Dancing in the Museum

Published: 24 October 2020
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Sarah Golding, Alys North and Peter Pearson of Adam Russell Dance rehearse in the Great Hall of The Discovery Museum

Dance City and The Discovery Museum, which are close together on either side of the city’s St James’ Boulevard, are co-operating to offer extra free dance rehearsal space to local dance artists to support them during the pandemic.

“We recognise that the strain on our building’s capacity has compromised the availability of free studio space that is vital to many artists working in the region,” a statement from Dance City said. “We hope that expanding our remit to spaces outside our landmark Newcastle and Sunderland buildings will go some way to remedy this.”

The museum space is the Great Hall which, prior to lockdown, was regularly used for a host of different celebrations and events including weddings, conferences and formal dinners. In fact, dance performances have also been held there. In March 2016, for example, State of Grace used it for the first sharing of And All the Humans Will Be Eliminated.

“We’re very happy to be able to support our cultural neighbours Dance City as well as hosting the first artist’s residency in the magnificent Great Hall,” Nick Butterly, Customer and Facilities Manager at Discovery Museum, said. “Abundant space for people to socially distance and Discovery Museum’s stringent sanitation measures means artists can feel safe and focus on their work. Although we’ve had to make a few changes to how things work here, we’re delighted to be open for visitors too, and that we’re able to keep finding new ways for people to use the museum.”

Artist Adam Russell and his company were the first to be in residency in the Great Hall this week for the development of his latest work Love Dances that was awarded a bursary by Dance City via its online SOUP platform event earlier this year. Eliot Smith Dance and Patrick Ziza will follow suit in the coming weeks.