Teenagers from Wolverhampton are enjoying a life changing summer experience thanks to funding from the Arts Council and Children in Need.

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St Matthias School in Deansfield, Wolverhampton, is hosting a 3 week residency with the London based ZooNation Dance company to put on a unique take on The Wizard of Oz.

Groove on Down the Road will be staged at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton next week, and stars 25 teenagers from St Matthias, Coppice Performing Arts and Our Lady and St Chad's schools in Wolverhampton and the Shirelands Academy in Sandwell.

St Matthias has raised over £25,000 to enable the students the opportunity to work alongside some of the leading hip hop dance practitioners in the country.

Rhimes Lecointe, who is directing the show, is a long standing member of the ZooNation team and runs her own dance company Boadicea in London.

She said: "We love bringing our work to new audiences and engaging with young people; we have been able to select a really talented and enthusiastic cast and the show is a great introduction to our style of hip hop theatre."

Mya Wright, 15, from Our Lady and St Chad's School, will be playing Dorothy in the show. She said: "Having the opportunity to play the main part has given me the confidence to believe I can do anything in the future; this is such a cool project."

Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "It is fantastic to see our young people given this incredible opportunity to enjoy a summer to remember, culminating in the chance to show off their skills at the Arena Theatre."

Groove on Down the Road is at the Arena Theatre, Wulfruna Street, on Thursday 31 August and Friday 1 September, at 7.30pm on both nights and a Friday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are £8 and £6 for concessions, available at Type=links;Linkid=9328;Title=Ticketsolve - Arena Theatre;Target=_blank;.

It is hoped that the run at the Arena Theatre will be followed up with an invitation to perform at the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham later this year.

  • released: Monday 21 August, 2017