Opening date announced for Sunderland's new £18m Auditorium along with red hot programme of acts

It’s been years in the planning and months in the making, but Sunderland’s new £18m Auditorium will finally open its doors this December.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 12:01 am

The new mid-size venue has been rising into the city skyline on a former carpark adjacent to the Fire Station and it will now join the arts and culture hub when it opens on December 10.

Set to be a cornerstone of Sunderland’s burgeoning culture scene, the Auditorium will bring acclaimed national and international artists to the city as well as providing a platform for local and emerging artists to shine.

Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday September 24, for the new venue’s opening programme which will run from December this year to next June and features more than 40 artists and performers – with yet more to be announced.

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Acts announced for the new Auditorium

Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening will ignite the venue’s programme, called Firestarters, when they will be joined by special guest The Lake Poets for The Fire Station auditorium’s opening gig on Friday December 10. The collaboration will bring the shamanic sounds of ancient Northumbria into the 21st century through the state-of-the-art venue, which can host up to 550 people seated or up to 800 people standing.

Tamsin Austin, director of The Fire Station, where the building work is nearing completion, said: “It is so exciting to have a brand-new home for music and performing arts in the heart of Sunderland. We can’t wait to welcome people into what we hope will become a thriving community hub for audiences and for artists at The Fire Station.

“We are so very grateful to Paul Callaghan and all at the MAC Trust for their vision, passion, and determination to deliver this incredible new building for the city and to Arts Council England, Sunderland City Council and national and regional Trusts and Foundations, for all their support. We can’t wait to see you all in December.”

Following the opening night gig, the region’s chamber orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia, featuring their new leader Maria Wloszczowska, will perform a candle-lit Christmas concert on Sunday, December 12, followed by British queen of soul and gospel Mica Paris on Wednesday, December 15.

Sunderland Fire Station Auditorium new sign as works continue.

Friday, December 17, will see the main event to officially reopen The Fire Station, when Mercury Music Prize nominees Field Music will present The Firestarters Revue, with a line-up of guests including rising stars Martha Hill, Reali-T, Faye Fantarrow alongside homegrown talent Barry Hyde and Ross Millard from The Futureheads and Frankie Francis of Frankie & the Heartstrings.

Other performers for this very special housewarming for The Fire Station will be announced soon.

The Christmas season will come to a close with North East funk band Smoove & Turrell on Sunday, December 19, fresh from their chart-topping seventh studio album, Stratos Bleu. The event will also include special guests the Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir, MC Kay Greyson and the Origin Crew dancers.

The Fire Station’s new auditorium will programme up to 300 events a year in music, theatre, comedy and dance. It’s operated by Sunderland Culture on behalf of Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust.

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening (Credit- Georgia Claire)

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Sunderland Fire Station Auditorium new sign as works continue.
Sunderland singer songwriter The Lake Poets is among those lined up to perform
The Fire Station Auditorium will open in December