National Theatre takes production to Sunderland college stage

The National Theatre performed its adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth to Sunderland College students.
The National Theatre performed its adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth to Sunderland College students.

The world-renowned National Theatre brought its production of Macbeth to hundreds of Sunderland school children.

As part of a residency at Sunderland College, pupils from St Aidan’s Catholic Academy and Farringdon Community Academy were given the chance to watch the company’s retelling of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays.

The production of Macbeth was a stunning piece of theatre, and for it to be performed in our Arts Academy

Sheree Rymer

Adapted and directed for teenage audiences by Justin Audibert, Macbeth was staged in Sunderland College’s Arts Academy theatre over a two-day residency.

The college’s performing arts students, who are studying a range of courses including drama, dance and musical theatre, also took part in a question and answer session with the company’s actors.

Sheree Rymer, curriculum leader for creative arts, described the residency as a ‘coup’ for both the city and the college.

She said: “The production of Macbeth was a stunning piece of theatre, and for it to be performed in our Arts Academy was aspirational to all of our performing arts students and the school children.

“As a city, our cultural offer is transforming thanks to all of the exciting initiatives taking place and of course the 2021 City of Culture bid, which is breathing new life into Sunderland.

“It’s wonderful to be part of this cultural renaissance and for our students to witness such an instrumental period in the history of the city.”

Macbeth is touring to Sunderland as part of the National Theatre’s strategic touring partnerships programme. Over three years the company is partnering with venues and other cultural organisations in six areas, including Sunderland, to support theatre and reach new audiences across the country.

Sunderland College was chosen to stage the residency through its close partnerships with Culture Bridge North East, Sunderland Culture Partnership and the city’s Creative Learning Group.

Helen Green, of Culture Bridge North East, said: “It’s really exciting to have the National Theatre bring Macbeth to Sunderland. Culture Bridge North East is working towards a future in which everyone growing up in the North East has a childhood rich with culture and the arts

“The National Theatre’s visit, alongside all the programming already in the city and the City of Culture bid, mean that we’re closer than ever to achieving this for children in Sunderland.”