Young dancers take over Sunderland Empire

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YOUNG dancers are set to perform for shoppers in a bid to help fund their “dream production” at a historic Wearside venue.

Members of The Worx Dance Theatre Arts have launched a drive to cover the cost of hiring the 105-year-old Sunderland Empire for a special one-night-only show.

Now the 70-strong group, which meets regularly at Infinity Bar and Entertainment Suite, in the city’s High Street West, has arranged to appear at The Bridges for a special performance to support the fund-raising.

Mum Vicky Toft, 28, who is helping to oversee the drive, said: “The group is looking to hire the Empire next February for its next showcase. The kids are, needless to say, ecstatic at the prospect.

“However, it’s a very expensive venue to hire and, alongside the show’s production and costume costs, it’s a small fortune.

“All the parents are assisting to pay the fees and fund-raising on their own.

“But, with a target of over £3,000, it’s just not enough.

Premises manager Vicky, whose six-year-old daughter Lily will feature in the performance at the shopping centre, said the dancers, aged from three to 17, are looking forward to the event.

“Most of the kids that attend the school had never danced before, at all, let alone sang in public,” said Vicky, from Ryhope. “Now in a matter of months the children love performing at any opportunity.

“We’re hoping the show is a success and have appealed to local businesses for help with tombola prizes.

“The Body Shop, Juniper’s Pantry, Sunderland Greyhound Stadium and Tesco have all been very generous with their donations.

“But we’re are appealing to smaller local business for help too and, if anyone has anything to offer, we would love them to get in touch to help make the fund-raising as successful as possible.”

Keeran Rose Greener, from South Hylton, launched the group about two years ago.

The 28-year-old said: “They work extremely hard and show dedication.

“I am so very proud of each and every one of them and have very high hopes for their future in performing.”

The group will be holding a Dance-athon at The Bridges on July 14, outside the Disney shop, 11.15am.

A fund-raising night will also take place at the Mountain Daisy pub, in Hylton Road, Millfield, on June 30.

Tickets are £3 and available on 0791 5516663 or by emailing

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho