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Dance performance encourages young people to become confident train travellers

A group of young dancers from Strike A Light’s Youth Dance Company have performed a dance routine on a train between Gloucester and Chepstow as a way for young people to become confident train travellers and explore Gloucestershire and further afield.

‘Tunnel Vision’ was commissioned especially by the Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership (GCRP) and CrossCountry as part of an ongoing GCRP strategy to improve health and wellbeing through connecting urban youth with rural places and environments.

On Monday 3 April, the five young dancers started at Gloucestershire Station, giving passengers a sneak peek of the routine on the station platform.

The dancers then took their seats alongside friends, family, and performance ticket holders in a dedicated carriage on the Transport for Wales train, heading for Chepstow. During the 30-minute journey following 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 youth theatre performing ‘Us’ on a moving train was a huge success, and we wanted to continue this work to see more young people engaging with the sustainable transport agenda through a participative, community-led way.

“‘Tunnel Vision’ 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 of 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.”

Richard Gibson, Stakeholder Manager West and Wales at 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.”