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Preview: Sunderland Stages Season

All of Sunderland is a Stage!

Sunderland is about to undergo a performing arts renaissance as a new project to bring the very best theatre, dance and spoken word performances to hidden, found and unexpected venues across the city begins this Autumn.
Beats North

‘Sunderland Stages’ will bring performances to a range of venues in the City including the Royalty Theatre, Arts Centre Washington, North Shore and the Bonded Warehouse (both University of Sunderland Students’ Union venues). There will also be a number of special performances in ‘found’ spaces including Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Independent and The Canny Space.
Helen Green - Creative Director Arts Centre Washington Photo: Gavin Duthie
Project Leader and Creative Director of Arts Centre Washington Helen Green said;
“When I came to Arts Centre Washington it was quite an unusual experience for me to work in a city where there are only 2 professional stages – the Empire Theatre and Arts Centre Washington, who are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of size, programme, resources and so on.  Unlike the Empire Theatre who present large scale shows sometimes direct form the west end, we present theatre in an intimate setting often made by artists that live and work in the north of England.  
Night Ball - Photo: Ian West
Over the past 5 years since I came to ACW and introduced a performance programme we have steadily developed a reputation for really high quality theatre that is often funny, musical or quirky but that most importantly is relevant to the lives of people in our community today.  Our growing audience visit from all over the region.  However, we felt that a number of factors such as poor public transport links were making it difficult for Sunderland residents from over the other side of the A19 from Washington to visit us. 
So we decided to take Mohammed to the mountain!  We teamed up with The Royalty Theatre and Sunderland University Students Union to become the core partners in presenting performances that otherwise would not reach the main city of Sunderland.  This will also be the first time that many artists and arts companies have presented work in Sunderland as there have never been the opportunities or the venues to do so before.”
Night Ball - Photo: Ian West
Highlights this autumn include the fabulous Ballet Lorent’s ‘The Night Ball’ which will be performed in the atmospheric setting of North Shore, a student union nightclub.   The Night Ball is a truly unforgettable experience celebrating the sheer, unadulterated joy of dancing in a social environment. 

The Paper Bird's Blind

The Bonded Warehouse plays host to The Paper Bird’s ‘Blind’, featuring UK beat-boxing champion Grace Savage, the show explores the mixed messages young people are hearing in the world today, from motherly advice to what we learn in the school playground and the music charts.
Horse and Bamboo’s ‘Hansel and Gretel

Family theatre comes to The Royalty, Sunderland in the form of Horse and Bamboo’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’.  Suitable for ages 5 and over, this beautiful adaptation features  music and film, puppets and masks.
Hopelessly Devoted

Arts Centre Washington welcome the highly regarded touring theatre company Paines Plough with rap artist Kate Tempest’s incendiary new play Hopelessly Devoted.  Set in a prison the show tells the story of one girl’s redemption through music.
Letting Off Steam

Other venues include The Canny Space (Holy Trinity Church) who are hosting  hosting Kate Fox and Union Jill’s ‘Letting Off Steam’, Independent and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

For more information on Sunderland Stages and to book tickets visit

On The Web:

Sunderland Stages Listings

Tuesday 16 September
North East Rising
Independent, Sunderland
An energetic one person show of performance poetry, theatre and stand-up about North East identitiy.

Tuesday 23 September
Beats North
North Shore, Sunderland University Students Union
Two new plays, seamlessly interwoven live on stage by award winning scratch DJ Mariam Rezaei. 

Wednesday 08 October
We’re Not Going Back
The Royalty Theatre, Sunderland
Set in the 1984/85 miners’ strike, this hard-hitting musical comedy follows the fortunes of three sisters determined to set up a branch of ‘Women Against Pit Closures’.

Thursday 09 October
We’re Not Going Back
Arts Centre Washington
An energetic one person show of performance poetry, theatre and stand-up about North East identitiy.

Friday 17 October
The Night Ball
North Shore, the University of Sunderland Students Union
A truly unforgettable experience celebrating the sheer, unadulterated joy of dancing in a social environment.  

Saturday 18 October
Hansel + Gretel
The Royalty Theatre, Sunderland
New adaptation of the classic story suitable for ages 5+.

Thursday 23 October
Heaven Eyes
Arts Centre Washington
Based on the novel by internationally renowned children’s author David Almond.

Sunday 26 October
Bonded Warehouse, University of Sunderland Students Union
A beat-boxing theatre show unlike any other featuring UK beat-boxing champion Grace Savage.

Friday 07 November
England Arise!
The Royalty Theatre, Sunderland
Inspired by Comrades In Conscience, by Cyril Pearce, drawing on first hand source material to present an alternative story of political opposition to the First World War. 

Wednesday 12 November
Oh I Can’t Be Bothered
Bonded Warehouse, University of Sunderland Students Union
RashDashTheatre present some punking feminist theatre.

Thursday 20 November
Hopelessly Devoted
Arts Centre Washington 
Following her smash-hit debut Wasted, Kate Tempest is back with an incendiary new play. 

Friday 21 November
Letting Off Steam
The Canny Space (formerly Holy Trinity Church)
An evening of entertaining rhythms, rhyming and ranting from three of the North’s top female wordsmiths. 

Friday 28 November - Saturday 29 November
In A Nutshell
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Children’s theatre featuring puppetry suitable for ages 3 - 6.

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