Specially scripted Sherlock tale sees massive cast at arts centre

sundari sankar

SHERLOCK Holmes is embroiled in a frantic chase across Europe to track down the thieves of Queen Mary’s Spanish tiara in a new show involving hundreds of Leamington performers.

Around 500 dancers and actors aged from five to 70-plus are involved in two showings of the Leamington and Warwick Academy of Dance’s specially-written stage piece, Sherlock Holmes and the Spanish Tiara, which is on at Warwick Arts Centre this weekend.

Involving 29 dances interspersed with the plot, the show was put together by joint academy principals Katherine Knight and Viv Kibble and Viv’s husband Gavin.

Viv said: “We also had the help of lots of coffee! We do one of these every other year, starting in August and teaching routines from Christmas.

“It’s a lot of work but also great fun and it’s wonderful to see how far the children come along when working on a show.”

She and Katherine, who have been leading the school together for 11 years, are keen to encourage young talent and give every child who wants to perform the chance to do so. But those who just want to learn new skills and take part in classes for fun are just as welcome to the academy.

Formerly the Linden School, the academy was taken over by Katherine, who used to be a student there, in 1998 - after her 82-year-old teacher finally took her retirement.

She was later joined by Viv and the pair now lead six branches of the academy in Leamington, Lillington, Sydenham, Warwick Gates, Coten End and Southam.

Katherine said: “It’s the first time we’re performing at Warwick Arts Centre, which is such a professional theatre.

“For us, it’s as good as performing in the West End.”

Proceeds from the show, which is on tomorrow and on Sunday at 1.30pm and 6.30pm, will go to Coventry Foodbank, a project led by Gavin Kibble which provides emergency food across the city to individuals and families in need. In its first month of operation it managed to feed more than 200 adults and children.

For tickets, which cost £13 (£9 concessions), call the academy box office on 887780 or Warwick Arts Centre on 024 7652 4524 or go online.