Young dancers raise the roof at Sunderland's new Fire Station venue

A popular Sunderland dance school took over the city’s newest cultural venue for a day of rehearsals and a sell-out performance.

Friday, 15th July 2022, 3:23 pm

And Kathleen Knox, who founded and runs the Kathleen Knox School of Dance, said she was delighted with the experience and is already talking to The Fire Station Auditorium about booking another event.

“The venue is amazing – the stage, the lighting, the sound, everything about it. We were made to feel very welcome and the technicians and staff were so helpful and very professional,” said Kathleen.

The school hired the venue and about 75 dancers spent from noon to early evening rehearsing a performance which showcased a variety of dance genres, from tap to ballet, from contemporary to commercials.

Kathleen Knox Dance School on stage at the Fire Station

“We rehearsed in spaces throughout the building before performing to a sell-out audience of almost 500 at 7pm. The performance went very well, we had all sorts of dance styles with different performance themes too – we had a Shrek section, a waitress section and a Dream Girls section, for instance,” explained Kathleen.

“The Fire Station staff were only too happy to help and we used all of the building – the theatre, the stage, all of the dressing rooms and the mezzanine and foyer bar areas. We had a proper dancefloor on stage which was great. The Fire Station team even helped us market the performance and then

helped us sell the tickets.

“We’ve been at various venues over the years, the last one being through in Newcastle, but The Fire Station was perfect for us,” she added.

The dance school hired the venue. Photo by Paul Wilson

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Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, the organisation that runs The Fire Station, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Kathleen Knox School of Dance to our venue and thrilled the dancers and their audience enjoyed their time with us.

“The Fire Station Auditorium is such a flexible venue and perfect for such hires. Our purpose-built dance stage is the perfect platform for any form of dance and we can offer four different stage formats. It can be configured with various audience capacities and with seated or standing layouts.

“We can accommodate a seated audience of up to 550, while our standing capacity is 800 - and our technical facilities like lighting and sound are second to none."

Fire Station Auditorium.

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