Wedding photography

30th June 2014

Visit the website for Asian Wedding Photos, a Leicester-based photography service that we have been happy to support over the years.

Arts in Leicester has featured the work of local photographers and we hope to present examples of their work on our website in the near future.

See also:

Read about #Leicester’s summer of festivals.

Find out about the opening of the #RichardIII visitor centre.

Heritage news

News about Leicester’s heritage

Page last edited:  30th July 2014

26th June 2014

Help to tell city’s ‘Story of Parks’

PEOPLE are being asked for their views and ideas for events and activities to help tell Leicester’s ‘Story of Parks’.

The six-week public consultation, which launches today (Monday, Jun 23), is part of an ambitious project to tell the story of Victoria Park and its historic gates, as well as other capture the history of other city parks.

The project is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The consultation will ask people about the activities they would like to see or get involved with. The best and most popular ideas will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of a project plan for final funding approval.

If successful, the council will receive HLF funding to help deliver an 18-month long programme of activities based around the history of Leicester’s parks. This would begin in the summer of 2015.

A consultation roadshow will be traveling around community centres, libraries and other city council venues. Its first stop will be at Leicester Central Library until Saturday, 28 June.

Assistant City Mayor, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “Parks play a very special part in the lives of people who grow up in our cities and everyone has a story to tell.

“We are delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded first stage approval for our ‘Story of Parks’ project and agreed to fund our initial research and consultation.

“It is important that we capture the ideas of people who use our parks, or have perhaps have memories passed on from previous generations who have grown up around them.”

In total, the city council receive around £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This will also pay for the repair and refurbishment of the ornate Edwin Lutyens-designed gates at the entrance to Peace Walk and the park lodges on Victoria Park.

The gates were a commemorative gift to the city by Sir Jonathan North, who was mayor of Leicester during the First World War.

The Leicester park heritage consultation can be completed online at

[Source: Leicester City Council]

History of Leicester part 1

20th June 2014

Part 1 of our series of articles on the history of Leicester

The History of Leicester

2000 years of continuous habitation

Leicester’s pre-history

By Trevor Locke

The relationship between people and the buildings they occupy has always been a fascinating topic of research and debate. From the time when men ‘lived in caves’, to the times when they built their homes from mud and dung through to today’s gleaming spires of steel and glass, buildings have shaped the lives of the people who lived and worked in them.

Humans have lived and died in Leicestershire for many thousands of years. More and more evidence is coming to light about the pre-history of our local area. Humans have left traces of their existence in the area we now call Leicestershire, since they first arrived in the area, probably after the end of the last ice age.

Before and after the Ice Ages

Evidence of man’s presence in our country can be dated back to before the Anglian ice age, around 500,000 years BC. Our knowledge of pre-historic Britain has developed considerably in recent years with new finds from the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods being unearthed.

Hundreds of artefacts have been gathered from sites around Leicestershire, giving us some insights into the life of people before they began to construct buildings, when they were primarily hunter-gatherers, living off what the land could provide for them.

The start of houses

After the end of the ice age, around 10,000 to 8,000 BC, humans began to form settlements. It was in the Mesolithic era that permanent dwellings began to be erected.

In the bronze age, people began to build homes, plant crops and tend cattle, sheep and pigs. They built round houses that were constructed from local materials.

One of the first homes to be discovered in the UK was built in the Bronze age, in 4,000 BC. The round house was made of wood and probably had a roof made of thatch or turf. It was discovered in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, at Flag Fen, by the television archaeological programme Time Team (Series 7, Episode 9). It was set in a landscape of fields and track ways. Based on what the dig discovered, a re-construction of the roundhouse was made. It was a significant find; it suggested that people were beginning to form a settled way of live, based on farming. This was around 1,500 BC. They established fields with boundaries and kept animals to provide them with meat. Settling in one place allowed people to spend more time on the creation of artefacts, including jewellery and tools and many of these have been discovered in burials. The dead were buried close to the places where people lived.

The new discoveries at Star Carr in Yorkshire threw new light some of the very earliest evidence of buildings. Hunter-gatherers are believed to have created permanent settlements in which ceremonial and economic activities took place.

As the ice melted, sea levels rose and the low-lying bridge of land that connected ‘Britain’ to the European continent was flood and created the islands we know as the British Isles, around about 6,500 BC (or BCE – before the common era.)

Man was active here at a time when our country was still connected to the mainland of continental Europe. The first humans arrived here about 25,000 years ago. In that time, between ice ages, Britain was connected to Europe by an area called Doggerland. People were able to walk here from Europe, prior to the time when the land became an Island separated by the English Channel.

The very first buildings

The people who lived after the end of the Ice Age were predominantly hunter-gatherers who lived a largely nomadic life-style. People chose the sites for their settlements carefully, based on the needs of the community – for access to water for drinking, washing and fishing – to avoid water (by choosing higher ground that would not get flooded) and where they could grow crops and tend animals.

Being on higher ground they could also command a view of the surrounding land, enabling them to keep an eye out for intruders or groups that might attack their settlements.

New discoveries have overturned the belief that the construction of domestic buildings in Britain did not begin until around the time of the Iron age, 5,000 years ago.  It was common for people to build round houses in this country; in other parts of Iron Age Europe, people lived in rectangular houses [British Museum.]

In fact one structure was discovered in North Yorkshire that dates back to the Stone Age, 8,500 years BC (the Star Carr site.) Archaeologists believe that they might have found one of the first ‘houses’ to have been constructed in the British Isles.

The Star Carr site

Tombs (barrows) were constructed in the Megalithic period; the burial of the dead preceded the wide-scale construction of permanent domestic structures.

Stone Henge, in Wiltshire, is thought to have been constructed about 2400 and 2200 BC. A roundhouse was discovered in Orkney that is thought to have been constructed about 700 BC. There is some evidence that suggests that the earliest prehistoric groups lived a nomadic existence, sheltering in tents made from animal skins. In Neolithic times people began to erect long houses as early as 5,000 to 6,000 BC (on mainland Europe.)

It was during the Bronze age that pottery began to appear. Vessels have been found that were decorated with distinctive groove patterns dating back to 3000 BC. This beaker period goes back to the end of the Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. The first figurative art appeared in the late Neolithic period.

In the bronze and iron ages, people built their houses from the materials they found around them – trees, straw or reeds or turf for roofing, mud or clay to fill in the holes and cracks.
Apart from houses for people to live in, enclosures were also constructed for animals, such as cows and sheep, and these could have formed an integral part of the early settlements.
When these buildings were abandoned, they rotted back into the earth, leaving only tell-tales signs (such as post-holes) as to how they had been constructed.

There were no sewers; people dug pits into which they put their refuse and broken pots and other unwanted materials.  Archaeologists discovered a lot about the life-styled of Iron and Bronze age people from the rubbish they left behind.

The dead were often buried close to human habitations (indeed, sometimes even inside them.) How people dealt with the dead changed over time, customs changing from burial to cremation but other practices have also been discovered.

It was not until the (much later Roman times) that people began to use stone in construction. Early houses were invariably round; it was the Romans who brought the idea of square or rectangular buildings to this part of the country. There is evidence that some rectangular houses were built before the Romans but it  is the round floor plan that is the most common.

Early houses were built without plans being drawn. There were no architects, quantity surveyors and probably no people who specialised as builders. Knowledge of how to construct buildings was handed down from one generation to another. What materials to use and how to put them together was part of a group’s traditions. People would probably have known how to fell trees, which trees to cut, what materials were available in the woods or from the swamp areas or from river banks.

