South Shields dance show highlights women’s rights battle

A dance performance celebrating the dedication of the suffragette movement is coming to South Tyneside.

a scene from Deeds Not Words
a scene from Deeds Not Words

Abbott Dance Theatre’s Deeds Not Words was created to mark the 100 th anniversary of some women being given the right to vote in 1918 and features professional dancers alongside a community ensemble.

It is coming to The Customs House, South Shields, next week as part of a national tour.

Alyssa Lisle in the show

The Newcastle-based company brought Launch Day to The Customs House last year, which brought artist Alexander Millar’s famous ‘Gadgies’ to life on stage, celebrating the north east’s industrial past and shipyard communities.

Deeds Not Words will be performed on Thursday, February 7, at 7.30pm.

Artistic director Kristin Kelly Abbott said: “In this current social climate, gender equality and women’s rights are major issues. I wanted to create this piece to reflect on and to reveal how far women have come and how far we have yet to go.

“As a young girl growing up in Ireland, I attended an all-girls Catholic school until the age of 18. I was never taught about women’s history or the suffragettes. It was not part of the curriculum.

Deeds Not Words is coming to The Customs House


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“Today, there are still only a handful of schools in the UK that educate young people about this subject.

“This project is an opportunity to educate and engage young people in the story of the suffragettes and the importance their fight holds for women all over the world in today’s society.”

Deeds Not Words was a motto adopted by Emmeline Pankhurst and the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Kelly added: “Rather than simply watching a performance, Deeds Not Words will be an experience right from the start. The audience will experience striking and athletic choreography, an intergenerational cast comprising of professional dancers and community participants and an all-female choir.”


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Alyssa Lisle and Johnathan Blake in Deeds Not Words

Tickets cost £10 and are available from the box office.

The recommended age is 11-plus.