Professional dancers are set to wow customers on the Tyne and Wear Metro this summer with a series of set-piece performances at stations.

The pop-up dance performances by the Newcastle-based Southpaw Dance Company mark the launch of Metro operator Nexus’ biggest ever community arts programme.

Between August and spring 2022 Metro will be brought to life in new ways through dance, song, music and visual arts projects involving people right across the region and funded by Arts Council England. The Metro Takeover programme will see major regional arts organisations including Sunderland Culture, Dance City and Cultural Spring run community projects and commissions to be showcased at stations across the busy urban transit system. Full details of the Metro Takeover will be announced by Nexus next month.

The first set of dance performances specially co-commissioned by Nexus and Dance City will be choreographed by Robby Graham of Southpaw Dance Company. The new work, REACH, will be performed by fourteen emerging dance artists that are part of the postgraduate company The Collective, based at Dance City.

REACH will be performed at three Metro stations at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm each day: 

• Wednesday August 4, Park Lane in Sunderland

• Thursday August 5, Tynemouth Metro station in North Tyneside

• Friday August 6, Ceremonial Way, Civic Centre, Near Haymarket Metro

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said:

“We will be turning Metro into a platform for community arts and live performances by creative people from across North East England over the coming year.
“We are launching this Metro Takeover with a little piece of history by welcoming Southpaw Dance Company and The Collective as the first professional dance group to perform at our stations in more than 40 years.
“From next month, with the support of cultural partners and Arts Council England, we will be promoting opportunities for communities to join new visual and performing arts projects with Metro providing a reach to new audiences. Creative arts and the barriers it breaks down are a great way to help people reconnect with Metro in their everyday lives.”


DanceCity Sunderland. Picture by Tom Banks

The dancers will perform a new dance-theatre production called REACH. Through the medium of dance, it brings home a sense of reconnecting and of hope through adversity after the pandemic. In a community-sourced narrative written by Lee Mattinson, it examines the possibilities and the optimism of re-connecting once again as the country tentatively emerges from lockdown, culminating in a celebration of the things that connect us and will support our recovery, through friends, family, community and reconnection.

Since 2013 Southpaw Dance Company, has created dance theatre productions, from small scale solo work to large scale outdoor spectaculars. Southpaw has developed an outstanding reputation for providing large scale community engagement productions, with nine such productions in the past six years. In response to the pandemic, Arts Council England and GX supported Southpaw to develop the first stage of an Augmented Reality App, enabling us to bring dance into homes and public spaces.

Find out more about Southpaw Dance Company at South Paw Dance Company | Creators of indoor and outdoor dance theatre

REACH by Southpaw Dance Company has been co-commissioned by Nexus and Dance City, supported by North Tyneside Council.