The city’s going to be buzzing! More than 200 exciting acts announced for Tall Ships Sunderland

Victoria French Head of Events Sunderland City Council. Picture by Frank Reid
Victoria French Head of Events Sunderland City Council. Picture by Frank Reid
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A massive programme of live entertainment has been announced for Sunderland this July - and it will have the city “buzzing.”

That’s the prediction of organisers who have revealed a packed line-up of more than 200 events as part of the Tall Ships festival.

Michelle Daurat, project director of The Tall Ships Races, Sunderland.

Michelle Daurat, project director of The Tall Ships Races, Sunderland.

It includes circus acts from across the world, huge parades, and a bid to create a world record for the most people singing at the same time

And to add to all of that, 55 ships have now signed up to come to Wearside.

Helen Green, head of performance at Sunderland Culture and the producer of the Tall Ships cultural programme, said: “It is quite a logistical feat. We are looking at over 200 performances of theatre, dance, music, circus, clowning, all over four days.

“Sunderland is going to be buzzing for those four or five days. There is so much going on. Once people get down to the riverside, to the port, they will just be amazed by how much activity is going on.”

Sunderland is going to be buzzing for those four or five days. There is so much going on. Once people get down to the riverside, to the port, they will just be amazed by how much activity is going on

Helen Green

More than 1,000 performers will entertain the crowds during Sunderland’s leg of The Tall Ships Races between Wednesday, July 11, and Saturday, July 14.

Sunderland’s Tall Ships project director Michelle Daurat said: “With two months to go, we feel like we are in a really good position. We are now tweaking our final plans.”

Those plans include a city-wide programme of events which also includes visiting exhibitions, music on three different stages, a symphony orchestra, dance, and theatre.

Victoria French, head of events at Sunderland City Council, said: “We have got all the ships which is our centrepiece but we are very mindful that we need to entertain people while they are walking around.”

Victoria French, Head of Events at  Sunderland City Council.

Victoria French, Head of Events at Sunderland City Council.

She said there would be “something for everyone. A real family festival.”

The fun starts on Wednesday, July 11, when all the ships will have arrived by 12pm and the event zones open at 10am. There will be unique circus acts and a welcome parade from the people of Sunderland.

On July 12, stilt dancers and electro drummers will join the spectacular crew parade as it winds through the centre of Sunderland.

On July 13, a high-wire act over the River Wear, aerial dance on an upturned shipwreck and a clown ice cream seller will be among the entertainment highlights.

A map of the event zones for the Sunderland leg of The Tall Ships Races.

A map of the event zones for the Sunderland leg of The Tall Ships Races.

And on Saturday, July 14, get ready for the Parade of Sail when the ships leave Sunderland to start the races - with thousands of people expected to line the seafront at Seaburn and Roker.

For a more detailed preview of the programme, see inside.

The giant Russian ship Mir - the biggest of the 55 ships coming to Sunderland.

The giant Russian ship Mir - the biggest of the 55 ships coming to Sunderland.