Grant puts culture at the ‘art’ of Sunderland Tall Ships festival

Christian Radich, one of the ships taking part when The Tall Ships Races come to Sunderland next July. Image courtesy of Sail Training International.
Christian Radich, one of the ships taking part when The Tall Ships Races come to Sunderland next July. Image courtesy of Sail Training International.

Plans for a celebration of the sea are looking even more ship shape - thanks to a £149,000 windfall.

The Arts Council England (ACE) has awarded the cash to Sunderland as it hosts next summer’s Tall Ships Races.

It will run from July 11 to 14 and promises to be one of the biggest events in the region during 2018, with an estimated 1.5million people expected to visit the festival and 24 ships already signed up to take part.

The cash from ACE will support a cultural programme and entertainment across the festival, which will be run with the support of 350 volunteers being recruited in the run up to the races.

Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded £149,000 by Arts Council England to deliver an entertainment-packed programme when Sunderland plays host to the start of The Tall Ships Races 2018 next July.

“I’d like to thank them for supporting what we hope will be a spectacular event.

It’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase the region’s artistic and performing talents to an international audience.

Councillor John Kelly

“With up to 1.5 million visitors and up to 80 vessels with crews from over 15 countries expected over the four days, the live entertainment and cultural programme is a really important part of the event, giving it an added vibrancy and helping to create a real buzz.

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase the region’s artistic and performing talents to an international audience.”

The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 Cultural Programme will include a range of events at different sites in the city.

This includes stage shows, which will run at platforms set up in Keel Square and another in the East End, which will host performances throughout the four-day festival.

A major artistic commission will take place on the riverside on the evening of Friday, July 13, while walkabout performances and street theatre will be held across Sunderland.

There will also be four Wearside Emerging commissions in the Hendon Ahoy! section of the programme, which will feature a mixture of circus, dance, music and street arts, as well as a schools’ singing project.

Further details will be announced over the coming months.

More details about event and how to get involved can be found at www.tallshipssunderland.com, the @TallShipsSund Twitter page or on Facebook via TallShipsRacesSunderland.