SUNDERLAND tattoo will be one of the country’s biggest Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
More than 300 performers are gearing up for the £20,000 summer spectacular, which combines marking the six decades of Her Majesty’s reign with Armed Forces Day.
The Tyne and Wear Lieutenancy is organising the event, which is hoped will attract thousands of spectators to two performances in St Peter’s Square, next to Sunderland University’s Tom Cowie Campus.
The celebration will involve military and civilian singers, dancers and bands. To round the evening performance off, there will be a firework display and a release of red, white and blue balloons.
Event organiser Major Eric Ingram and Deputy Lord Lieutenant said: “It’s going to be a really big event and, I think, the first tattoo for Sunderland.”
Hosting the event on the day will be Alasdair Hutton, who had written and narrated the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the past 20 years.
Major Ingram said: “Alasdair said the Edinburgh tattoo has been held every year no matter what, so even if it is pouring with rain this one will still go ahead.”
The Tyne and Wear Diamond Jubilee Tattoo, on Saturday, June 30, will feature marching bands, a cadet challenge and music and dancing from the past 60 years.
There will also be a pageant charting historic highlights of the last 60 years, from the space age to the 2012 Olympics, followed by a rousing flag-waving finale featuring musical favourites from Last Night of the Proms.
The line-up already includes Durham Army Cadet Force Band, 102 Battalion Reme Pipe Band, Standard Bearers from the Royal British Legion, Highland Dancers, University of Sunderland Choir, tenor John Rowland, soprano Julie Pendleton and pupils from Southmoor School, with more performers to be announced.
Lord Lieutenant Nigel Sherlock said the lieutenancy covers the whole of the Tyne and Wear region, but because Sunderland is the largest authority area, they chose the city to host the event.
“Red, white and blue will be the order of the day,” he added. “I think it’s going to a be a fabulous event.”
Tickets are on sale from today and cost £10 for adults and £5 for under-14s for the 7.30pm performance, and £5 for adults and free for under-14s for the 2.30pm matinee dress rehearsal.
Any profits will be donated to one of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee charities.
Tickets are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/artscentrewashington, Tourist Information Centre, City Library and Arts Centre, Fawcett Street, and Arts Centre Washington.