Sunderland landmarks become theatres as performances take place across the city

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All of Sunderland’s a stage as part of a project to breathe new life into the city’s performing arts scene.

Sunderland Stages is bringing together theatre, dance and spoken word performances and staging them in varied places across Wearside.

Bonded Warehouse in Panns Bank, North Shore in St Peter’s, The Museum and Winter Gardens, Independent, in Holmeside and Holy Trinity Church in the East End will host performance poetry, new plays and more.

Works will also be staged at Royalty Theatre and Arts Centre Washington as part of the city-wide initiative.

Project leader and creative 
director of Arts Centre Washington, Helen Green, said: “When I came to Arts Centre Washington it was quite an unusual experience for me to work 
in a city where there are only two professional stages – the Empire Theatre and Arts Centre Washington, who are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of size, programme, resources and so on.

“Unlike the Empire Theatre, who present large scale shows sometimes direct from the West End, we present theatre in an intimate setting often made by artists that live and work in the north of England.”

Though it has a growing audience, poor transport links mean many Wearsiders have not yet visited Arts Centre Washington, so it teamed up with Royalty Theatre and Sunderland University Students Union to make productions more accessible.

Highlights of the autumn programme include Ballet Lorent’s The Night Ball which will be performed in North Shore.

Meanwhile, The Bonded Warehouse plays host to The Paper Bird’s Blind, featuring UK beat-boxing champion Grace Savage. The show explores the mixed messages young people are hearing in the world today, from motherly advice to what we learn in the school playground and the music charts.

Family theatre comes to The Royalty Theatre in the form of Horse and Bamboo’s Hansel and Gretel which features music and film, puppets and masks.

Arts Centre Washington welcomes touring theatre company Paines Plough with rap artist Kate Tempest’s new play Hopelessly Devoted. Set in a prison the show tells the story of one girl’s redemption through music.

•For more information on Sunderland Stages and to book tickets visit

Performance listings

•Tuesday, September, 16

North East Rising at Independent.

An energetic one person show of performance poetry, theatre and stand-up about North East identity.

•Tuesday, September, 23.

Beats North at North Shore.

Two new plays, seamlessly interwoven live on stage by award-winning scratch DJ Mariam Rezaei.

•Wednesday, October 8.

We’re Not Going Back at The Royalty Theatre.

Set in the 1984/85 miners’ strike, this hard-hitting musical comedy follows the fortunes of three sisters determined to set up a branch of Women Against Pit Closures.

•Thursday, October 9.

We’re Not Going Back at Arts Centre Washington.

•Friday, October 17.

The Night Ball at North Shore.

A celebration of the joy of dancing in a social environment.

•Saturday, October 18.

Hansel and Gretel at The Royalty Theatre.

New adaptation of the classic story suitable for ages five and over.

•Thursday, October 23.

Heaven Eyes at Arts Centre Washington.

Based on the novel 
by internationally renowned children’s author David Almond.

•Sunday, October 26.

Blind at Bonded Warehouse.

A beat-boxing theatre show unlike any other featuring UK beat-boxing champion Grace Savage.

•Friday, November 7.

England Arise! at The Royalty Theatre.

Inspired by Comrades In Conscience, by Cyril Pearce, drawing on first hand source material to present an alternative story of political opposition to the First World War.

•Wednesday, November 12.

Oh I Can’t Be Bothered at Bonded Warehouse.

RashDashTheatre present some punking feminist theatre.

•Thursday, November 

Hopelessly Devoted at Arts Centre Washington.

Following her smash-hit debut Wasted, Kate Tempest is back with an incendiary new play.

•Friday, November 21.

Letting Off Steam at The Canny Space, Holy Trinity Church.

An evening of entertaining rhythms, rhyming and ranting from three of the North’s top female wordsmiths.

•Friday, November 28 - Saturday, November 29.

In A Nutshell at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Children’s theatre featuring puppetry suitable for ages three to six.