Al Murray, John Cooper Clarke, Turin Brakes and more announced for new season at Sunderland's Fire Station

Comedian Al Murray, people’s poet John Cooper Clarke, indie rockers Public Service Broadcasting and Queen tribute Radio Ga-Ga are among the gigs announced for the Fire Station’s red hot second season.

Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 5:32 pm

Since opening its doors in December 2021, the new £11 million auditorium, a modern extension to the Edwardian Fire Station, has brought a whole host of acts and genres to the city for its opening season, which came to its conclusion last month – with 20,000 people visiting across the season.

Now it has been announced who will be keeping visitors entertained next season, which starts from September 2022. Until then, the auditorium side of the venue is closed so planned improvements can be made to the stage.

Tamsin Austin, director of The Fire Station, said: “Our next programme is packed with great music, theatre and comedy and we’re really looking forward to welcoming audiences back into the venue.

The new season at the Fire Station starts in September

"We’re sure our programme will attract new people into the city centre, as well as bringing back those who’ve already enjoyed a night or two out at The Fire Station.”

Highlights for the new season include award-winning singer songwriter Brandy Clark (September 6); The Story of Soul (September 15); Queen tribute Radio Ga-Ga; The Squeeze’s Chris Gifford (September 18); Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross (September 27); indie rock group Public Service Broadcasting (October 3); Transatlantic Blondie (October 8); folk rock band Turin Brakes (October 10); jazz folk pairing The Unthanks (October 12); Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening, who played the venue’s opening night (October 23) and Beth Nielsen Chapman (November 13).

The Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) will return on October 8, December 1, February 16 and May 11. Multi-buy packages for The Fire Station’s RNS performances are available through the venue’s website – with up to 20 per cent off ticket prices.

Away from the musical programme, laughs will be provided by Pub Landlord Al Murray (October 1); Mock the Week favourite Milton Jones (November 9); acclaimed stand-up Hal Cruttenden (January 21) and Live at the Apollo star Justin Moorhouse (February 18).

The Fire Station opened last December - and 20,000 people have visited since

Meanwhile, three children’s theatre shows have also been confirmed: Room on the Broom (September 21), The Tiger Who Came to Tea (October 4) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (November 16).

For an older audience, the Elysium Theatre Company is bringing its version of Ibsen’s The Doll’s House to the venue on October 13.

On September 17, the original people’s poet, John Cooper Clarke, brings his I Wanna Be Yours live show to the auditorium. The show, touring the US, UK, Europe and Canada, is a mix of classic verse, new material, hilarious ponderings on modern life, good honest gags, riffs and chat – a chance to witness a living legend at the top of his game.

While The Fire Station Auditorium has closed for a couple of months, the rest of The Fire Station will be open. Visitors will be able to enjoy food and drink at the popular bar and bistro, the Engine Room, which has recently reopened with a new menu after a major kitchen refurbishment and the introduction of new outdoor seating - perfect for alfresco dining or a drink in the sunshine.

John Cooper Clarke

Meanwhile, music fans can relax and enjoy the low-key summer vibes of DJs Deja Brew in the venue’s impressive Foyer Bar.

The new season has a lot to live up to after the success of Firestarters – almost 20,000 tickets were sold across 60 performances.

The venue opened with a successful and emotional night featuring Wearside-born Marty Longstaff, aka The Lake Poets, and legendary Northumbrian musician and composer Kathryn Tickell and her band The Darkening.

Since the opening night, bands, singers and musicians from a wide range of genres have performed at the £11 million venue, which was developed by Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and is run by Sunderland Culture.

Pub Landlord Al Murray

Tamsin explained: “The venue has given Sunderland what the city needed, a top quality, brand-new, mid-scale home for music and performing arts. The response we’ve had, both to the building and to Firestarters, has been overwhelming.”

Firestarters was commissioned by the MAC Trust and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The Fire Station Auditorium programmes up to 300 events a year in music, theatre, comedy and dance.

It can host up to 550 people seated or up to 800 people standing.

*For tickets visit www.thefirestation.org.uk

Royal Northern Sinfonia at The Fire Station - credit Mark Savage
Ricky Ross
Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening