One minute you are taking a stroll to get your Percy Pigs from M&S – the next you are part of the audience for a song-and-dance routine…

That’s what happened to shoppers in York on Sunday (March 20) when they were surprised by children staging a flashmob song and dance show.

The youngsters, all students at the PQA York performing arts academy, brought some theatre to Parliament Street to the delight of onlookers.

Among their routines were I Love To Boogie by T Rex and Electricity from Billy Elliot.

Serious message

The students hold up their own signs at the end of the flashmob
The students hold up their own signs at the end of the flashmob

At the end of the performance, the children held up messages saying ‘Love’, ‘Trust’, ‘Equality’ and ‘Joy’.

That was because the flashmob was arranged in partnership with IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services). The idea was to draw attention to the everyday reality of domestic abuse experienced by thousands of people across the county.

Similar dances were performed in Scarborough and Harrogate.

Carmel Offord from IDAS said:

The performances are designed to be engaging and will help us to bring an often hidden topic to the fore in an accessible way.

Many people feel that they cannot talk about or report the abuse that they are experiencing, but we would encourage anyone affected by domestic abuse to come forward and speak to us in confidence.

Carmel added: “The students at the performing arts academies have been practising for weeks and we are excited to see their performances and the reaction on the streets.”

If you, or anyone you know, is affected by domestic abuse, visit the IDAS website

An awareness raising campaign, funded by the North Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner, has the aim of encouraging more people to refer themselves into IDAS for support and advice.

In 2015, IDAS received more than 1,150 referrals into its services for people affected by domestic abuse in the York area.