lewis and made gay men of any race or class feel empowered and less frightened at a very difficult time. My theatre is delighted to be part of producing this exciting stage adaptation.”

Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said:

“It’s really exciting to include the first major production of this contemporary classic as part of the first season in the newly refurbished Playhouse. The film broke new ground when it was released but its story still feels like a powerful and important statement about love, community and humanity. We are delighted to be co-producing with some excellent partners and sharing this incredible story with audiences throughout the UK.”

Further details and casting will be announced in due course.

Creative Team

Director – Nikolai Foster
Designer 
– Grace Smart
Lighting Designer – Ben Cracknell
Sound Designer – Tom Marshall
Casting Director – Kay Magson CDG

Tour Listings:

 

Curve, Leicester
20 Sep – 5 Oct
www.curveonline.co.uk
Tickets on-sale from 16 Apr

Everyman Theatre Cheltenham
8 – 12 Oct
www.everymantheatre.org.uk
Tickets on-sale soon

Leeds Playhouse
15 – 26 Oct
www.leedsplayhouse.org.uk
Tickets on-sale from 15 Apr

Belgrade Theatre Coventry
29 Oct – 2 Nov
www.belgrade.co.uk
Tickets on-sale soon

Birmingham Repertory Theatre
5 – 9 Nov
www.birmingham-rep.co.uk
Tickets on-sale soon

Casting Announced For The Color Purple – Curve (Leicester) and Birmingham Hippodrome Co-Production

The Color Purple
The Color Purple

The Color Purple

Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome today announced the full casting for their co-production of Oprah Winfrey’s hit Broadway musical, The Color Purple, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. The production, the first to be created outside of London in the UK, will play at Curve, Leicester from 28th June – 13th July, followed by 16th – 20th July at Birmingham Hippodrome, with a national press night at Curve on Wednesday 3rd July at 7pm.

 Leading the cast is Seyi Omooba in the role of heroine Celie. Her theatre credits include Hadestown (National Theatre); Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors (Regent’s Park); Martha in Spring Awakening(Hope Mill Theatre) and Tilly in Junkyard (Bristol Old Vic and UK Tour). She also played the role of Nettie in the Cadogan Hall production of The Color Purple.

Joining Seyi is Joanna Francis who plays jazz singer and preacher’s daughter, Shug Avery. Most recently Joanna played the role of Lois in Dusty (UK Tour). Joanna returns to Curve following alternating the role of Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act in 2016. Her other credits include Elsa in The Harder They Come (Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Barbican Theatre/Birmingham Hippodrome) and alternate Dionne in Hair (The Vaults).

Following his recent roles of The Dryer and The Bus in the critically acclaimed Caroline or Change (Chichester, Hampstead and West End), Ako Mitchell joins The Color Purple as Celie’s abusive husband, Mister. His other theatre credits include Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys And Dolls (Manchester Royal Exchange), Eddie Mackrel in The Wild Party (The Other Place Theatre), Brooks in Grey Gardens(Southwark Playhouse), How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Royal Festival Hall), Mitch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Donmar Warehouse), Eddie in Sister Act (London Palladium) and Mufasa in The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre).

They are joined by Simon-Anthony Rhoden (Lola in Kinky Boots – Adelphi Theatre), who plays Mister’s son, Harpo and Karen Mavundukure, who plays his wife, Sofia (Effie White in Dream Girls – Savoy Theatre).

Celie’s sister, Nettie, is played by recent graduate Danielle Fiamanya, and her father (Pa) is played by Delroy Brown (Marty Madison in Dream Girls – Savoy Theatre).

The cast is completed by Geoff AymerOwen ChapondaPerola Congo, KM Drew Boateng, Danielle KassaratéAnelisa LamolaRosemary Annabella NkrumahJochebel Ohene MacCarthyLandi Oshinowo and Jo Servi.

The show will be directed by Tinuke Craig, winner of the 2014 Genesis Future Directors Award. Tinuke’s recent credits include random/generations, a double bill of plays by Debbie Tucker Green at Chichester Festival Theatre and I Call my Brothers by Jonas Hassen Khemiri at the Gate Theatre.

