Dance spectacular warms up The Word: Special event pulls crowds to new South Shields library

The bitter winter weather failed to stop hundreds of people gathering at South Shields Market Place to witness a dance spectacular marking the opening of The Word.

Friday, 4th November 2016, 8:27 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:02 pm
Wordplay in South Shields Market Place

A huge screen was set up outside the town’s newest cultural venue – complete with lights and staging – to showcase the performance, known as WordPlay.

As the crowd stood in darkness, images depicting the borough’s well-known landmarks flashed upon the screen before video sequences went on to tell the story of the industrial heritage of South Shields – featuring our mining and shipbuilding industry.

Wordplay in South Shields Market Place

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The footage was accompanied by more than 100 dancers from South Shields and Sunderland as it went on to show how words have played an important part in our history and continue to do so today.

The performance was put together by Southpaw Dance Company and Event International through a commission by The Cultural Spring and South Tyneside Council.

Southpaw Director Robby Graham said: “I’m a huge fan of Novak and their work and the video they’ve produced for WordPlay! adds so much to the performance.

“After working so well together on Rush, Adam and the Novak team knew instinctively what we were after and have produced exactly what we wanted.”

Wordplay in South Shields Market Place

The video footage was put together by Novak, a company which specialises in animation, design and immersive experiences.

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for leisure and culture, said: “This event is just the first of many outstanding cultural shows in our new Market Place.”

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, opened its doors to the public last month, and incorporates library and digital media space and cafe.

The Cultural Spring is working in the following ten wards: Castletown, Red House, Southwick, Fulwell and Roker/St Peter’s wards in Sunderland, and Biddick Hall and All Saints, Boldon, Cleadon, Whitburn/Marsden and Whiteleas in South Tyneside.

It has three founding partners, the University of Sunderland, the Customs House in South Shields and the Sunderland Musical, Arts and Culture (Mac) Trust.

For more information about the Cultural Spring project, go to