Sound of success at Sunderland's new Fire Station Auditorium as venue celebrates opening night

Sunderland’s newest music and performing arts venue was filled with the sweet sound of applause as it welcomed guests for the first time.

Saturday, 11th December 2021, 3:17 pm

The Fire Station Auditorium, on High Street West, held its official opening night on Friday, December 10 with Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening performing the first headline set, plus support from The Lake Poets.

It was a milestone evening for all those involved in bringing the vision of the £11million state-of-the-art auditorium – built onto the side of the existing Fire Station arts venue – to life.

Friday's performances marked the start of a packed opening programme for the venue, called Firestarters, which is running until June 2022.

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The Fire Station’s opening season features dates from the Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Firestarters Revue presented by Field Music, Smoove & Turrell, Emeli Sandé, The Futureheads and more.

Ahead of Friday’s official opening, the Echo was given an exclusive first-look inside the premises, which holds 800 people standing and 550 seated.

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12 pictures inside Sunderland's new £11million Fire Station Auditorium

Work is also underway at the rear of the building on a 600-capacity site with its own stage to host a variety of performances, from mini festivals to outdoor summer theatre.

The Fire Station officially opened its doors on Friday, December 10. Picture: Mark Savage.

Speaking earlier this week, Paul Callaghan, chair of the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust spoke of his pride in the venue’s creation and launch.

He said: "What we’ve created for Sunderland is a place for not only them, but future generations.

"We hope young people will come here, be inspired by what they see, maybe change their direction in life, and hopefully stay in Sunderland.”

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The Fire Station Auditorium ahead of its opening on Friday, December 10.

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Acts took to the stage for the first time on Friday, December 10. The venue already has a full calendar for the coming months. Picture: Mark Savage.
The new Fire Station Auditorium holds 550 people seated or 800 people standing, with retractable seating on the floor level. It will hold a further 600 people when its outdoor performance area, the parade ground, opens in 2022.
Kathryn Tickell and Martin Longstaff (The Lake Poets) onstage at The Fire Station. Picture: Mark Savage.