The Color Purple is an unforgettable story told over the course of 40 years, which follows courageous heroine Celie, as she journeys through joy, despair, anguish and hope in her own personal awakening to discover her unique voice in the world.

With a profoundly evocative score drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this moving family chronicle set in racially divided southern America, celebrates life, love and the strength to stand up for who you are and what you believe in.

Speaking about the announcement, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“Curve’s casting director Kay Magson and director Tinuke Craig have assembled an exceptional group of actors to create this Made at Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome co-production of the stunning musical The Color Purple. We are looking forward to welcoming them all to Leicester very much and know they will create something true, mind-blowing and beautiful.

 “Seyi Omooba is an actress of immense power and she leads a formidable ensemble of astonishing talent; they are set to blow the roof off Leicester.”

Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome said:

“We’re very proud to be working on this co-production with our friends at Curve Leicester, and hope it’s the start of many more collaborations.  I know that our audiences here in the West Midlands will find the powerful story and characters both socially and culturally relevant; and what an incredible cast and creative team has been assembled to tell it.  I can’t think of a better way to mark the Hippodrome’s 120thbirthday than with our first main stage co-production.”

 Creative Team

Director Tinuke Craig

Set & Costume Designer Alex Lowde

Musical Supervisor Alex Parker

Orchestrator Martin Higgins

Choreographer Mark Smith

Lighting Designer Joshua Pharo

Sound Designer Tom Marshall

Hair & Make-up Designer Cynthia De La Rosa

Casting Director Kay Magson CDG

Co-producers Birmingham Hippodrome

 Tickets for The Color Purple are on sale. Further details can be found online on www.curveonline.co.uk or www.birminghamhippodrome.com.

Curve, The Lowry and Bristol Old Vic Ferment lead the way with new programme for artists of colour

Three of the UK’s leading theatres have joined forces to create the Naseem Khan Commissions, an ambitious new initiative to support artists of colour.

Three theatre: Leicester’s CurveThe Lowry in Salford and Bristol Old Vic Ferment, are looking for three ethnically diverse artists or companies to apply for the programme, which will support the creation and touring of brand-new work.

Named after cultural activist and journalist Naseem Khan, who passed away last year, the commissions programme will give artists £2,000 worth of funding each, 18 months of support, rehearsal space and programmed slots for the presentation of work across the partner network of theatres.

Speaking about the programme, Naseem Khan’s daughter Amelia Torode said:

“Theatre mattered enormously to Naseem because she understood the transformative power of shared storytelling and collective experiences. Stories reflect and shape cultural identity and in these times of change, it’s vital that new storytellers emerge and flourish. This award does exactly that. We can’t wait to see what new talent is unlocked.”

Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We are pleased to be launching this new programme with our partners at The Lowry and Bristol Old Vic Ferment. At Curve, we are clear that the work on our stages should reflect the diversity of our communities. This has always been part of Curve’s DNA and we are excited to be partnering with colleagues in Salford and Bristol on this scheme.

We’re proud this programme is named after Naseem Khan, whose ground-breaking report – The Arts Britain Ignores & Diversity in British Theatre – inspired our diversity conference in 2016. We were honoured Naseem visited Curve to deliver the opening address and it is fitting her legacy should live on with this programme.”

Anthony Gray, Senior Producer: Artist Development at The Lowry commented:

“The Lowry is passionate about raising the profile of ethnically diverse work and we have had the privilege of working with some incredible artists of colour as part of our Developed With The Lowry programme over the years. These have included Dr Tuheen Huda in 2014, Chanje Kunda in 2017, Rachel Young in 2018 and most recently Dickson Mbi.

Partnering with Curve and Bristol Old Vic Ferment is a fantastic opportunity to be able to provide a nationwide network that supports the presentation of this work across the UK. I personally am extremely excited to see where this project leads and help support and champion these artists.”

Ben Atterbury, Ferment Producer at Bristol Old Vic said:

“It’s brilliant to be launching the Naseem Khan Commissions alongside our partners at The Lowry and Leicester’s Curve. By joining together, we hope to give our commissioned artists the support and opportunity to grow, complete with a bespoke development plan that follows their next 18 months and is built around their ideas. It’s important that we continue to try and redress the inequalities in our industry, and we’re delighted to be part of an initiative that specifically looks to support outstanding BAME artists to make the work they want to make, holding them up to the light all around the country.”

