Drama students get to help stage world premiere at Curve placement

Drama students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have helped stage the world premiere of a new play, which has been given national acclaim.

India Grey and Barnaby Nyombi have been on placement at Curve theatre in Leicester, working behind the scenes to help produce Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual.

(L-R) Jay Varsani (Riaz) and Hareet Deol (Suf) - Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual - Photography by Ellie Kurttz (1)

The play is based on the biography of Riaz Khan, former football hooligan and member of Leicester City’s infamous ‘Baby Squad’, now reformed and a lecturer at DMU, encouraging young people to stay away from violence and hooliganism.

Having spent three weeks at Curve, shadowing production roles, the students were present at the world premiere of the play – directed by Nikolai Foster - which has opened to warm reviews from national theatre critics, with the Guardian giving it four stars, calling it a ‘tour de force’.

(L-R) Hareet Deol (Suf) and Jay Varsani (Riaz) - Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual - Photography by Ellie Kurttz (1)

India said it was exciting to be working on a premiere, especially one set in Leicester.

She said: “’Memoirs’ is a very unique storyline but completely centred around Leicester and the people and the community.

“And to be part of that, to go to university here and then work on a play at Curve, on that performance, has been incredible.”

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Catch the final Leicester performances of Memoirs of an Asian Footbal Casual

Barnaby, who is keen to become a stage director, said the staff at Curve had tailored his placement to give him that experience.


He said: “I have been helping the actors, giving little bits of advice. Curve has really given me the opportunity to watch Nikolai’s entire rehearsal process and see how he takes it from the first read-through right through to previews and the final performance.

“The staff here have responded to us fantastically. I’ve been really surprised by how they’ve treated us as members of staff and they’ve given us that respect.”


Placements at DMU are organised through #DMUworks, the university’s work experience and career programme, which offers employability opportunities to every student.

“I think this will be unbelievably useful when leaving university and trying to find a job because work experience is probably the most valuable credit to have.

“It just gives you that extra foot in the door. You’ll have done it before and you’ll just know that bit more about it.”

Posted on Friday 5th October 2018

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