University students reach for the stars in Sunfest

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DANCERS will be showcasing their talents at a contemporary dance event this summer as part of a creative partnership.

The University of Sunderland students will tackle a range of diverse subjects, including London’s Underground, when they perform Staging the Dance.

The event is made up of first and third year students who have taken on professional roles of choreographers, stagers and performers.

Over the course of two nights, there will be 12 different performances each about 10 minutes long, and based on a personal interest or experience significant to the choreographers.

Staging the Dance is part of the Sunfest creative partnership, organised by the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, in which students run their own exciting programme of theatre, dance and music during May.

For the last three years the university has worked in partnership with The Customs House in South Shields, to stage a popular season of events.

Arts Centre Washington joined the Sunfest initiative in 2013, and this year is hosting all drama performances throughout this month.

The Sunfest venture was launched to offer something diverse and exciting to regular theatre-goers.

It was the first time such a venture had been trialled in the North East. It also offers all the students involved the practical experience to work in an established organisation and take what they’re learning in higher education to a live audience.

Elysia Byrne, who is in the final year of a combined studies degree in Dance and Childhood Studies, said: “We have all worked incredibly hard to ensure our performances are perfected and of a professional standard.

Rachel Emms-Hobbins, programme leader in Performing Arts and Senior Lecturer in Dance, added: “The research and development process has allowed students to focus on areas such as conception, the London Underground, suicide and the environment to name a few.”

Ray Spencer MBE, executive director at The Customs House, said: “We are delighted to again be welcoming the students from the University of Sunderland.”