Shakespeare to be performed against backdrop of Sunderland churches as theatre returns to city

All the world’s a stage as Shakespeare returns to the city following the easing of restrictions.
A previous Theatre Space North East production. Oak PhotoA previous Theatre Space North East production. Oak Photo
A previous Theatre Space North East production. Oak Photo

Innovative Sunderland arts company Theatre Space North East are set to welcome audiences back with two of Shakespeare’s most popular plays thanks to a cash injection from American investors and the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The company have staged a number of successful productions in city parks over the years. Now, they are preparing to stage Macbeth outdoors at St Andrew’s Church in Roker and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the grounds of St Paul’s Church in Ryhope.

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It’e been part-funded by the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which has helped a number of city businesses such as Independent and Sunderland Empire, as well as money from the Play On! Shakespeare festival based in Oregon, USA and the Hitz Foundation.

Theatre space north eastTheatre space north east
Theatre space north east

The partnership with the American festival began last year following a chance meeting with Theatre Space’s Artistic Director and bosses from the States. As part of the deal, Play On have provided new, modern verse translations of the two plays, which make Shakespeare’s often challenging writing more accessible and easier to understand. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been adapted by the Tony award-winning writer of Broadway and West End smash hit Avenue Q, Jeff Whitty.

Meanwhile, award-winning playwright of over 60 ground-breaking plays and operas Migdalia Cruz provides a deliciously dark adaptation of Macbeth, with both versions staying true to the rhythm, meaning and tone of the Shakespearean original.

Corinne Kilvington, Artistic Director and Founder of Theatre Space North East explains why the partnership with its funders is so vital.

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She said: “We’re a tiny company with big dreams and it’s always been our goal to make theatre accessible to as many people as possible, because we firmly believe in the power of arts and culture and its transformational effect in a city like Sunderland. Our sincerest thanks, therefore, goes to our funders, sponsors and supporters, as well as the hugely generous audiences we are lucky to have, who have been there every step of the way throughout this horrendous period for our industry.

Theatre Space North EastTheatre Space North East
Theatre Space North East

“I’m so unbelievably excited to work with Play On and our American friends once again. They share our passion for immersive and exciting theatre and have gifted us these beautiful adaptations of some of the best plays ever written.”

In order to make the shows as accessible as possible, tickets are free but must be pre-booked via the company’s website –

Donations via cash or card are then welcomed at the end of the show for those that can afford it. No more than six tickets can be booked per transaction due to limited numbers and social distancing. No more than two households can occupy an audience pod. Pods are available for two persons, four persons and six persons,

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*William Shakespeare’s Macbeth A Modern Verse Translation by Migdalia Cruz – runs from July 29 – August 1 at St Andrew’s Churchyard in Roker, Sunderland. Performances start at 7pm prompt.

The plays will be performed in the grounds of the churchesThe plays will be performed in the grounds of the churches
The plays will be performed in the grounds of the churches

*William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream-Translated into modern tongue by Jeff Whitty runs from August 26 – 29 at St Paul’s Churchyard in Ryhope, Sunderland. Performances start at 6pm prompt.

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