The deadline to apply for the Naseem Khan Commissions is 28 September at 10am, with interviews taking place in Leicester at Curve on 19 October.

Artists looking to apply can send a completed application form, together with a CV/biography and a max. 500-word statement on the show they would like to make; or alternatively a YouTube/Vimeo link to a 2-minute video on the same theme.

All applications must be sent to [email protected]bristololdvic.org.uk
For further information, please contact:

BRISTOL OLD VIC: Caroline Lang on 0117 949 4901
[email protected]org.uk
CURVE REGIONAL: Fiona Moore on 0116 242 3916 / [email protected]
CURVE NATIONAL: Julie Holman, Target-Live, on 020 7052 1303 / [email protected]uk

The Color Purple – New Co-Production for Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome in 2019

The Color Purple
The Color Purple

The Color Purple

Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome theatres join forces to co-produce Broadway musical The Color Purple, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker.

The production, the first to be created outside of London in the UK, will be directed by Tinuke Craig, winner of the 2014 Genesis Future Directors Award. Tinuke’s recent credits include random/generations, a double bill of plays by debbie tucker green at Chichester Festival Theatre and I Call my Brothers by Jonas Hassen Khemiri at the Gate Theatre.

The announcement comes as both theatres celebrate significant milestones, with Curve turning 10 this year while the Hippodrome will mark its 120th birthday in 2019.

Speaking about the co-production, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

The Color Purple celebrates remarkable women, telling incredible stories. From its Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, her courageous creation in heroine Celie to Oprah Winfrey – who had the vision to make the story into a smash-hit Broadway musical. And we are thrilled to introduce our equally astonishing director Tinuke Craig and welcome her to Curve.

“As we embark on our second decade as a theatre here in Leicester and our friends at Birmingham Hippodrome celebrate their 120th year, our co-production of this beautiful, moving musical feels like a fitting way for us to mark these celebratory years.

“All of us at Curve are looking forward to working with Tinuke, Fiona Allan and the Hippodrome team very much.”

Fiona Allan, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Birmingham Hippodrome said:

“This is the very first time that Birmingham Hippodrome has actively co-produced a main stage musical, and we could not have better partners than Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster at Curve theatre, and director Tinuke Craig.

“The Color Purple is an epic and timeless story that will appeal to audiences young and old, as evidenced by the recent Tony Award winning Broadway production. It is long overdue for a UK tour, and I’m proud that the Hippodrome play our part in bringing it to life here in Birmingham.”

This unforgettable story told over the course of 40 years follows courageous heroine Celie, as she journeys through joy, despair, anguish and hope in her own personal awakening to discover her unique voice in the world.

With a profoundly evocative score drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, this moving family chronicle set in racially divided southern America, celebrates life, love and the strength to stand up for who you are and what you believe in.

Tickets for The Color Purple will go on sale to Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome audiences on the week commencing 20 Aug. Further details can be found online on www.curveonline.co.uk or www.birminghamhippodrome.com.

 

Curve Announce Christmas Studio Show: Dr Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat

The Cat In The Hat
The Cat In The Hat

The Cat In The Hat

Curve announced the title of its 2018 Christmas show for children and their families, a brand new production of Dr. Seuss’ classic story of mischief and chaos, The Cat in the Hat.

Announced at Curve’s latest Season Preview event on 18 May, this Made at Curve production will be directed by Curve’s Associate Director Suba Das and run in the theatre’s 300-seat Studio from 8 Dec 2018 to 12 Jan 2019.

When the Cat in the Hat steps onto the mat, Sally and her brother are in for a rollercoaster ride of havoc and mayhem! The Cat can rescue them from a dull rainy day, but what mischief do they get up to along the way?

Following the success of their previous work for children including Roald Dahl favourites The Witches and most recently George’s Marvellous MedicineThe Cat in the Hatwill see Curve and Rose Theatre Kingston come together once again as co-producers.

Speaking about the production, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We are positively purring with pride to announce what is sure to be another superbly playful Made at Curve production for young folk, their families and school children this Christmas.