Tools were relatively primitive; saws and hammers were rare but some kinds of tools must have been used to shape wood or to cut reeds to the desired length. Examples of bronze age axes have been found – the adze was used to work wood and had a bronze head attached to a handle made of wood. Ditches were often dug around the outskirts of houses or settlements and implements must have been used for this.

Tools used by farmers have been found, dating to the iron age. These were used to harvest crops. Axes have been found dating to this period. ‘The main frame of roundhouse would have been made of upright timbers, which were interwoven with coppiced wood – usually hazel, oak, ash or pollarded willow – to make wattle walls. This was then covered with a daub made from clay, soil, straw and animal manure that would weatherproof the house. The roof was constructed from large timbers and densely thatched’ [BBC history.]

Buildings and art

For centuries buildings have reflected the cultural and artistic values of each generation. We see the ornate carvings and elaborate stonework of the Gothic era, the middle ages and the Victorians and marvel at the embellishments that adorn some of our notable public buildings and monuments. How do we recognise and appreciate the message that modern and contemporary buildings gives us? Today’s architects look for beauty in simplicity. Buildings are designed to be machines for living and working. Functionality determines their layout and external appearance. There is no evidence that Bronze or Iron age huts were decorated in any way; the ornamentation of buildings probably did not start until the Romans radically changed the way buildings were constructed.

When we look back at the Leicester of our forebears, much of which we can still see on our streets, we can glimpse the lives they used to lead. Buildings in our city centre suggest a past of wealth and prosperity, economic and commercial success and the desire of the powerful and successful to aggrandize their social status.
Leicester is a place that has seen human habitation since before the Romans arrived and has always been a major point on cross-country routes. There are indications of settlements on the banks of the Soar in the Iron age. If this is correct then Leicester is a place that has seen over two thousand years of continuous human habitation.

As we look through the buildings that stand as milestones in the history of Leicester/shire, we can see them telling us about the history of England. From the Roman invasion, through to the Wars of the Roses, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, The Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, the rise of Modernism, these epochs reflect changing attitudes to art and culture as well as being a testament to the political and social currents of their times.

We can tell a lot from the rubbish tips and cess pits of our ancestors. One wonders if future archaeologists will be digging in the land-fill sites of today’s world for clues to the life of everyday people.
The excavation of the past is often about buildings and artefacts – the things that people have left behind them in the earth. A lot is also learned from the burial of the dead; if you want to understand the life of people in the past, grave yards are a good place to start.
If we want to understand the artistry of the past, we have to understand the social context in which artisans worked and in which people consumed and used their products and creations. It is only through painstakingly collating and piecing together a mass of evidence, that we can develop a picture of the earliest inhabitants of the area we now know as Leicester.

Prior to the Iron Age, humans were largely nomadic hunter gatherers. The only evidence we can find are their stone tools, left behind as they moved from place to place, together with indications of how they disposed of their dead.

From around 50 B.C. a settlement developed along the east bank of the Soar and this can be seen as the origin of modern Leicester, argues Malcolm Elliot. The Iron Age and the era of Roman settlement saw the earliest formation of Leicester. In the year 2000, an open-air ritual site was discovered in Hallaton in East Leicestershire.

It was one of the most important discoveries in recent years from the Iron Age and Early Roman Britain. Over 5,000 Iron age and Roman coins were found on the site. Most were made locally and issued in about 20 to 50 AD. These coins were probably made by members of the Corieltavi tribe.

The Romans in Leicester

Prior to the Roman Invasion of A.D. 43, the settlement on the banks of the Soar seems to have become an important centre for the Coritani tribe (Corieltavi or Corieltavauri.) They would have had trading connections with south-east Britain and beyond, perhaps extended into other parts of Europe. Excavations have revealed pottery from France, Italy and southern Spain. The Coritani ranged across what is now Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and parts of South Yorkshire. They were a collection of like-minded people who shared the same outlook and social practices.

Whilst it is likely that they had a settlement on the banks of the Soar, this was not their principal centre. Ratae Coritanorum was the capital town(civitas) of the tribe, lying on the route from London to Lincoln.
The Roman settlement is thought to have been a rectangular area, surrounded with perimeter fortifications in which there were four gates. There is doubt about whether the river side of the enclosure was walled, like the rest. The Romans frequently established their forts on (then) pre-existing Iron age or Bronze age sites. Beneath the remains of Roman forts is it common to find much earlier  archaeology.

The Fosse Way was an important Roman Road linking the fortresses of Exeter and Lincoln. This passed near to Ratae Corieltauvorum. Following the Roman invasion, the Fosse Way marked the western frontier of the Roman area. The current A46 follows the path of the Fosse Way between Lincoln and Leicester. Nearing the city its route is now marked by Melton Road and Belgrave Road. It would have terminated roughly at the position of Clock Tower and continued along the line of the present Narborough Road.

As the invading legions pushed northwards, it is thought they would have crossed the Soar near to the present West Bridge.  Early in the second century, the town was being built up using a grid pattern. It was around 125 to 130 A.D. that the forum, basilica and baths were constructed, the ruins of which can now been seen at the Jewry Wall site. Substantial town houses were also built, having central heating, floors of fine mosaics and painted walls. This signifies that Ratae was an important seat of government and continued to be so right into the fourth century.

As the great Roman buildings fell into ruin, their stone was used to build new structures, such as the church of St. Nicholas. The regular pattern of the Roman streets began to be overlaid by the buildings of later centuries as ground level rose several feet above what would have the level of the original Roman town.

Leicester – 2000 years of diversity

Discovery of pagan burials from Roman times in Leicester
A fascinating documentary on Channel Four TV tonight (1st May 2013) throws new light on Roman life in fourth century Britain. In the series Stories from the Dark Earth, archaeologist Julian Richards looked at the pagans of Roman Britain. What stood out for me was his depiction of Romano-British society as being ethnically and culturally diverse. He looked in particular at two burials: a wealthy man from Roman Winchester and a lavishly appointed grave of a woman in the heart of London. The Winchester man had received a pagan burial. He was someone who had been born and bred locally. The wealthy woman found in London, however, had come to this country from Rome itself. Artefacts found in the grave site suggest that she might have been a follower of the cult of Bacchus.
In his narrative to the programme, Richards suggests that those who inhabited major Roman towns, such as Venta Belgarum (Winchester) and Londinium (London), were not just a mixture of indigenous peoples and Romans from Italy, but a much more ethnically diverse community of people who had arrived in this country from a very wide range of European origins and, in all likely, from other parts of the Roman Empire including the Middle East and North Africa.
By the time of the decline of the Roman Empire in Britain, from the fourth century onwards, many indigenous inhabitants had become Romanised, so that their way of life, religious beliefs and culture characterised them as Roman.

If this was the case in towns like Winchester and London, then we might surmise that this would also have been the case in Leicester. There is evidence that suggests that larger Roman towns and settlements were cosmopolitan places in which we would have found people from all over the empire.

The presence of people from North Africa in British Towns is well documented. Dr Simon James has commented: Before Roman times ‘Britain’ was just a geographical entity, and had no political meaning, and no single cultural identity. [The Peoples of Britain]
Arguably this remained generally true until the 17th century, when James I of England and VI of Scotland sought to establish a pan-British monarchy.

The British Isles have always been the home to people who have moved here from other parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle and Far East, ever since the time when the first settlers walked into our land when it was still joined to the European landmass, prior to the formation of the English Channel.

