Enter a 'neon playground' as colourful club night takes over Sunderland venue

A ‘neon playground of live music, performance and art’ is coming to a Sunderland nightclub next month.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 4:30 pm
Club 26 will feature a host of colourful performers

Independent, in Holmeside, will host Club Six Twenty, a one-off art club night aimed at people who enjoy festivals, going to gigs and cabaret nights.

Club Six Twenty is being produced and delivered by theatre company The Six Twenty as part of Sunderland Culture’s Unlocking the Doors initiative to bring cultural events back to the city as restrictions are lifted.

The night – on Thursday, August 26 – will feature music from bands such as PICNIC and MXYM, as well as DJ set from Gladys Duffy. There will be pop-up theatre from The Six Twenty clubbers, opportunities to create your own artwork with Sunderland artist Jo Howell, circus drag performances, lots of glitter and a few surprises.

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In Flow (installation) by Ronan Devlin. Photo by Iwan Jones

The project has been funded through Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants scheme.

Melanie Rashbrooke, Artistic Director, of The Twenty Six, explained: “It’s going to be a night people won’t forget – an arts club night, an immersive experience where people can get involved or just enjoy some great music.

“It’ll be a celebration of the nights we missed for so long because of Covid, but also a celebration of local artists who’ve not been able to do what they do best during the pandemic.

“You’ll be able to leave your troubles at the door, crack your glow sticks and immerse yourself in the unique and wonderful world of Club Six Twenty. There’ll be plenty of chill out spaces as well as a brilliant digital installation from artist Ronan Devlin.”

MXYM. Photo by Victoria Johnson Photography

The Six Twenty is a Newcastle theatre company specialising in creating unexpected theatre in non-traditional settings. The company trialled a similar evening at Alphabetti Theatre on Tyneside in 2019 and the night was well received.

“It went really well, our clubbers had such a great time, but what was also lovely to see was how our artists connected and collaborated. We planned to do more, but Covid got in the way,” said Melanie.

The company has worked in Sunderland before, presenting their cult comedy quiz show Mixtape at venues such as The Dun Cow and The Peacock, as well as working on a commission for last year’s (virtual) Summer Streets.

Melanie said: “We’ve really enjoyed working in Sunderland again, particularly at Independent. It has so many great spaces, it’s perfect for Club Six Twenty where there will be so much going on.”


The Six Twenty and Sunderland Culture are committed to making the event as Covid safe as possible.

Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, said: “We will provide a safe environment for everyone visiting Club Six Twenty, and have put in place robust Covid compliance measures. We respectfully request audiences show kindness and consideration to others by wearing a mask and maintaining social distance wherever possible.

“Club Six Twenty is going to be something different for the city – a place to explore, get creative and have have a good time. The number of tickets available will be restricted because of our Covid measures, so I urge folks to get their tickets now – they’ll go quickly.”

MXYM is a singer, songwriter and musician who’s work is a blend of rock and ‘emo glamour’ while headliner PICNIC are an upbeat, sax-driven funk-pop band from Sunderland.

Gladys Duffy

Digital artist Ronan Devlin works across print, screen and multi-sensory installations which encourage artists to interact and alter the artwork in real time. His immersive digital installation In Flow will take over the whole of the upstairs at Independent.

Drag artist and DJ Gladys Duffy will help you dance the night away with her DJ set. She said: “Sunderland is my home town and I have yet to perform there so it will be a real moment to be a part of this and bring some glamour to proceedings.”

To find out the full line up of artists and performers go to The Six Twenty website at https://bit.ly/ClubSixTwenty or visit Sunderland Culture’s Unlocking The Doors commissions page.

Doors for Club Six Twenty will open at 7.45pm on August 26 and tickets, costing £10, are available now through the Sunderland Culture website www.sunderlandculture.org.uk

The event will include loud music, flashing lights, strobe, haze, smoke, and sensory elements – and is for over 18s only.

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