Festive favourite White Christmas is showing at Leicester’s Curve theatre and students from De Montfort University (DMU) are among the cast.
Photo by Catherine Ashmore
Ellie Page, Sarah Rabin, Phoebe Jimenez-Lewis and Sam Cooper are the DMU students working with Curve’s artistic director Nikolai Foster to bring the timeless musical to the city, which follows the story of two veterans and their successful song-and-dance act after World War II.
They had the chance to join the cast thanks to their involvement with the Curve Young Company, which enables young people to take part in professional performance and production activity.
This is final-year Drama student Ellie’s third show at Curve, having previously been in the community production of Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, as well as the retelling of classic drama The Crucible through her course.
The 22-year-old from Milton Keynes said: “You could describe us as extras in White Christmas, but the chance to interact with and learn from a fully professional cast has been invaluable.
“It’s not just about the opportunities you get, but how you utilise them. I’ve been speaking to the musical director who has given me some great insight for my dissertation and leads that could potentially kick-start my future career.”
Curve Young Company at the White Christmas guest night
Being cast as the fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof was an unexpected opportunity for the Grade 8 violinist to combine her passion for both music and acting.
“Thanks to Curve, I feel I’ve found a clear path to pursue, which is more than I ever imagined I would have before graduating. Everyone wants to do a job they enjoy and that’s my motivation,” she said.
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Sarah, a third-year Speech and Language Therapy student with a background in drama and musical theatre, has particularly valued learning from professional voice users.
“I’ve had the chance to talk to the cast and the accent and dialect coach. Learning about their vocal health, training and experience has been really useful, especially because I’d like to go on to study an MA combining voice, therapy and drama,” said the 20-year-old from London.
Sarah and Ellie in costume backstage
Like Ellie, Sarah was in Curve’s Fiddler on the Roof, giving her the chance to teach the 100-strong cast about Shabbat, Judaism’s day of rest and the seventh day of the week.
She said: “It was a beautiful experience getting to share a really special part of being Jewish with so many receptive people.
“Being involved with Curve Young Company has also given me the chance to be a part of the community. Leicester has become more than just the city I study in, it’s my home now too.”
For Phoebe, being from Leicester means she has been involved with Curve Young Company for more than three years.
The 20-year-old first-year Contour Fashion student said: “Working with a fully professional cast on White Christmas is definitely different to anything I’ve done before and so rewarding.
“My passion for performing arts really complements my course, as I get to see first-hand intricate costumes across many different eras. White Christmas alone spans from 1944 to 1954.”
As part of the musicals offshoot of Curve Young Company, Phoebe has also been the assistant stage manager on Curve’s Oklahoma! and was part of a group that wrote, produced and performed their own show called The Siren Club.
“Curve is an incredible space to learn and create in. It’s such an inclusive and welcoming theatre and I feel really lucky to be a part of it.”
As well as the valuable experience it offers, second-year Drama student Sam Cooper was drawn to Curve because of its 'sense of community'.
“You often see the cast, both big names and aspiring actors, interacting with each other outside of rehearsals and that really does shine in a performing environment,” said the 20-year-old.
Book tickets for White Christmas online, showing at Curve until 13 January 2019.
Posted on Wednesday 19th December 2018