EastEnders star Charlie Brooks coming to Sunderland Empire in National Theatre production
The world famous National Theatre is coming to the Sunderland Empire, as part of the partnership between the theatre and the next-door Fire Station Auditorium.
The Empire and Sunderland Culture, which runs the Fire Station, is part of Theatre Nation Partnerships (TNP), a National Theatre-led network of venues and community organisations working to grow theatre audiences across England.
The partnership brings The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a fantasy adventure, to the Empire from Tuesday, February 28 to Saturday, March 4.
The adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel has a 17-strong cast including Charlie Brooks, best known as Janine Butcher in EastEnders.
Also appearing are Finty Williams who recently starred in The A List and is the daughter of Judi Dench, plus Trevor Fox, soon to appear in Ken Loach’s film The Old Oak, shot in Murton.
The adventure “blends magic with memory in a tour-de-force of storytelling that takes audiences on an epic journey to a childhood once forgotten and the darkness that lurks at the very edge of it.”
The play’s 38-week tour is the longest undertaken by the National Theatre since the pandemic. Meanwhile rehearsals for another TNP production continue for The Odyssey.
The multi-production of Homer’s legendary Greek poem is re-imagined for today, with hundreds of community members and local artists across the country. The story will be told in episodes across five venues in England.
The Fire Station is staging its leg of the The Odyssey, The Island of the Sun, on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29. It will feature dozens of community performers.
Also, Roy Williams’ drama The Sucker Punch comes to the Fire Station in June.
Helen Green, head of performance for Sunderland Culture, said: “Being part of the Theatre Nations Partnership is bringing extraordinary depth and range of theatrical experiences to Sunderland audiences
“Our audiences and young people in particular are being given amazing theatrical opportunities here on Wearside.”
Marie Nixon, theatre director at Sunderland Empire, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with the National Theatre. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship which engenders new ideas and further our shared mission to bring more incredible theatre to audiences.”