The Enormous Room


Stopgap Dance Company present a moving, uplifting new show

A dance show with a difference is coming to Cambridge Junction on 3 October, when Stopgap present their epic new production, The Enormous Room. A moving story of loss, the show uses dance to tell the story of a father and daughter gradually coming to terms with the death of Jackie – their wife and mother.

This piece is really a study of grief and how we deal with it”, says Dave Toole, one of Stopgap’s dancers. “It’s something that an audience can relate to, as most people have experienced losing someone at some point in their lives”.

Creating exhilarating productions for national and international touring, part of Stopgap Dance Company’s uniqueness comes from the fact that they employ both disabled and non-disabled artists, promoting a pioneering spirit and desire for integration through dance. 

Dave, who lost both his legs at an early age due to a congenital birth defect, has been a dancer now for 25 years. “I loved performing in school productions but never considered it could be a career”, he explains. “I worked as a postman for the Royal Mail for nine years before a chance meeting with my former music teacher, who gave me a leaflet about an inclusive dance workshop being held by a then fledgling CandoCo Dance Company. After giving it a lot of thought, I attended the workshop, and from then my life changed dramatically.”

Dave moved to London to work with the company as it developed, progressing from local performances to international tours. Seven years brought its inevitable itch, and from there he went on to various new experiences, including an opera, a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company and impressively, a solo performance in the Paralympic Opening Ceremony in 2012.

He’s been with the Stopgap Dance Company for the last few years, working on two outdoor pieces and two stage shows, one of which is The Enormous Room. “This piece was developed over many months – we’re lucky that we get to spend the necessary time working on ideas – our unique combination of talents bring to the table to create the best and most challenging work we can” he says.

“It began with myself and artistic director Lucy Bennett sitting in a studio, writing about our pasts and our experiences that could be used to create back-stories for the characters within the piece itself” he continues. “These would be myself, Hannah Sampson as my daughter Sam and currently Amy Butler and Hannah Rotchell as my recently deceased wife Jackie. The other two characters Tom, a friend of Sams and Chock, the link between the real world and the next weave in and out of the story as it moves to its conclusion.”

Described by Exeunt magazine as “a wonderful exploration that comforts and provokes long after the piece has ended”, The Enourmous Room has been met with critical acclaim, combining exquisite detail in movement with evocative text and design.

Head along and see for yourself on 3 October, tickets are £12.50 (£8 con).