From the decline of the Roman empire to the Norman invasion of 1066, the area was dominated by the Anglo-Saxons, people descended from the Germanic tribes of Europe.  Evidence from the archaeology of the rest of the UK suggests that the Roman army was made up of people from many areas of Europe, North Africa and Middle and Far Eastern places, such as Syria and parts of what is now Turkey.

Walking around what we now call Leicester (back in the times of the Romans), you would have seen a variety of faces: white, brown and black skins and witnessed an astonishing melting pot of ethnic and cultural mixes.

The Dark Ages

After the Romans had gone, The Saxons came. 1,400 years ago the country was invaded by people from the area of Europe now called Germany. This period is sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages. So little is known about this period that it appears to be a dark hole in the history of the British Isles. The archaeology is so frustratingly difficult that you might as well call it The Dark Stainages; The Saxons left so little behind, that much of the evidence comes from stains in the earth. Painstakingly scraping through layers of soil, dark patches appear where post holes were made, or red patches where fires once burned. There was however, pottery. One of the most important excavations took place in Leicestershire in 2008 when Time Team came to Knave Hill and Tony Robinson lead the team in digging up part of a hill South West of Leicester.

People walking in the fields found pieces of pottery and noted down exactly where they had been found. This gave the diggers a clue to where they should put in their trenches – where there was the highest concentration of pottery finds.

This is what modern archaeology is all about – taking a systematic approach and using well established techniques; It’s not about luck, it’s about methods. Digs are frequently about finding tell-tale traces in the soil – pits and ditches – that tell us that there was human settlement there once and if we are lucky we find pottery shards in them to give us dating evidence.

At Knave Hill there was excitement when archaeologist Matt Williams found several large pieces of pottery from the late Iron age – the period before the Romans arrived. Both the Romans and the Saxons often settled on sites previously occupied in earlier times, from the Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age.

Most Saxon buildings were built from timber, they had wooden walls and the roof consisted of thatch. All that rots away after the buildings have been abandoned, leaving only faint traces from which the type and extent of the buildings can be analysed, using a great deal of evidence gathered from many sites across the country.

Humans settled in certain places according to the nature of the local countryside. These people began to mingle with the people who were already here – the Celts. The very earliest people to colonise our land – after the end of the last ice age – were people who wandered across from the European continent at a time before the British Isles were separated by what is now the Channel. Between around 45 AD and 412 AD, there were the Romans. It was not surprising therefore that evidence of Roman occupation was found on the same site. The Romans often took over Iron Age settlements and the finds helped to prove this.

Working with the Time Team crew was archaeologist Peter Liddle and a team of volunteers from The Langtons. The Saxons established administrative areas called hundreds. The boundaries of these areas often follow natural contours such as rivers, hills and roads. A study of the local landscape enabled the team to predict where settlements might have been. Rivers were important as a source of water and fish, while higher ridges and hills offered a good place to live to avoid the flooding in the lower-lying river valleys.

The Romans built roads but these would have often followed earlier courses that had been established in the stone age. Those tracks could have been laid down by the migration of herds of animals.
The excavations at Knave Hill suggest that  there had been around a 100 people living and farming in a settlement of huts surrounding a central Hall.

Scientists have plotted the migration of Peoples from Europe, using analysis of DNA. It was suggested that about ten percent of the population were of Saxon and Viking origin. Waves of invaders did not obliterate the indigenous Celtic population but integrated with them. Astonishingly, their DNA can still be found in the people of the 21st century. So, the Dark Ages is perhaps a misnomer. A growing amount of evidence has been dug up to throw light on the people of this time and of course there is the poetry.

About this article

This text is taken from the old Arts in Leicestershire web site. It originally formed the commentary to the pages in the Architecture section. The text on this page had been edited a little from the original. We plan to republished the whole of the old magazine’s Architecture Section, as part of the heritage section of our new Arts in Leicester website.

See also:

Part 2 – The Romans in Leicester

The history of the Arts in Leicester Magazine

News about RichardIII

Film company launch

21st March 2014

This page is part of the visual arts section

Launch of 151 Films

After continuous success over the past two years Leicester based video production company 151 Films are excited to announce the relaunch of their brand with a whole new look, website and online identity, which is currently being produced by Leicester based design studio, Leah Spicer Creative.

Add this to some recent new additions to the team and a move into a fully functional studio space and it’s clear to see that it’s a very exciting time for the business!

To celebrate, the company is hosting an exclusive event on the Friday 23rd August 2013 which will see the live unveiling of the new identity and company branding along with a showing of the new company showreel and previews of some of their latest projects.
Having gone from strength to strength in their most successful year so far 151 Films have been able to build a great network and utilise some fantastic opportunities. With hopes of having at least one short film featured in an international film festival during the 2014 festival season and a recent music video production picked up by KerrangTV, the team are really proud of their achievements so far and excited about the future. As well as producing top quality fictional and music video productions, 151 Films also aim to deliver top quality corporate promos and event coverage.

With the studio location now fully established and a fresh and contemporary new look for the brand on the way 151 Films hope to continue producing powerful, effective and current video for all mediums from Tablets to Television. With this in mind 151 Films are hoping to connect with new corporate clients looking to utilise video to promote a product or strengthen their brand. The company is also looking forward to setting up a charitable scheme which will be finalised later in the year.

151 Films look forward to continuing great relationships with all existing clients, sponsors and partners throughout 2013 and into the future and are now on the hunt for exciting new ventures, businesses, freelancers and consumers to build a greater network and new relationships.
The launch event will be held at The Font, Leicester from 7pm with video presentations and performances from local musicians and artists throughout the evening, plus the live unveiling of the brand new look website at 9pm.

The evening will not only be a celebration of the rebrand but also a fantastic opportunity for networking between local businesses and creatives.

For more information about 151 Films please visit


Curve new season

New at Curve

Page last edited:  25th June 2014.

25th June 2014

This summer, New York City comes to Leicester when a company of over 70 talented local performers join Curve’s professional team to present the Tony award-winning Broadway musicals: Annie and Rent.

As part of its on-going commitment to developing local talent, Curve provides an annual platform for aspiring performers from across the East Midlands with its Community Production. In the past five years, over 300 local people (and 3 dogs) have appeared on stage or worked backstage in a Curve Community Production performing to audiences of over 25,000.

Paul Kerryson commented:

“From the grimy Victorian streets of London in Sweeney Todd and Oliver!, we’re heading stateside this summer and converting both the Studio and main stage into one huge set to recreate Manhattan for Annie and Rent. It’s the first time we’ve staged two community productions back to back which is not only testament to the huge amount of creative talent in the region but also the popularity of our community productions with audiences. The Annie and Rent cast are now in rehearsals and we’re looking forward to recreating New York of the 1930s and 1990s for audiences this July.”

Annie, 26 July – 11 August 2014

This classic rags-to-riches tale follows plucky orphan-girl Annie as she leaves behind her friends and attempts to escape the Hard Knock Life, finding shelter with reluctant billionaire Mr Warbucks. The relationship of the unlikely pair soon begins to grow, but how long can Annie evade the evil clutches of the delightfully wicked Miss Hannigan?

Set against the backdrop of the American Great Depression, this uplifting tale features the well-known classics Tomorrow, Little Girls and Easy Street. Join Annie and her faithful companion, dog Sandy, on their heart-warming adventure to find the family they are longing for.

