DMU students retell classic American drama at Curve theatre

It’s a thrilling portrayal of the Salem witch trials and a powerful commentary on McCarthyism – now students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are retelling Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

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Rehearsals at Curve are underway

Set in 1692 and written in 1953, the play makes poignant points about two distinct times in history where superstition and repression were exploited for emotional and political gain.

The gripping new production, performed by a talented company of 20 Drama Studies and Performing Arts students thanks to DMU’s partnership with Curve, is a chance to see classic American theatre with a modern relevance.

Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie, Director at Curve, said: “It’s a very well-written play which resonates with what’s currently going on globally.

“Having the courage to call out something that’s wrong and dealing with the implications of doing so, as well as the themes of power and narcissism, have an enormous amount to say to a modern audience.”

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Samantha getting into character

For final-year Drama student Samantha Walkley, this is her third collaboration with Curve, having performed in Our Day Out during her first year at DMU and A Clockwork Orange last year.

She said: “I would have been stupid not to take these incredible opportunities. You don’t really learn about all aspects of the theatre until you’re in a studio with a director and working somewhere like Curve gives you skills you won’t gain anywhere else.

“This year, it’s quite exciting doing something so well-known and historical. I’m looking forward to us leaving our stamp on a play that’s had so many adaptations.”

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Samantha plays Judge Hathorne, one of two judges presiding over the court. She added: “I absolutely love my role. He’s a brilliant character, one with traits that I’ve never had the chance to play before so it’s a nice change.”

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Calum deep in conversation

Calum Harris, who is also in his final year of Drama Studies, said: “I wanted to grab this opportunity while I was still at DMU and had the chance to. It will be a strong addition to my portfolio and I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t do it.

“It’s been great working with Siobhán, who has cool ideas for us taking our adaptation to a dark and strange place. Her approach requires us to research the real characters and circumstances the play is based on, which has been a really interesting process.

“I play Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth, the chief judge of the court and the instigator of it all. I’ve never played a character with such authority before and I’m enjoying the challenge.”

Siobhán added: “Curve is a very special building and we’re lucky to be performing with access to such advanced technology and studio spaces.

“Personally, I’m really enjoying working with the students. I can’t imagine many of them have had an experience like this but I’m treating them as I would any professional, while filling in the blanks.

“My aim is to ensure that when they finish working with me, they will be equipped for any professional role and on a level playing field with experienced actors.”

Tickets are now on sale for The Crucible, which is showing at Curve from Thursday 3 until Saturday 5 May.

Posted on Thursday 19th April 2018

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