Sunderland theatre gets boost for autism-friendly activities

From left,  project partners Matthew Blyth (Arts Centre Washington), Hollie Coxon (Sunderland Empire), Kathryn Brame (Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art), Jennie Lambert and Jack Sim  (Sunderland Museum and  Winter Gardens), Janet Nettleton (No Limits Theatre) and Anthony Hope (Sunderland Empire).
From left, project partners Matthew Blyth (Arts Centre Washington), Hollie Coxon (Sunderland Empire), Kathryn Brame (Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art), Jennie Lambert and Jack Sim (Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens), Janet Nettleton (No Limits Theatre) and Anthony Hope (Sunderland Empire).
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Sunderland Empire has received a cash injection to stage a range of autism-friendly arts activities.

Arts Council England has given the theatre £15,000 to fund the events, which coincide with the arrival of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to the city.

Get Curious! aims to offer opportunities for families with young people with autism to sample new cultural experiences in a more relaxed environment through a variety of art forms.

Hollie Coxon, Sunderland Empire

The summer programme of activities are inspired by the tale, which focuses on a teenager who is on the autistic spectrum.

Sunderland Empire received support from Sunderland Cultural Partnership who linked the theatre up with other arts organisations who will take part in the programme, including Arts Centre Washington, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, No Limits Theatre and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Hollie Coxon, creative learning manager at Sunderland Empire, said: “We are very excited to launch this exciting programme over the summer. Get Curious! aims to offer opportunities for families with young people with autism to sample new cultural experiences in a more relaxed environment through a variety of Art Forms in different venues across Sunderland.”

Highlights will include an autism-friendly theatre tour; an insight session of the play; a family learning programme ran in conjunction with National Theatre and autism-friendly taster and creative sessions at the region’s museums and galleries.

Schools, families and groups will receive a Prepare to Get Curious pack, which can be used to support the preparation for visits.

Places are limited and families are asked to get in touch ahead of activities starting this month on 0191 566 1056 or sunderlandeducation@theambassadors.com