Theatre will return to the heart of Leicester later this year with the opening of Curve, the new £52 million, state-of-the-art theatre complex built in the city’s new Cultural Quarter as a replacement for the Leicester Haymarket, which closed in January 2007 (See News, 9 Oct 2006). Curve’s inaugural production will be the world premiere of the new fairytale-inspired musical Simply Cinderella, which will run from 9 December 2008 (previews from 4 December) to 24 January 2009.

Simply Cinderella will be directed and choreographed by former Royal Ballet principal Adam Cooper. Outside of the ballet world, Cooper rose to popular prominence as the lead Swan in Matthew Bourne's male Swan Lake for Adventures in Motion Pictures, which won him the Time Out and Evening Standard Awards for Best Dance Performance. On film, he appeared briefly as the adult Billy - again playing the Swan - in 2000’s Billy Elliot.

Cooper has also had success in musical theatre in the Leicester co-produced revivals of On Your Toes and Singin' in the Rain, both of which he choreographed and starred in, Guys and Dolls in the West End and, most recently, Zorro on tour. He has also choreographed Grand Hotel at the Donmar Warehouse, Side by Side by Sondheim in the West End and, care of his own Adam Cooper Productions, the dance premiere of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (See News, 10 Mar 2005).

Simply Cinderella has music and lyrics by Grant Olding, whose credits include Three Sides, Tracey Beaker Gets Real and scores for the plays Southwark Fair, The Alchemist and The Man of Mode at the National Theatre, where he’s under commission to write another new musical expected for a 2009 premiere (See The Goss, 3 Oct 2007). The book is by Olding’s long-term collaborator Toby Davies, with whom he’s written Spittin’ Distance and Yeti an Abominamusical.

Simply Cinderella was written especially for the Curve. Artistic director Paul Kerryson commented: “I am really thrilled to be welcoming such an exciting creative collaboration of Grant, Toby and Adam to Curve. Their commitment to this project exemplifies the interest and excitement surrounding Leicester’s new theatre.” Curve’s full opening season will be announced in September 2008.

Designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, the glass-facaded Curve comprises two auditoria - one with 750 fixed seats and the other with a versatile 350 seats – which can be opened out into one. When the 32-tonne steel walls separating the stage and the foyer are lifted, the stage will also be visible from street level. Curve is a partnership project led by Leicester City Council, with Leicester Theatre Trust and Phoenix Arts as contributing partners. It’s the successor to the Leicester Haymarket, which was founded in 1973.

- by Terri Paddock