Finishing touches added to dance spectacular in South Shields to mark The Word’s opening

A six-week programme of workshops has prepared the dancers for Thursdays spectacular in South Tyneside.

A six-week programme of workshops has prepared the dancers for Thursdays spectacular in South Tyneside.

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Performers are adding the finishing touches to a dance spectacular which is set to mark the opening of South Tyneside’s latest cultural venue this week.

More than 100 dancers from South Tyneside, Sunderland and Newcastle have been rehearsing for weeks in preparation for WordPlay!

The Word opened last Saturday.

The Word opened last Saturday.

The free, large-scale choreographed performance will celebrate the opening of The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in Market Place, South Shields.

The Cultural Spring, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, jointly commissioned Southpaw Dance Company and Event International to direct and produce the event.

It will take place on Thursday outside the venue after a six-week programme of workshops.

Southpaw director Robby Graham said: “Six professional Southpaw dancers have been working with our dancers and they’ll also be performing with them on Thursday.

It’s a large site and we’re hoping to get several thousand people in the audience

Robby Graham

“WordPlay! will reflect on the rich heritage of South Tyneside and explore the proud, rich literary history of the borough. But it’s not just about the past – we’ll be celebrating the possibilities and opportunities that The Word brings to Shields, South Tyneside, the regional as well as the UK and internatioanlly.

“It is a very visual piece with lots of special lighting and video projection – it will also involve a few surprises.

“It’s a large site and we’re hoping to get several thousand people in the audience.”

In order to build the stage for the event, the main doors to The Word will be closed from 4pm on Sunday until 7pm on Monday. The Word will remain fully open, with access via the side entrance.

Between Tuesday and Thursday, the main doors to The Word will be open and can be accessed from the back of the stage, where clear signage will be in place.

The Word will be fully open throughout the staging process, but will be closing early on Thursday at 5.30pm to prepare for the event.

After the event, the main doors to The Word will be closed again on Friday to dismantle the stage.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader with responsibility for leisure and culture, said: “This event promises to be a stunning visual spectacle.

“We apologise for the temporary entry arrangements to The Word but I am certain people will think it worthwhile once they see the performance.

“This is just the first of many outstanding cultural shows in our new Market Place.”