Show must go on for Shakespeare in Sunderland parks

Cast of Theatre Space North East's production of Shakespeare's The Tempes, which was performed in Barnes Park

Cast of Theatre Space North East's production of Shakespeare's The Tempes, which was performed in Barnes Park

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A THEATRE company that was turned down for arts council funding is appealing for help to stage Shakespeare in city parks.

Award-winning Theatre Space North East is planning to put on three plays in three parks this summer.

The group was hoping Arts Council funding would support its Plays in the Park season, but after the bid was rejected it is turning to Wearsiders for help.

Members are looking for everything from costumes to rehearsal space and sponsorship for productions of Macbeth, King Arthur’s Adventure in Sunderland and As You Like It, which will be staged in Roker Park, Mowbray Park and Barnes Park.

In the past two years productions of The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream attracted hundreds of spectators as the actors performed the plays while moving around Mowbray Park.

Corinne Kilvington, artistic director, said: “Each show costs between £3,500 to £4,000 to stage and that’s paying the actors the minimum wage for their age bracket.

“Because we hold these performances in public spaces, we can’t sell tickets in the traditional sense.

“Plus, we want to make it accessible to people, even if they only have a pound in their pocket.”

The company, which this year won the Wow 24/7 Excellence Award for Performance of the Year, is expecting to attract 1,000 audience members in total for the three plays, which will be staged in June, July and August. The plays are a combination of new writing as well as re-imagined Shakespeare.

Corinne added: “The pieces will be focused on bringing together an audience from all areas and backgrounds in Sunderland to experience their shared public spaces in a new and imaginative way.

“We aim to generate a positive engagement and feeling about the city and the arts within it.”

•Anyone who can help Theatre Space North East with its summer season should contact Corinne by email at

Production dates

•Macbeth, June 19-21, in Roker Park.

•King Arthur’s Adventure in Sunderland, July 31-August 2, in Mowbray Park.

•As You Like It, August 21-22, in Barnes Park.

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