Rent, 31 July – 1 August and 4 – 7 August 2014

Set in the struggling Lower East Side of New York City, Jonathan Larson’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical follows the highs and lows of filmmaker Mark and his artist friends over the space of one year as they fight to keep the bohemian spirit alive.

As Mark and roommate Roger face the threat of losing their apartment, new girl Mimi arrives and falls straight into Roger’s arms, giving him a new lease of life. Together with Mark’s sassy ex Maureen, colourful street performer Angel and friends, the anarchic trio stand together in celebration of their lifestyle. But when the façade begins to slip and the friends are forced to confront their problems, everything begins to fall apart…

This vibrant and daring show features a soundtrack of much-loved songs, including La Vie Boheme, Rent, Take Me or Leave Me and Seasons of Love.

To book tickets visit



Paul Kerryson to reunite Chicago creative team in The Sound of  Music

New Curve Production of Abigail’s Party directed by Associate Director, Suba Das

Two new dance pieces by Curve Associate Artist Aakash Odedra: Inked and Murmur

Frantic Assembly and The Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Curve return to Leicester to present Shakespeare’s Othello
NEW Family Days featuring show child-friendly performances, workshops and activities

Leicester’s Curve theatre has today announced the full programme for its upcoming Autumn/Winter season – on general sale from Monday 19 May.

Paul Kerryson, Curve’s Artistic Director commented:

“This autumn Curve presents a dynamic programme of drama, musicals, comedy and dance with visits from some of the UKs most prominent theatre companies and artists. Following the success of Chicago last year, Curve’s Christmas musical is the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music with choreography by Drew McOnie, who scored a hit last season with his scintillating choreography for Chicago and the premiere of Drunk. The Autumn season begins with another popular musical, Barnum which is presented at Curve by the world renowned producer, Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre prior to a National Tour.

“Curve Associate Director, Suba Das, will direct a new ‘in the round’ version of the Mike Leigh cult comedy, Abigail’s Party and following our recent successful collaboration with Frantic Assembly, this thrilling company return with an electrifying version of Shakespeare’s Othello. The National Theatre also return to Leicester present their global hit, One Man Two Guvnors and Regents Park theatre will perform their hugely successful To Kill A Mocking Bird.

“Curve Associate artist Aakash Odedra presents two brilliant new dance pieces with Inked and Murmur and the studio season finishes at Christmas with Pinocchio, the perfect festive show for our younger audiences”.

For full listings information and to book tickets visit Curve website.



5 – 13 SEP
‘Barnum’s the name, P T Barnum, and I want to tell you that tonight, on this stage, you are going to see – bar none – every sight, wonder and miracle that name stands for!’

This exhilarating musical follows the irrepressible imagination and dreams of Phineas T Barnum, America’s Greatest Showman. The story of his life and his marriage to Chairy reveals a couple who looked at the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, and also reveals that she was the practical one who made his dreams come true. We follow the legendary showman’s life as he lit up the world with colour, warmth and the excitement of his imagination and finally teamed up with J A Bailey to create Barnum and Bailey’s Circus – the Greatest Show on Earth.

Barnum is a ‘BIG, SHARP, WITTY, BREATHTAKING, AND EMOTIONAL’ (The Observer) show starring Brian Conley (Oliver!, Hairspray, Jolson) in the title role and featuring Linzi Hateley as ‘Chairy’ (Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Chicago, Les Misérables). Cy Coleman’s wonderfully exuberant score includes the hits Come Follow The Band, The Colours Of My Life and There Is A Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute.



Something is keeping Emily Brown awake… Tall Stories, creators of the much-loved Gruffalo stage show, present their brand new production, based on the hugely popular book by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton. One evening, Emily Brown and her old grey rabbit Stanley hear a Thing crying outside their window. He just can’t get to sleep. Emily Brown and Stanley set off on incredible adventures to find the Thing’s cuddly, his bedtime milk and his medicine but nothing seems to help him settle. What’s really troubling the Thing – and will anyone ever get any sleep?



Major Tom is the story of how an average 34 year old became a beauty queen and how her unruly pet basset hound, Major Tom, became a championship show dog. Major Tom and Victoria increasingly immerse themselves in the obsessive and confusing realm of personal scrutiny as they participate as genuine contestants, determined to win. Accompanied on stage by documentary film footage and her dog, Victoria tells this true story exploring the British fascination with celebrity, beauty and winning.


Written and Performed by Wendy Houstoun
Combining film and writing with her playful physicality, Wendy Houstoun brings her warm, intimate and affecting show to Curve. 50 Acts is a spirited retaliation against ageism and other modern rubbish involving manifestos, apologies and errors, random acts, small dances and big ideas, ghostly appearances, serious stupidity and much, much more.


Blind Hamlet transforms Shakespeare’s tragedy into an interactive theatrical battle and reimagines the bloody struggle for Hamlet’s Elsinore. Volunteers take to the stage to outwit each other as a different power-struggle unfolds at each performance, with Hamlet turned on its head and every spectator now a Player. Written by Iran’s leading playwright, Nassim Soleimanpour, Blind Hamlet reveals how nations and individuals trap each other, and themselves, in their frenzy to tell friend from foe.


THU 11 – SAT 13 SEP, 7.45PM STUDIO
Voted the Best Play of 2013 by critics in The Guardian
David Greig’s daring new play asks how far forgiveness will stretch in the face of atrocity. Featuring a different local choir at each performance and a soaring soundtrack, The Events tells of tragedy, obsession and our destructive desire to fathom the unfathomable.


Performed by Rhapsody
The Magic of Queen has toured the world performing sell-out shows in theatres, concert halls and outdoor festivals. Although the world will never again see Queen perform with the great Freddie Mercury, The Magic of Queen will, with breath-taking accuracy, reproduce the same high energy show that became the trade-mark of the world’s greatest rock band.


This fully interactive screening of the classic film means you too can have the time of your life. The host will lead you through a vocal warm up, judge a fancy dress competition and show you how to use your magic moments fun packs. Then just sing-a-long and dance dirty with Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and the gang. Fancy dress recommended


Celebrating thirty years on stage, female impersonator and Hot Stuff star Ceri Dupree brings us his sensational new show, Fit For A Queen. Over two hours of musical parodies, dazzling quick changes and rapid-fire stand up, Ceri will pay homage to some of his favourite ladies. Expect side-splitting comedy and a visual feast of spectacular, eye popping and jaw dropping costumes. The first half celebrates stars from around the world and the second half pays tribute to the best of British.


The multi award-winning comedy by Marie Jones
Following a sell-out run on Broadway, four and a half years in the West End and on tour, the worldwide sensation Stones in His Pockets comes to Curve with Ian McElhinney, the original director at the helm. Don’t miss this hilarious and moving tale of a quiet Irish community turned upside down by the arrival of a Hollywood movie shoot. Universally loved by all who see it, Stones in His Pockets is brought to life by two highly talented actors who play 15 characters between them – from the two cheeky lads intent on stardom to a Hollywood Goddess!



Directed by Edward Hall
THU 25 – FRI 26 SEP, 11AM & 2PM  STUDIO
A Midsummer Night’s Dream for young audiences
All-male Shakespeare company Propeller present a sixty minute version of its award-winning production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, especially devised for young audiences and known as Pocket Dream. Combining a rigorous approach to the text with a modern physical aesthetic to create a production full of clarity, speed, poetry and imagination, Pocket Dream is a fresh and inspiring introduction to Shakespeare.


