90s rave event, dance show and seafront performance inspired by former Black Cat Stefan Schwarz in Sunderland culture post-pandemic line-up

Artists are working on three major performances to help Sunderland take a step closer to normality after months of Covid restrictions.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 11:49 am
A hat-trick of performances is heading to the city
A hat-trick of performances is heading to the city

From a video performance in a shipping container in Roker to a night celebrating the 90s rave scene and a striking light performance, all are set to be a talking point in the city.

The three performing arts commissions have been awarded through Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants for a project called Unlocking the Doors: New Combinations.

The commissions are aimed at capturing the hopes and anticipation of audiences as the pandemic restrictions are gradually eased.

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Former Black Cat Stefan Schwarz

The commissions were won by Southpaw Dance Company, theatre company The Six Twenty and Tiny Dragon Productions. Each organisation is now working with artists and film companies to add a digital element to the shows.

Stefan Schwarz Inspired

The first of the three performances will be Space Camp … Hylton, We Have a Problem, delivered by Tiny Dragon working with film company Candle and Bell. The 20-minute video performance will be delivered eight times a day in a shipping container based on Marine Walk, Roker, starting Tuesday, August 3.

Featuring up-and-coming Sunderland actress Lauren Waine the video was sparked by a bizarre contract detail from former SAFC player Stefan Schwarz – who was barred by the club from going into space!

Lauren Waine in the space-themed performance

Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, explained: “The first of our three Unlocking the Doors commissions, Space Camp, is literally about escaping from Sunderland on a spaceship.

“It reflects a sense of relief at the thought of being able to travel wherever you want to go again. It’s a quirky, imaginative piece, a 360-degree visual and sound experience that will get audiences reflecting on about what it has been like being constrained in the same place for so long.

Tickets will cost £5, available from the Sunderland Culture website – www.sunderlandculture.org.uk

Celebrating 90s rave

The Athenaeum building will host a performance

The next Unlocking the Doors performance will be Club Six Twenty, a one-night only event collaboration between theatre company The Six Twenty and artist Ronan Devlin at Independent nightclub on Holmeside, on Thursday, August 26.

Helen explained: “Club Six Twenty will be a live, lovingly recreated homage to the 90s rave scene featuring hugely popular band Picnic as the headliner. There will be other musicians, dancers and digital artists including a digital installation from Sunderland artist Jo Howell and a chill-out room upstairs complete with a digital wall created by Ronan Devlin.

“Club Six Twenty is a celebration of what we’ve been missing during the lockdowns and months of Covid restrictions and closures.”

Tickets will cost £10 and again can be bought through Sunderland Culture’s website.

Let there be light

The following evening, Friday, August 27, will see the first of several Bank Holiday weekend performances from Southpaw Dance Company and light artist Rupert Stamp at The Athenaeum in Fawcett Street, Sunderland.

The dance company performed on top of the St Mary’s Car Park back in 2016.

This latest piece, Acedia, will feature a single dancer performing in the brilliant Athenaeum space. The audience will then be able to see the dancer multiply through their phones and tablet devices.

Tickets for Acedia will cost £8 and are available now from Sunderland Culture’s website.

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