On Monday 3rd April, a group of young dancers from Strike A Light’s Youth Dance Company, performed a dance routine on a train between Gloucester and Chepstow. ‘Tunnel Vision’ was especially commissioned by Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership (GCRP) and CrossCountry as a way for young people to explore Gloucestershire and further afield through becoming confident train travellers, as part of an ongoing GCRP strategy to improve health and wellbeing through connecting urban youth with rural places and environments. The 5 dancers started at Gloucester station, accompanied by friends, family and performance ticket holders with a sneak peek of the routine on the station platform.
The dancers then took their seats alongside the performance ticket holders in a dedicated carriage on the Transport for Wales train, heading for Chepstow. During the 30-minute journey, that follows the River Severn, the dancers performed their routine within the carriage and the vestibule. Once arrived into Chepstow, the performance continued on the station platform, finishing in glorious sunshine in the picturesque Welsh town.
A spokesperson for GCRP said:
“Our partnership working with Strike A Light, CrossCountry and Transport for Wales last year with Strike A Light’s theatre youth theatre performing ‘Us’ on a moving train was a huge success, we wanted to continue this work to see more young people engage with the sustainable transport agenda through a participative, community-led way. ‘Tunnel Vision’, performed by Strike A Light’s Dance company has shown that putting people and communities at the forefront of our projects helps bridge the gap between transport providers and local communities”.
Emma-Jane Benning, Co-Artistic Director, Strike A Light said:
"We love creating opportunities for young people to perform – especially when those performances can happen in places you wouldn't expect! Dancing on a moving train obviously comes with all sorts of challenges but the young people did brilliantly. Performance isn't all about theatres or stages: it's about people coming together and bringing a space to life. We're really excited for more projects like this in future. "
Geraint Morgan, Community Rail Manager South, Transport for Wales, said:
“We were delighted to support the Partnership and Strike a Light in welcoming the young people on board our service to Chepstow. In addition to providing a platform for the performance, the opportunity to travel by train helps young people gain confidence to use public transport and explore the wider network”.
Richard Gibson, Stakeholder Manager West and Wales, CrossCountry, said:
“It was great to support this project for a second year. The Strike a Light team and GCRP have done a fantastic job brightening up the day for many rail travellers, and the young performers really got across the message about using public transport to explore the wider communities.”
Find out more about Strike A Light’s Youth Dance Company https://strikealight.org.uk/2020/05/02/youth-dance-company/ and sign up to their newsletter to hear about upcoming events and performances https://mailchi.mp/strikealightfestival/mailing-list-signup