Zazz was established over 30 years ago as a dance school in Houghton-le-Spring . It opened new premises in Empire House, Houghton-le-Spring in 2000, and has become one of the largest Dance and Performing Arts centres in the North-East of England. Empire house opened as the Empire Theatre in 1911 and was converted into a bingo hall in 1961. In 2000, Zazz was thrilled to bring a working theatre back into Houghton le Spring!
Over the years ZAZZ has grown to host many shows and events both at Empire House and at venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Disney Land Paris and on Cruise Ships to name but a few. As well as staging theatre performances we also run all kinds of events such as Live Entertainment and Themed Parties. The venue holds full licenses and is adaptable for all kinds of events owning its own staging, theatre lighting and sound systems. Please contact us if you would like to hire the theatre.
The ZAZZ Theatre is used to stage performances throughout the year including ‘The Houghton Feast Variety Shows’ during October of each year in accordance with the local council. Other past productions include Grease, Hairspray, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Little Mermaid, 42nd Street and Little Shop of Horrors to name just a few.
As well as being utilised by the performers in the Academy, the theatre is also used for class children to perform displays to their families and to give them the necessary performing experience from the very start of their training.
Pupils are prepared for amateur examinations with the NCDTA & IDTA. Pupils do not have to take these exams but we do encourage them as they are an excellent way to track progression and certify the standard they achieve. (This is particularly important if pupils go onto a professional dance career and is also a useful addition to any C.V.)
Pupils are also given performance opportunities and specialised training for the performing arts. Professional training is also available.
Anne is very proud of her wonderful and dedicated staff, from Dance teachers to Technical Staff and shop assistants in our 'Zazz Dance and Theatre Boutique' we have dance covered!
All of our dance teachers are fully qualified with British Dance Council and Theatre Dance International recognised dance teachers' associations (IDTA, NCDTA, UKA). The principal, Anne Thompson, is a fellow and professional lecturer as well as a past chairperson for the IDTA Tyne Tees Area.
We take safety very seriously when teaching dance in our classes. Our teachers understand the dangers of stretching too early and attempting movements before a pupil is strong enough to do so. We follow graded syllabi in our Theatre classes to ensure that children progress at a steady, safe and gradual pace. Our teaching assistants and younger teachers are all continually studying for further qualifications. We are proud that the majority of our staff have themselves been pupils at the school since an early age (Some were even Lollipoppers!)
Principal:- Anne K. Thompson F(IDTA) M(NCDTA) F(UKA).