Talented young performers get new chance to shine in Sunderland

More than 20 pupils are benefitting from the initiative.
More than 20 pupils are benefitting from the initiative.

Budding young performers in Sunderland are set to get the chance to develop and showcase their skills as part of a new partnership between two education providers.

Sunderland College has linked up with Thornhill Academy to set up a drama and dance company for over 20 pupils.

This new partnership shows the resilience of the arts in Sunderland and how there are young people who want to study the creative arts alongside more academic subjects

Sheree Rymer

The group gets together every Wednesday afternoon at the school, based on Thornholme Road, Sunderland.

The initiative will run until the end of the academic year, when the youngsters will star in a final performance at the college’s Arts Academy Theatre.

Sheree Rymer, curriculum manager for creative arts at Sunderland College, said: “The interest from schools wanting to work in partnership with us to ensure the arts is represented in the curriculum offer has been overwhelming.

“It is a clear indication that keeping curriculum academically focused does not cater for those students who want to broaden their skills.

“With this new partnership, the college is attempting to bridge that gap.

“This new partnership shows the resilience of the arts in Sunderland and how there are young people who want to study the creative arts alongside more academic subjects.”

The pupils taking part in the drama workshops are currently rehearsing for the musical Blood Brothers.

Sunderland College drama lecturer Jonathan Wharton said: “The school pupils at Thornhill Academy have expressed a real appetite for the arts.

“Unfortunately, these pupils have not had the opportunity to take drama within their curriculum and therefore do not see it as a prospective career path.

“Their ability is developing week by week as they rehearse for their performance of Blood Brothers.

“Through their rehearsals they are gaining and developing transferable skills that can be used, not only within drama, but within further studies and life itself.

“It’s amazing to see the students at Thornhill Academy flourish in confidence and mindfulness, challenging themselves to achieve the highest standard in a subject they are passionate about.”

Dance lecturer Lauren Robinson is delivering the dance workshop at Thornhill Academy.

She said: “I am very impressed with the standard and talent so far – the students have demonstrated individuality and confidence and have all expressed their excitement towards the final dance performance in May.

“It is an excellent opportunity to work in partnership with local secondary schools as it offers a new lifeline for dance in education.”