Sunderland’s marvellous dance tour inspiring children to read

Sunderland Road Dahl Dance

The books of Roald Dahl hold a special place in many people’s lives, with their distinctive descriptive style and the unforgettable images by Sir Quentin Blake, but a new generation are set to enjoy the works as they are being used to inspire school children to read. 

Whizzpopping Stories is an original dance production created by University of Sunderland students and influenced by three of Dahl’s best-loved works - The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

In a colourful and eclectic show the student’s will bring to life his work through incredible costumes, sets, and dance styles. The Dance University of Sunderland Company (DUSC) are set to tour the region’s primary schools, beginning in January 2015.

Members of the public can also enjoy the production when the troop comes to The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland, on November 20 at 6:30pm. The free performance in the central square is designed to provide a taste of the upcoming eight week tour.

Rachel Emms-Hobbins, Senior Lecturer in Performance Arts, helped the students create and choreograph the dance.

She said: “There are no dull moments in Roald Dahl’s books – there’s always lots going on, funny bits, tricks and surprises. Schools will enjoy something very similar in Whizzpopping Stories - 50 minutes of vibrant dance performance using spoken word, costume, props, music, recorded narration and books.

“It is an interactive experience, the chance to learn a little more about Roald Dahl and also see some characters they know come to life. The schools will also have two short workshops based on one or two of the stories, therefore the children will learn how to take a story and bring it to life using their bodies and imaginations.”

The production is assessed work, part of the student’s academic module at the University of Sunderland. Alongside their performance commitments they are required to develop transferable skills such as time management and communications by taking up roles such as promotion and marketing.

Students are encouraged to learn these skills as they reflect how they will be working in the dance industry in their future careers; improving employability skills by developing abilities that are relevant within the arts – skills which are transferable across other graduate careers.

Any schools interested in the DUSC dance tour can find out more information by emailing

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Did you know?

Blockbuster West End shows are staged at the Sunderland Empire, the biggest theatre between Edinbugh and Manchester.


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