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Preview: Launch Day on tour

New Dance Performance Celebrates North East’s Industrial Past

Launch Day
Berwick Maltings Theatre and Arts Centre - Friday 8th April 2016
Hexham Queens Hall Arts Centre - Wednesday 13th April 2016
Washington Arts Centre - Thursday 28th April 2016
An exciting new dance performance celebrates the history of the North East in all its industrial glory. Launch Day by regionally-based Dancer and Choreographer Kristin Kelly Abbott draws its inspiration from paintings by Alexander Millar, a renowned Scottish artist based in the North East, known for his large-scale paintings of ‘Gadgies’, or working people of the region and its industrial past.

Alexander Millar noted  'I was so delighted to be able to see what I've spent the last twenty years of my life painting and trying to capture, all that I remember from my childhood on canvas. Now, here I can see a wonderful interpretation of my work put to dance where it magically comes to life and has the added wonder of of being on stage, where it creates all the drama and theatre that dance and music is able to bring to everyone's attention. It is truly breathtaking. I feel incredibly humbled and excited all rolled into one'
Kelly-Abbott crafts iconic images bringing Millar's characters to life on stage. Those who built the ships are portrayed not only at work but during their social time - in the pubs and at the football. These people were an integral part in the economic boom time of the North East. Using movement influenced by the paintings, and informed by research with workers from the ship-building industry, Launch Day is a celebration of North East life, its culture and the industry that represents its past, present and future.

Kristin Kelly-Abbott explained  I am honoured and excited to bring Alexander Millar's gadgies to life on stage. Launch Day is an iconic dance theatre performance for the North East reflecting the hard working people who have made it what it is today.'

With stunning large-scale projections of Millar’s paintings, powerful, athletic and evocative choreography and a soundtrack featuring music by Mark Knopfler and composer Breifne Holohan, the work will enchant anyone who has an interest in the industrial history of the North East and will also be enjoyable and entertaining to those new to dance. Mark Knopfler commented ‘It’s always exciting when individual pieces of creative work come together rto make something else.  This project with Kirsten’s dancers is inspired by painting and song and I’m delighted that some of my music is a part of it.’

Kristin Kelly Abbott moved to Newcastle from London to dance with Sakoba Dance Theatre in 2006. She immediately felt at home here, and fell in love with the North East – its people, countryside and coast line.

She met her husband Wayne whom she married in 2010 and now lives in Birtley with Wayne and their 17-month old son, Jamie.

Launch Day is a new co-commission by Dance City and Queen's Hall Hexham, supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Dance City is the North East’s leading Dance organisation and one of the country’s National Dance Development Agencies. As well as commissioning new work, Dance City provides regular training and support to the region’s professional dancers and choreographers. Kristin was recently awarded Dance City Associate Artist 2015/16 and this is first full-length piece.

Anthony Baker, Dance City Artistic Director and Joint CEO, said:  This is an extremely beautiful and moving piece of dance rooted in the region’s rich industrial past. Anyone who’s passionate about the North East, even if they are new to dance, will love this.”

Launch Day can be seen at the following venues:

08/04/2016 – Berwick Maltings Theatre and Arts Centre 7pm (Studio Performance)

13/04/2016 - Queens Hall Arts Centre, Hexham 7.30pm

28/04/2016 - Washington Arts Centre 7.30pm exhibition of paintings in the theatre foyer by Alexander Miller will accompany this show.  A Pay What You Decide show.

Trailer Vimeo Link:


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