Join the authoritative Beatles live concert show, celebrating the Golden Anniversary of A Hard Day’s Night. The film, album and hit single propelled John, Paul, George and Ringo to worldwide stardom. Their legendary live performances are recreated, and more… taking you from their mop top roots to the psychedelia of Sgt Pepper and beyond, from Love Me Do to Let It Be. Fantastic costumes, brilliant vocals and incredible musicianship Come Together in a lavish Magical Musical trip back to Yesterday. Magic of the Beatles is one of the most comprehensive and authentic Beatles tribute shows that you will see, and has been enjoyed by a host of worldwide stars.


Award-winning star of the West End and Broadway, Kerry Ellis will come to Curve as part of her first solo concert tour. As well as establishing herself as a rising star with lead roles in London and on Broadway, Kerry Ellis has achieved chart-topping success as a recording artist and has toured her debut album, Anthems with Queen legend Brian May. Previous theatre roles include originating the role of Meat in Queen’s We Will Rock You and she was the first British Elphaba in the West End smash hit, Wicked, for which she won a 2008 Award and then immediately transferred to Broadway, where she won the Audience Award for Favourite Female Breakthrough Performance.


By Sudha Bhuchar
Directed by Philip Osment
MON 29 – TUE 30 SEP, 7.45PM STUDIO
A new play about love, family and ever-shifting identities
My Name is… tells the moving tale behind the story that hit headlines in 2006. When Gaby disappeared from her home in Scotland, it seemed that her Pakistani father, Farhan, had kidnapped her. The press were only momentarily silenced when it emerged that she had fled of her own accord. To her mother Suzy’s distress, she turned her back on ‘Gaby’, declaring “my name is Ghazala…”


Following a sell-out show earlier this year, host of channel 4’s Stand Up for the Week and star of BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, Paul Chowdhry returns to Curve with his biggest tour to date, PC’s World. PC may be his initials, but the relentless world he lives in definitely isn’t. Why is one person’s offensive behaviour considered humorous by others? Paul will address this issue along with more diverse subjects as the art of attracting women, jokes cut from his TV appearances, non-existent customer service and the now infamous 1980’s in his own inimitable uncompromising style.



By Matthew Hurt
Directed by Joseph Alford
This extraordinary play looks back two thousand years to witness key moments in the life of The Man Jesus, through the eyes of the people who knew him. Simon Callow, one of Britain’s best-loved actors, performs this fresh and moving account of biblical stories including the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana and the journey to Jerusalem. His powerful portrayal of the tyrants, traitors and madmen in Jesus’ life asks people of all faiths and none: what sort of a man was able to inspire the history of the world? Thought-provoking, thrilling and full of wit, this production premiered to great acclaim at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, and now embarks on a strictly limited UK tour.


The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire’s concert to commemorate the centenary of the First World War
This is the story of 1914 – 18, told through the music, songs, poetry, comedy and art of the time. From Gustav Holst to Irving Berlin; Jerusalem to Tipperary; Edward Elgar to Marie Lloyd. Bands, choirs, performers and dancers will join presenters from BBC Radio Leicester and Curve Young Company for a night of nostalgia and emotion. Telling the extraordinary tales of five people from Leicester during WW1; performers will include The Enderby Brass Band, Jazz saxophonist Ed Barker, Tenor David Morris, Soprano Jenny Saunders and Leicester performer Elaine Pantling plus many more. Presented by Applause in conjunction with Curve and BBC Radio Leicester for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.


Following their last sell-out visit, the National Theatre’s award-winning comedy One Man, Two Guvnors returns to Curve. With a cast including Gavin Spokes (One Man Two Guvnors, London) in the lead role as Francis, Norman Pace (of comedy duo Hale and Pace) and Emma Barton (EastEnders), this acclaimed smash hit is a glorious celebration of British comedy – a unique, laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother – who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a job with one Stanley Stubbers – but to prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple.


Pam Ayres brings her latest show to Curve following the recent publication of her new book of poetry, You Made Me Late Again! Pam Ayres’ work is funny, and approachable. It sounds simple, as though dashed off, but this is deceptive. Her hair-trigger timing, her eye for the detail of everyday life, and for the absurdity therein, makes for an art that hides art.


Tangomotion is a breath-taking journey into the heart of Tango Argentino.
From dazzling displays of traditional tango dance in stunning costume to the exquisite songs of 1930’s Buenos Aires and the powerful nuevo tango music of Astor Piazzolla, Tangomotion features world class dancers and the musicians of the acclaimed tango ensemble Siempre.
The cast have previously appeared in hit West End show Midnight Tango and the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.


Join us in our search for the Midlands Best Dance Crew 2014! The sensational urban dance competition will see the crews with the fiercest moves battle it out to win this year’s trophy, as well as the massive £1000 prize.
Judged by a panel of special guests, we’ll see these dancers go head-to-head in an evening of amazing routines. The event will also feature a ‘Best Dancer in the Audience’ section. Look out for hip-hop, street and break dance, performed by the most talented non-professional artists from across the region, with energetic, breathtaking routines!



One of the most exciting and engaging music acts of the last few years, Botown are an 8-piece band that have given lovers of Bollywood & Soul music a brand new groove. This concert will feature all your favourite Bollywood classics from legends like RD Burman, Kishore Kumar, AR Rahman, Asha Bhosle and Amitabh Bachchan fused into the Soul greats like Ray Charles, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Enjoy an evening of classic Bollywood, Soul and funky grooves guaranteed to have you up dancing and singing along.


One Man to do it all. One Man to rule them all!
Be prepared to journey through the trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King in 3600 seconds of unbelievable kinetic entertainment. Talented actor, Charles Ross will recreate the enchanting world of Middle-earth with nothing more than elbow pads and his outrageous imagination. With booming special effects, riveting stage fights and harrowing rescues, Ross does it all in this engaging, epic one man show.


Books flying overhead, free-running on moving shelves and falling in love – all this in a library?
C-12 Dance Theatre’s exciting and explosive new show Shhh! is an entertaining contemporary dance story of a library that is closed down, but if the community come together, can they save it? With a set mostly recycled from the New Barnfield Library, five theatrical performers manipulate their surroundings to create an innovative and powerful piece of dance theatre.



Adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel Based on the novel by Harper Lee
Set in the Deep South, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel sees racial injustice envelop a small-town community. Through courage and compassion, lawyer Atticus Finch seeks the truth, and his feisty daughter, Scout – a young girl on the cusp of adulthood – brings new hope to a neighbourhood in turmoil. This utterly enchanting and enthralling production from London’s award-winning Regent’s Park Theatre captures the warmth and poignancy of this best-loved classic with genuine heart and emotional depth. A story as moving and magical as you could ever hope to find.



Directed by Suba Das
It’s 1977. Beverly, former beautician and devout Tom Jones fan, is throwing a little party for her neighbours: newlyweds Tony and Angela, and divorcee Sue. Down the road, Sue’s teenage daughter Abigail is throwing a party of her own, but could it be the grown-ups’ night which really spirals out of control? With little help from long-suffering husband Laurence, Beverly desperately attempts to hold the evening together, but as her guise as the perfect hostess starts to slip and tempers begin to flare, the evening descends into chaos with hilarious and tragic consequences. Curve’s first show to be staged in the round, this new production of Mike Leigh’s comedy will bring audiences intimately close to the action live on stage. Abigail’s Party is directed by Curve Associate Director Suba Das, who recently curated Curve’s Inside Out Festival and has previously directed for the National Theatre Studio, Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Young Vic.



