An inspiring exhibition opened its doors last night at the Gala Theatre in Durham. 11 Million Reasons to Dance is a life affirming photography exhibition inspired by iconic dance scenes from films, all re-imagined by Deaf and disabled people who dance.

This exciting national programme by People Dancing, was brought to Durham by TIN Arts in partnership with Durham County Council and supported locally by County Durham Community Foundation, and nationally by Unlimited Impact and Arts Council England. TIN Arts are just one of many community groups who have been supported by the Community Foundation over recent years.

The launch event took place last night as stakeholders from around the region came together to experience this unique exhibition. Guests included Mrs Sue Snowdon, Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mr Mike Dixon, Vice Chairman of Durham County Council, Trustees from the Community Foundation and community groups from the region who work with disabled individuals.

The Exhibition is now open to the public every day throughout March from 10:00am -10:00pm Monday to Saturday and 2:00pm – 10:00pm on Sundays.

Barbara Gubbins Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation said “We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic exhibition highlighting the possibilities for those with a disability to achieve so much through dance. The photos are inspiring and I hope the local community will come and see them.”

Photographer Sean Goldthorpe: “I hope people will look at these images and smile, sense what a great time we all had making them and see disabled people in a new and refreshing light. During the shoots I was just very focused on making sure everything was technically right. It wasn’t till afterwards that it really dawned on me just how much the project meant to the dancers, how much they were thrilled to be portrayed as genuine artists – I found that deeply moving”

Martin Wilson, Director of TIN Arts “11 Million Reasons is an important exhibition that questions all of our perceptions of the capabilities or expectations of Deaf, sight impaired and disabled people who love to dance. We are delighted to be working with such a great group of partners and funders to bring this extraordinary programme to the North East and I encourage as many people as possible to come and see it at The Gala Theatre.”

Jo Cundall, Arts Programme Manager of Durham County Council said “we are absolutely delighted to be presenting the 11 Million Reasons to Dance exhibition at Gala over the next few weeks. It is a remarkable set of photographs. They arrest you because you feel you know them so well, and then the differences make you stop and reconsider them. They are beautiful, engaging and celebratory. We are looking forward to welcoming the public into this underused space at Gala and are excited about the discussions it will promote “