Students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are getting stuck into rehearsals for a frenetic retelling of cult classic A Clockwork Orange at Curve theatre.
Anthony Burgess’ dystopian masterpiece – immortalised by Stanley Kubric for the big screen – is a commentary on serious social, political and economic issues including adolescence and whether a person can truly be reformed without choice.
Fusing Beethoven with balletic violence, the stage adaptation gives 20 first, second and final-year Drama Studies and Performing Arts students the opportunity to work in a professional environment thanks to DMU’s ongoing partnership with Curve.
Julia Thomas, Curve’s Resident Director, said: “The stage adaptation was Burgess’ response to having his work taken out of his hands and made into a film. This was his way of taking back ownership.
“Our retelling is a new way to enjoy such an iconic title. The issues covered feel very relevant in the current political climate, especially at a time when more people than ever are questioning their place in society.”
Performed in promenade, A Clockwork Orange will be an immersive experience with audiences standing throughout and invited to move around as the story unfolds.
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Drama Studies and English student Hannah Gooden is one of just four first years chosen to perform and is busy immersing herself in her three different roles.
The 19-year-old from Birmingham said: “One of the main reasons I chose DMU was that there are so many great theatres in Leicester. I remember coming to watch Lord of the Flies at Curve, so to transition from an audience member to a performer here feels amazing.
“Playing Mary Alexander, the wife of an academic who is writing a paper on human conditioning called A Clockwork Orange, is definitely challenging, but our adaptation takes a metaphorical approach to the ultra-violence and sensitive topics presented in the novel.
“The best part so far has been getting to know second and third-year students and getting their perspectives. Performing in a professional theatre production is definitely broadening my horizons.”
Deep in conversation: DMU students working closely with Julia Thomas, Curve's Resident Director
Currently in his final year of Drama Studies, Jake Brown feels he is getting even more out of this opportunity thanks to taking part in last year’s performance of Willy Russell’s Our Day Out.
“I’m enjoying the challenge of playing four characters this year, as opposed to having one larger role last year. I’ve also found that rehearsing in more intensive blocks of time this time round is allowing me to really develop my characters.”
Thanks to the Engaging with Creative Industries module on his course, Jake is also on work placement with the Curve Young Company, working closely with the director on productions and learning about admin processes such as licensing.
He said: “It’s so surreal interacting with people you recognise and look up to in the industry, but everyone at Curve is so nice and treats you on the same level. It gives you the confidence that anything is achievable if you just put your mind to it.”
Tracy Cruickshank, Head of Drama at DMU, said: “Working with Curve is an opportunity for our students to do challenging work and develop their skills in a professional context. Our annual collaboration is one of the highlights of our calendar.”
Julia added: “I find it very rewarding seeing students come in as individuals and develop as an ensemble. It’s joyful working with actors who are here to learn and reaping real rewards out of this commitment.”
Tickets are now on sale for A Clockwork Orange, which is showing from Thursday 18 until Saturday 20 May.
Posted on Wednesday 29th March 2017