Based on the award-winning book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto
Winner of The Primary Times Children’s Choice Award
All aboard for a non-stop action packed theatrical experience with live music, puppetry, physical performance and dastardly dinosaurs! Join Captain Flinn as he discovers a Pirate hiding in a cupboard then hold on tight as the cupboard falls away and together we tumble into a real life adventure! Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs will ignite your child’s imagination through the magic of theatre and story-telling.


After more than a decade in Britain, the German Comedy Ambassador has ‘groan’ to like puns…. though he still couldn’t eat a whole one. As Henning’s assimilation is not yet complete he hasn’t lost his sense of Westphalian wonderment at the foibles of British society. Expect a crash course in personal accountability and have a right old laugh at the same time! Wunderbar!



TUE 21 – WED 22 OCT, 7.30PM  THEATRE
“ Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.”
Jonathan Goddard plays the infamous Vampire Count, whose sinister and ruthless ambitions challenge the very fabric of Victorian society. As his victims and opponents rally against him they must face the darkness and savagery within themselves. Mark Bruce’s company of ten exceptional dancers bring Bram Stoker’s haunting, erotic tale to life in a heart wrenching and magical dance theatre production. With an eclectic mix of music from Bach and Mozart to Ligetti and Fred Frith, Bruce explores choreographic styles ranging from the subtlety of classical etiquette to contemporary dance. Winner of the prestigious South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance, this critically acclaimed production is not to be missed.


Following the resounding success of previous events, Curve will team up with Sabras Radio for the third annual Diwali Hangama. This star studded night will include a blend of Bollywoood entertainment, culture and exclusive performances.
This year’s Diwali Hangama is set to be the biggest yet with a range of stars from India and local artists to kick off your Diwali celebrations. The event will be hosted by Sabras Radio presenters Raj Baddhan, Kash Kumar and a few of your other favourites.


25 Oct; 15 Nov; 13 Dec
Brand new for autumn, Curve has introduced special Family Days featuring a range of activities for all to enjoy from child-friendly backstage tours, dance classes, puppetry and storytelling, and show-themed workshops. Highlights include: The Snowman Dance Workshop on Sat 17 Nov and The Sound of Music Family Workshop and Pinocchio Family Workshop on Sat 13 Dec.



Directed by Scott Graham
This is a mating ground. There’s tension around the pool table, cues in hand. A world of broken glass and beatings in the car park. It’s dog eat dog. And it’s about to kick off… Othello’s passionate affair with Desdemona leaves him open to jealousy and attack – with devastating consequences. Here, violence is a way of life and reputation is everything. Frantic Assembly return to Curve with this electrifying take on Shakespeare’s thriller-tragedy of paranoia, jealousy, sex and murder. Fusing a taut adaptation of the classic text with its trademark hard-hitting choreography, Frantic Assembly takes a scalpel to 21st century Britain, exposing prejudice, danger and fear. Winner of the TMA Award for Best Direction, this unforgettable production from Frantic Assembly comes to Curve following the success of The Believers earlier this year.


In this exquisite cabaret of the senses, a diva melts into a rope, balloons and bubble wrap. Discover their artistic souls while bodies twist and fly. Seven performers of unbelievable ability bend the very fabric of reality. Sexy, funny and explosive, Circa’s Wunderkammer is a breathless cocktail of new circus, cabaret and vaudeville. Control and abandon, skill and humour, lyricism and anarchy all meld into a sinuous fugue of profound beauty. Circa is world-renowned for creating startling new ways to experience circus. Combining seemingly impossible physical feats with a poetic sensibility, its creations move, amaze and astonish.



MON 10 – TUE 11 NOV, 7.45PM STUDIO

Murmur and Inked is a new double bill from the Aakash Odedra Company. Curve Associate Artist, Aakash Odedra is one of Britain’s most sought after dancers. He has developed a distinctive movement style following intensive training with some of the most prestigious choreographers in the world. In Murmur, Aakash and Australian choreographer Lewis Major delve into the idea of warped and exaggerated realities. In a major collaboration with Arts Electronica Futurelab, the piece explores how the misconceptions of dyslexia can be revealed through visual design, light, sound, movement. Inked, choreographed by Olivier Award-winner, Damien Jalet, explores how the body becomes a place of transformation. The figures and drawings made on his own body reveal the inner duality of the dancer, who enters through a series of transformative stages in a self-seeking quest; an exploration of the body’s limits and powers.


Following their second series on Channel 4, British Comedy award-winning and BAFTA nominated duo Cardinal Burns, are ready to unleash a torrent of never-before-seen characters and familiar faces from the series.
Previous live shows have sold out in London, Edinburgh and Melbourne, and now the boys are ready to sell out all over again with their absurd, anarchic and unpredictable tapas of character comedy.



By Michael Morpurgo
Adapted & Directed by Simon Reade
FR1 21 NOV, 7.45PM  STUDIO
Winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year, Private Peaceful is by third Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, award-winning author of War Horse. Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. During the night he looks back at his short but joyful past growing up in rural Devon: his exciting first days at school; the accident in the forest that killed his father; his adventures with Molly, the love of his life; and the battles and injustices of war that brought him to the front line. Private Peaceful is a moving experience that tells the story of a young soldier’s final day in World War One and conveys the strength of human spirit.



The stage show based upon the book by Raymond Briggs and the film directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates
Directed by Bill Alexander
When a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two set off on a night-time quest for adventure. They meet Father Christmas, dancing penguins, reindeer and crowds of The Snowman’s friends, but will they escape evil Jack Frost and get back home for Christmas morning? Based on Raymond Brigg’s much-loved book and featuring Howard Blake’s classic song Walking InThe Air, this enchanting live show has thrilled audiences throughout the world.


Curve is delighted to mark Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by throwing him the biggest party he has ever seen with the largest Shakespeare Schools Festival to date. The Shakespeare Schools Festival is the UK’s largest youth drama festival and enables over 1,000 primary, secondary, and special schools to stage abridged Shakespeare productions in their local professional theatre. Each night local schools will perform a variety of different Shakespeare plays.


Festival of Choirs returns to Curve for the fourth year and brings two great evenings for all to enjoy.
On Wed 12 Nov, The Children Sing Gospel – will bring gospel choirs from local primary schools together to share their repertoires of gospel and inspirational music. Funded by Youth Music the event will form part of the Oh Happy Days Singing Programme which will also see the development of Curve Children’s Gospel Choir. On Sat 22 Nov, Festival of Choirs will feature local gospel and community choirs presenting uplifting and inspiring performances.



THU 27 – FRI 28 NOV, 7.45PM STUDIO
This affectionate, moving and fantastically funny homage to the greatest comedy double act that Britain has ever seen vividly brings back warm memories of a bygone era. Recreating some of the finest moments of Eric and Ernie’s television and stage performances, cherished moments from the archives sit alongside new material created by the performers. Together they make a brilliant comedy that recreates the all-ages appeal of Morecambe and Wise in their heyday.



2Funy Comedy presents a night of laughs with some of the UK’s comedy circuit favourites! First on the menu is Will-E, who has appeared live at The Apollo, and as part of P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy. Then there’s Kane Brown. Fearless, bold and energetic, Kane has graced the stage of Hackney Empire and The Comedy Store, to name a few. Previously voted ‘Best Female Comedienne,’ UK circuit favourite Glenda Jaxson is an extraordinary talent. Last but not least, Dane Baptiste has an unmistakable stage persona that has seen him perform at venues such as Just the Tonic and Glee Club.



