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The global phenomenon, WICKED is currently defying gravity at Sunderland Empire for a limited and final North East engagement, and cast members Steven Pinder, Iddon Jones, Nikki Bentley, and Daniel James Greenway have supported the launch of ‘Smoke & Mirrors’, an exciting and ambitious new theatre project tackling the themes of bullying and social media.

The national project led by the Ambassador Theatre Groups, Creative Learning and Community Partnerships teams in SUNDERLAND, Glasgow, Liverpool, Stoke, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Brighton, Richmond and London’s West End will see THOUSANDS of young people & young adults from across the UK engage with the innovative new project through locally led creative projects to address the poignant themes of the award-winning production.

Throughout the project at Sunderland Empire young people will be empowered to take the lead and use their own ideas and perspectives for the creation of an original piece of theatre that addresses the theme of the national project, with the support of theatre professionals. Young people will be encouraged to think about the impact of different behaviours which are prevalent in the production, whilst also developing important transferable life skills such as confidence, communication, leadership and team working skills.

Anthony Hope, Creative Learning & Community Partnerships Manager, Sunderland Empire said: “We are extremely excited and privileged to launch this project in Sunderland. The themes of Wicked are particularly resonant with young people today and the production expresses these in such an inspirational and accessible way.

We will be working with young people from across Sunderland to explore the themes of social media and bullying and how this effects young people on a daily basis. Our Youth Theatre group (Fusion Project) are the first to connect with the project whilst Wicked is here and we have developed an inspired programme including weekly workshops, master classes and creative writing sessions to support this exciting journey.”

Social Media
is at the heart of this project and groups from across the UK will embark on a social media project that proudly supports WICKED’s anti bullying campaign which is run in partnership with the Anti-Bullying Alliance, one of WICKED’s FOR GOOD charities.

Michael McCabe, Executive Producer, Wicked said: “We are incredibly proud to be able to support and champion the Ambassador Theatre Groups inspiring national project, particularly as it mirrors our own long-standing commitment to raising the profile of the devasting effects of bullying in schools and society. We hope that all of the young people who take part enjoy this fantastic opportunity to freely and safely express themselves and share their experiences and ideas in order to address that bullying in any form is not acceptable.”

Hollie Coxon, Head of UK Creative Learning & Community Partnerships, Ambassador Theatre Group said: “This exciting project will see young people from nine localities across the UK engage creatively with their theatres to address the prominent and important topic of social media and bullying.

Partnership is firmly at the heart of what we do, and we are ecstatic that our teams will work with local partners across the UK, as well as Wicked on tour and in London, alongside their fantastic Learning team on this new national project. The synergy between the theme of the project and Wicked will provide incredible opportunities to inspire and inform the experiences of the local young people who engage with this project.

In the iconic and inspiring words of Wicked ‘Everyone deserves a chance to Fly!’, and this incredible creative learning work, aims to engage a diverse range of participants to connect with their local theatre; nurturing the next generation of theatre makers and contributing towards building the audiences of the future.”

Sunderland Empires Youth Theatre (Fusion) have a limited number of additional places for ages 11-16yrs. For further information about how to be part of this exciting project contact


Wicked continues until Saturday 29th September at Sunderland Empire.  Some seats are still available from Monday – Wednesday performances. Check for returns, single seats and standing tickets for weekend performances. Tickets from £17.50.

Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online from our affiliate ATG Tickets at  *
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