Leicester’s Curve theatre has announced the return of its New Work Festival, a celebration of talented artists and creativity in the Midlands.

Taking place throughout March, the festival will include performances, showcases, support for local artists, workshops and discussions.

The festival begins on Friday 1 March with a showcase of new writing from newly discovered female writers of South Asian descent from Leicester and beyond. The four short plays, delivered script-in-hand by local performers, have been developed as part of Curve’s partnership with Kali Theatre’s Discovery Programme.

Rotten, written and produced by Josie White, alongside co-producers Team Angelica and Curve Resident Creatives Emmerson & Ward, plays as part of the festival on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 March. Directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair, creator of Channel 4’s cult-hit MetrosexualityRotten is an exciting new comedy-thriller following three young women who devise a truly rotten way to pay the bills in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

Headlining Curve’s New Work Festival is a new exploration of Jonathan Larson’s acclaimed rock musical RENT. This bilingual (British Sign Language and English) Made at Curve workshop performance will explore the musical through the lens of the isolation and prejudice faced by deaf and hearing communities during the 1980s AIDS crisis. Directed by Curve’s former Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) Resident Assistant Director Lilac Yosiphon (Resident Assistant Director, Billy Elliot the Musical, Curve and Staff Director, The House of Bernada Alba, National Theatre) and running at Curve Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 March, Scenes from RENT – a staged performance is set to be a visual celebration of community in the face of adversity, and will feature songs including ‘Take me or Leave me’, ‘La Vie Boheme’ and ‘Seasons of Love’.

Lilac Yosiphon said: “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with a phenomenal group of actors and creatives to direct Scenes from Rent bilingually in BSL and English. It is an opportunity to honour Jonathan Larson’s powerful piece and the communities in it. Offering deaf creatives leadership and agency is essential but still a rarity, and I am grateful to Curve and RTYDS for believing in this idea and for their trust in me.”

Casting for Scenes from RENT – a staged performance, will be announced in due course.

In 2023, Curve’s New Work Festival engaged 44 local artists and over 200 participants. Across 2022/23, the theatre saw over 1,100 Midlands creatives, theatre-makers, practitioners and artists taking part in artist development sessions, projects and performances.

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

“We are thrilled the New Work Festival returns with such verve, as emerging artists from across the East Midlands gather in Leicester to develop, share and celebrate their work. It’s especially thrilling legends such as Rikki Beadle-Blair and acclaimed company Kali Theatre are sharing their expertise with talented artists at the start of their careers. And we are immensely proud of our RTYDS director Lilac Yosiphon, who has assembled an astonishing team to present Scenes from RENT. Lilac’s passion for Larson’s play is inspirational and we are proud this forms the centrepiece of this year’s festival.”

Further events and activities at Curve’s 2024 New Work Festival will be announced soon.

Tickets for Rotten, the Kali Disovery Programme Showcase and Scenes from RENT – a staged performance will be on sale to Curve Friends from Tuesday 23 January, Curve Supporters Wednesday 24 January, Curve Members, Groups and Access Register customers Thursday 25 January and on general sale from Tuesday 30 January, all at 12pm.

To find out more about Curve, visit

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