Over the past five years Curve’s Christmas musicals have become increasingly popular, receiving widespread critical acclaim and attracting audiences from all over the UK. This Christmas, Artistic Director Paul Kerryson reunites the talented team behind its 5-star production of Chicago, with Choreographer Drew McOnie and Musical Director Ben Atkinson returning for brand new version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music from 28 November – 17 January.

Originally a hit Broadway and West End musical, then followed by the beloved 1965 movie version, The Sound of Music remains one of the most popular musicals of all time. Set against the idyllic landscape of the Austrian Alps, this heart-warming tale based on a true story follows spirited young nun Maria and her relationship with the Von Trapp family. With a timeless score including Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things and Climb Ev’ry Mountain, this global phenomenon continues to enchant audiences across the world.


Direct from a smash-hit West End season and international tour
Michael Rosen’s award-winning book We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is brought vividly and noisily to the stage in director Sally Cookson’s fun-filled adaptation set to Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. Join our intrepid adventurers on their quest to find a bear; as they wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud! Expect catchy songs, interactive scenes and plenty of hands-on adventure – plus a few special surprises!



A new version by Michael Rosen
A magical festive adventure for families
Follow Pinocchio and his grasshopper friend as they set out on an adventure – to find some fun! Now…if only his nose would just stay still! Hiccup Theatre join forces with acclaimed writer for children Michael Rosen (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) to bring Carlo Collodi’s classic tale to life in a sparkling new version, using puppetry, guaranteed to fill you with festive joy!


RichardIII centre to open

5th June 2014

Opening date set for King Richard lll Visitor Centre

LEICESTER’S new King Richard lll Visitor Centre: Dynasty, Death and Discovery, will open its doors to the public on Saturday 26th July.

Tickets for the unique visitor attraction – which will offer access to the King’s original burial site – will go on sale from today (Thursday June 5th).

King Richard III Visitor Centre
King Richard III Visitor Centre

The centre is located just 100 steps away from Leicester Cathedral where King Richard lll will be reburied in spring 2015.

More than 100,000 people are expected through its doors in its first year of operation, bringing an estimated £4.5 million to the local economy.

Iain Gordon, Director of the visitor centre said: “I’m delighted to announce that the King Richard lll Visitor Centre will be open to visitors from July 26th.

“We are looking forward to welcoming people from Leicester, and from all over the world, to learn more about the dramatic story of the king’s life, his brutal death at Bosworth Battlefield and the compelling story of his rediscovery.

“There are many different accounts of King Richard’s life,” he said. “In creating the exhibition we have tried to distil and interpret that information in a way that will inform and enthral everyone who walks through our door, and will hopefully inspire them to find out more about King Richard lll and the medieval city and county he knew.”

The centre, will tell the king’s story in three parts, through displays, interactive audio-visual elements, and colourful exhibits.
‘Dynasty’ tells the much debated story of the king’s life and times in a medieval England racked by decades of fighting in the Wars Of The Roses, detailing Richard’s rise to power as the last king from the great house of Plantagenet.

‘Death’ gives visitors the chance to learn about the key players in the Battle of Bosworth and how betrayal led to the king being cut down in the thick of battle while defending his crown.

This remarkable turn of events saw Henry VII seize the crown and ushered in a new chapter in the English monarchy: the Tudor dynasty.

Finally, ‘Discovery’ unearths the astonishing story of the archaeology, science and analysis carried out by the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Service, which rediscovered and identified the long-lost remains of the king after excavating a grave beneath a car park, on the former site of the medieval friary of the Grey Friars.

Completing the visitor experience will be a chance to visit the site of King Richard’s burial site, preserved in a quiet, respectful setting and with a contemplative atmosphere fitting for the last resting place of a slain warrior and anointed monarch.

Visitors will also be able to see a full-size, 3D replica skeleton created by Loughborough University. Scientists used CT scan data provided by Leicester University as part of their analysis of the King’s bones to create the 3D replica, which shows the king’s spinal curvature and the battle wounds he suffered at Bosworth.

Leicester’s City Mayor Peter Soulsby commissioned the creation of the visitor centre in the former Alderman Newton’s School, which is located just yards from the car park where the king’s remains were unearthed in August 2012.

“It seems hard to believe that we are just a few weeks away from opening the centre, less than two years since King Richard’s remains were discovered,” he said.

“And I am delighted that we are able to announce the opening date very soon after the High Court confirmed that Leicester Cathedral can proceed with its plans to reinter King Richard in the cathedral next spring.

“A huge amount of work has gone into transforming this historic building into what will be a world-class visitor attraction, and Leicester is ready to welcome visitors from home and abroad to enjoy it.”

Located on Peacock Lane, Leicester, the Victorian gothic building has been completely renovated inside and out to provide two floors of exhibition space, a courtyard café, shop and meeting rooms.

Prices will start at just £4.75 for a child’s ticket (three to 15 years), with adult tickets costing £7.95. Family tickets will give entry to two adults and two children for the discounted price of just £21.50. A special rate of £7.00 per person will be available to groups of 15 or more. A concessionary rate of £7.00 will also be available.

The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society. The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society.

Keep in touch with the latest news and developments on the centre on twitter and facebook.

Visit the King Richard III visitor centre website.

[Source:  Leicester City Council]

Summer of festivals

5th June 2014

Music at Riverside Festival

THE CREAM of local music will be taking centre stage at this weekend’s annual Riverside Festival.

The two-day free festival of fun and activities for all ages takes place on Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8, along the River Soar’s Mile Straight and on neighbouring Bede Park, and is one of the city’s biggest free events attracting thousands of visitors.

Musicians from across the city will be performing on the festival’s main stage throughout the weekend, including the winners and runners-up from this year’s Leicester Original Bands Showcase.

Winners electro-pop trio Tapestry and runners-up Beneath the Lights will perform in front of the festival crowds.

Saturday also features soul and Motown headliners Johnny and the Goodtime Boys, who will play from 6pm on the, highly-rated duo Mia and the Moon playing songs from their forthcoming album, and classic blues from Stu Crown and the Bobcats. Students from Gateway College will also perform a rock and pop showcase.

Sunday’s entertainment includes gentle lunchtime jazz from the Speakeasy Jazz Band, samba group Sambando and a World Cup-themed finale including latin grooves from the Tony Webster Band.

The ever-popular Sing for Water charity choir will also perform at 2pm alongside a steel pans performance from pupils of Shaftsbury Junior School.

The Riverside Festival features boat trips on the River Soar, activities for children including fantastic street performers and storytelling, and an eco village which is home to a giant tipi, drumming workshops, environmental-themed activities and carpentry workshops.

There will also be an arts street market, Ride Leicester’s BMX demonstrations, bike fixing sessions and a bike park.

A range of environmental-themed activities will return to nearby Castle Gardens, including a variety art and crafts workshops, woodland skills and a pets corner.

The event is run by Leicester City Council, with festival sponsors housing association Riverside, which is based on Western Boulevard.

Events run from 12noon to 7pm on the Saturday, and from 12noon to 5pm on the Sunday.

For full details visit:

[source: Leicester City Council]

More about local festivals

For latest news and information about music festivals, see Music in Leicester website.

Find out more about music at the Riverside festival from Music in Leicester.

For general information see Go Leicestershire website.

Leicester Cathedral Gardens

5th June 2014

Cathedral Gardens set to bloom

LEICESTER’S new Cathedral Gardens is set to bloom over the next few weeks as work on the ambitious £2million project enters its final stages.

Landscaping work in progress at Leicester Cathedral May 2014
Landscaping work in progress at Leicester Cathedral
May 2014

With much of the hard landscaping and paving nearing completion, and work to lay the new lawns now well underway, the new public gardens by Leicester Cathedral are now taking shape.

Work is underway to radically revamp the frontage to Leicester Cathedral May 2014
Work is underway to radically revamp the frontage to Leicester Cathedral
May 2014

The project is now about to enter a busy few weeks of planting.

The first of Cathedral Gardens’ 20 new trees will be planted today (5 June). These will include semi-mature juneberry trees, great white cherry trees and double geans.

The gardens will be planted with shrubs and colourful bedding plants over the coming weeks.

A single great white cherry tree will also be planted on Guildhall Lane, as part of work to create a new area of seating in the cathedral’s former private car park.

Work on the gardens in front of Leicester Cathedral May 2014
Work on the gardens in front of Leicester Cathedral
May 2014

Work to reinstate 50 decorative headstones is also underway. The headstones, which were carefully removed during the first phase of work at Cathedral Gardens, have been professionally restored and will stand in what is to be known as the ‘Churchyard Garden’. Others have been given a new home at Leicester’s Welford Road Cemetery.

Richard’s statue with white roses placed by the public

Leicester’s statue of King Richard III is also due to be reinstated at Cathedral Gardens later this month. The statue, which was given to the city by the Richard III Society in 1980, is currently undergoing restoration work at the studios of Lincolnshire-based Hirst Conservation.

Installation of a new artwork commemorating the life, death and discovery of Richard III will also begin in June. The artwork, entitled ‘Towards Stillness’, has been commissioned by Leicestershire County Council and created by Dallas Pierce Quintero . It will provide a centrepiece to a new ‘Master’s Garden’ being created on the original site of Wyggeston Hospital on the St Martins House’s former car park.

The statue of King Richard III in its new position in Cathedral Gardens, 2014
The statue of King Richard III
in its new position in Cathedral Gardens, 2014

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Cathedral Gardens is now entering a really exciting phase of work. The site is transforming on a daily basis. The new lawns and these first trees provide a glimpse of what people can look forward to when this wonderful green oasis, right in the heart of the city centre, opens in the summer.”

Rev Peter Hobson, Canon Missioner at Leicester Cathedral, said: “From Eden to Gethsemane, gardens have aways held a special place in Christian imagery. As Cathedral Gardens starts to ‘go green’, we can begin to imagine just how special a place it might become in the heart of this special city.”

Cathedral Gardens August 2014
Cathedral Gardens
August 2014

People will get a first chance to see Cathedral Gardens for themselves when it officially opens to the public on Saturday, 5 July. A full programme of free events to mark the opening celebrations will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Work on Cathedral Gardens is being carried out by specialist contractors P Casey (Land Reclamation) Ltd. The same company is also constructing the nearby Jubilee Square.

The £2.5million Cathedral Gardens project, which also includes resurfacing and other improvements along Peacock Lane, is being funded by the Diocese of Leicester, Leicester City Council and private donations, with support from Leicestershire County Council.

The project was awarded up to £1milllion for the European Regional Development Fund.

[Source: Leicester City Council]

See also:

News #2014

What’s on in #Leicester

Leicester to Bury #King

#RichardIII news

Plans for old #Phoenix arts centre


17th to 21st June


The Original Theatre Company & Birdsong productions present




BIRDSONG - 2014 UK TOUR - Peter Duncan as Jack Firebrace and George Banks as Stephen (Photo credit Jack Ladenburg)
BIRDSONG – 2014 UK TOUR – Peter Duncan as Jack Firebrace and George Banks as Stephen
(Photo credit Jack Ladenburg)

Peter Duncan, George Banks and Carolin Stoltz will be heading the cast of the 2014 national tour of Rachel Wagstaff’s stage play Birdsong, adapted from the novel by Sebastian Faulks, which comes to Leicester’s Curve theatre from 17 – 21 June.

Peter Duncan, will be playing the role of Jack Firebrace in Birdsong. Perhaps best known as a Blue Peter presenter, Peter began his acting career in the 1970s when he joined the National Theatre. Recent theatre credits include Denry Machin in The Card (for which he received an Olivier nomination for Best Actor in a Musical), Alan Ayckbourn‘s Things We Do For Love, the twins in Corpse, Stan Laurel in Laurel and Hardy, Macduff in Macbeth and Fantastic Mr Fox, both at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, and the title role in Charlie Peace – His Amazing Life And Outstanding Legend at Nottingham Playhouse and Coventry Belgrade’s B2.

BIRDSONG - 2014 UK TOUR - George Banks as Stephen, Carolin Stoltz as Isabelle (Photo credit Jack Ladenburg)
BIRDSONG – 2014 UK TOUR – George Banks as Stephen, Carolin Stoltz as Isabelle
(Photo credit Jack Ladenburg)

George Banks, whose previous theatre credits include the tour of The History Boys and Hobson’s Choice at the Sheffield Crucible, and Carolin Stoltz, known for her roles in Sky 1’s The Café, Emmerdale and The Inbetweeners Movie, will play the romantic leads of Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire.

Also in the cast will be Jonny Clarke (Bart McQueen in Hollyoaks), Selma Brook (Brigitte Rousselot in The Tudors), Malcolm James, James Staddon, Simon Lloyd, Lucy Grattan, Elizabeth Croft and Samuel Martin.

In pre-war France, a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their worlds upside down. As the war breaks out, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war, Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle and the idyll of his former life as his world explodes around him.

The 2013 tour was hugely successful and critically acclaimed, seen by over 75,000 people and receiving 4- and 5-star reviews, with audiences calling the show ‘simply stunning’. Sebastian Faulks is thrilled the show is being re-mounted for 2014, the year that will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

Sebastian, who joined the 2013 company on stage in a cameo role during its 200th performance in Brighton, has stated, “Both Rachel and I want this to be the definitive version of Birdsong on stage. The audience watch it and think, thank God I have never undergone all of this. These experiences are far outside the lives of most people but there is something about the way the production works which makes people identify and think, it could be me…”

Rachel Wagstaff previously adapted Sebastian Faulks’s The Girl at the Lion d’Or for BBC Radio 4 and she and Faulks are currently writing two screenplays together. She is a participant of Old Vic New Voices and her work has been performed at the annual 24 Hour Plays. Rachel added said, “Birdsong, while first and foremost a simply brilliant work of fiction, gives extraordinary insight into what it must have been like to witness such suffering on an unprecedented scale. I’m delighted that, in the year which marks one hundred years since war was declared, The Original Theatre Company and Birdsong Productions are launching a second regional tour of their beautiful and powerful production.”

The tour of Birdsong will continue to support Help for Heroes, after raising over £50,000 through collections and events on the 2013 tour.

Birdsong will again be directed by Alastair Whatley, with set design by Victoria Spearing, lighting by Alex Wardle for Charcoalblue and sound by Dom Bilkey.

Birdsong will be produced on tour by Alastair Whatley for The Original Theatre Company and Anne-Marie Woodley and Jon Woodley for Birdsong Productions Ltd.

BIRDSONG - 2014 UK TOUR (Photo credit Jack Ladenburg)
BIRDSONG – 2014 UK TOUR (Photo credit Jack Ladenburg)

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