Described by The Telegraph as ‘infectiously cheerful’, Groove on Down the Road was a special commission by Southbank Centre from the country’s leading hip-hop dance company ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company. This hip-hop rendition of the classic story of The Wizard of Oz was written and directed by Kate Prince and performed by ZooNation Youth Company, with dancers ranging from ages 10-19, as a way of inspiring a new generation of performers. It premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre in August 2013 and returned by popular demand the following summer in 2014.
Groove on Down the Road uses the format of The Wizard of Oz to bring to life the themes from the now very famous Sir Ken Robinson Ted Talk. In this he argues that schools kill creativity.
In Groove on Down the Road the classroom that Dorothy starts in is one where ALL creative subjects have been taken off the curriculum because there is no money from the Government to support them. Creative subjects aren’t considered to be important.
Whilst in Oz (which Dorothy visits in a dream after a knock to the head) she discovers the value and empowering nature of creativity. She visits Emerald City High which is a private school that has LOTS of money and the children there are surrounded by creative subjects and equipment. The Wizard is taking loads of money from parents to pay for these creative subjects. So much money that he is making a profit. He is keeping this money for himself. Bad wizard!
At the end of the story, the Wizard decides to do the right thing and gives Dorothy the ‘key’ (metaphorically) to his store cupboard of creative equipment to help her spread creativity as a way to learn and grow.
The Scarecrow is dyslexic but he has a creative intelligence and when given a violin, creates magic. Before being gifted the appreciation of music he felt like he wasn’t intelligent because his type of intelligence isn’t valued in school.
The usually shy and quiet Lion grows in confidence when he is given art equipment and is able to express himself in a completely different way.
The Tin Man is a bully, and isn’t engaged in academic subjects at all, but given music, knee pads, and the time and space to dance, he comes alive. He becomes a team player, motivated, inspired, engaged and happy.
Groove on Down the Road has also been reimagined for studio theatres, in Cardiff, Wolverhampton and Birmingham, with local dancers at each venue. Groove on Down the Road will be performed at Solent University Theatre this September, produced in association with Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.
For more information on Groove on Down the Road studio theatre productions, please contact Chantal Spiteri on Chantal@zoonation.co.uk.
“Infectiously cheerful show. The dancing skills on display from the young cast are dazzling…their precision and energy in the many group routines are exhilarating.”
“The unbelievable amount of energy, spirit, and individual character of each performer is so professionally packaged, it’s easy to forget they’re all under 19 years old.”