Journalists got a sneak peek at Leicester’s new £61 million, state-of-the-art theatre complex Curve at a press conference held today in London to announce the inaugural season, which opens in December (See Today’s Other News) – and we wanted to share the impressive photos with you!

Designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, the glass-facaded, five-storey Curve houses two auditoria - one with up to 800 fixed seats and the other with a versatile 400 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.

The new building was originally due to be completed, with an estimated price tag of £32 million, in 2005, but construction was delayed and costs mushroomed when the City Council opted to spend more on the unique glass front that exposes the inner-workings of the venue and theatre-making to passers-by. Ruth Eastwood, chief executive of Leicester Theatre Trust, said today that in addition to offering a warm welcome to the diverse local population, the aim with Curve is to present “as many and different artistic events as possible”. The theatre, employing 69 full-time staff, sits at the centre of Leicester’s new St George’s cultural quarter, part of an ongoing city-wide regeneration programme.

Artists including Kenneth Branagh and Stephen Sondheim have lauded the new venue, with Sondheim moving to congratulate Leicester council for its support of the project: “The new theatre looks sensational both inside and out, and will be the perfect home for the company … If other cities follow Leicester’s example, the arts will flourish.” Branagh heralded Curve as an “exciting and innovative building” adding that new space will prove “inspirational to those lucky enough to work there”.

The inaugural season was announced today by artistic director Paul Kerryson, and will include a revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman starring Marc Warren}, the European premiere of [Adam Guettel’s six-time, Tony Award-winning 2005 Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza the world premiere of fairytale musical Simply Cinderella directed and choreographed by Adam Cooper, and a new production of As You Like It directed by Tim Supple (See Today’s Other News). Speaking today of his vision for the new venue, Kerryson said: “We hope to create a destination for everyone, from audience to artist, as we make the first step in our creative journey together.”

- by Theo Bosanquet & Terri Paddock