“Christmas at Curve is always special and Dr Seuss’ wonderfully mischievous story of The Cat in the Hat has entertained children around the world for generations. We are thrilled our Associate Director Suba Das is charged with wrangling the anarchic cat, joined by a purrfect production team, featuring Tasha Taylor-Johnson’s whiskerful tunes and tail-defying circus-inspired moves.”

Curve will also be creating a number of workshops for schoolchildren to accompany the zany production, encouraging young people to creatively explore the show through physical theatre, reading, writing and dramatic activities.

Recommended for children aged 4+, The Cat in the Hat will feature original songs from Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Tasha Taylor-Johnson who also created songs for Curve’s recent production of George’s Marvellous Medicine.

Creative Team

Director – Curve Associate Director Suba Das

Set and Costume Designer – Isla Shaw

Composer – Tasha Taylor Johnson

 Casting and tour dates will be announced in due course.

Tickets for The Cat in the Hat will go on sale to Curve Members on Mon 21 May, followed by general on sale on 1 Jun. Tickets can be purchased online atwww.curveonline.co.uk, in person at Curve’s Ticket Office or the Highcross Kiosk in Leicester, or over the phone on 0116 242 3595.

LES MISÉRABLES UK and Ireland Tour Announced

LES MISERABLES. Thénardier's
LES MISERABLES. Thénardier's

LES MISERABLES. Thénardier’s – Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench

After nearly a decade since the last UK tour sold out within days, Cameron Mackintosh has announced that his acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical “LES MISÉRABLES” will open at Curve Leicester for a season from Saturday 3 – Saturday 24 November 2018 (press night 14 November 2018), before playing the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin (5 December 2018 – 12 January 2019), Festival Theatre Edinburgh (22 January – 16 February 2019) and Manchester Palace Theatre (19 February – 30 March 2019). Further dates will be announced.

 Cameron Mackintosh said, “Since I first conceived the new production of “Les Misérables” to celebrate the shows 25th anniversary in 2009, this production has taken the world by storm – more than matching the success of the original, which can now only be seen in London.  I am thrilled that modern audiences have embraced this production as Les Mis for the 21st century and it is playing to packed houses all over the world in many languages. It also inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne.

 This latest version comes hot from its recent Broadway triumph (now once again on a sell-out tour of North America) and is even more spectacular than the original.  I am very proud that this extraordinary Boublil andSchönberg musical remains as fresh, thrilling and exciting as ever – and people are still storming the barricades for a ticket.”

 This brilliant new staging has scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, and has been seen in North America, South America, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Manila, Singapore, Dubai and Broadway.

 Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent score of “LES MISÉRABLES”includes the songs, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “On My Own”, “Stars”, “Bring Him Home”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, “One Day More”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “Master Of The House” and many more.  Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 45 countries and in 22 languages, “LES MISÉRABLES” is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.

 Cameron Mackintosh’s production of “LES MISÉRABLES” is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and original adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. The original “LES MISÉRABLES”orchestrations are by John Cameron with new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and additional orchestrations by Stephen Metcalfe and Stephen Brooker. The production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and additional costumes by Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt, projections by Fifty-Nine Productions and musicsupervision by Stephen Brooker and Graham Hurman.

LES MISÉRABLES UK AND IRELAND TOUR 2018/2019

lesmis.com

SATURDAY 3 – SATURDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2018

CURVE, LEICESTER

curveonline.co.uk – 0116 242 3595

ON SALE 12 MARCH 2018

WEDNESDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2018 – SATURDAY 12 JANUARY 2019

BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE, DUBLIN

bordgaisenergytheatre.ie – +353 (1) 677 7999

ON SALE 12 MARCH 2018

TUESDAY 22 JANUARY – SATURDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2019

FESTIVAL THEATRE, EDINBURGH

edtheatres.com – 0131 529 6000

ON SALE 12 MARCH 2018

TUESDAY 19 FEBRUARY – SATURDAY 30 MARCH 2019

MANCHESTER PALACE THEATRE

atgtickets.com/venues/palace-theatre-manchester – 0844 871 3019

ON SALE 5 JUNE 2018

FURTHER DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED