Sunderland youngsters venture down the rabbit hole for Wonderland workshop

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire
Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire
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City youngsters made sure they weren’t late for a very important date when they went behind the scenes at Wonderland musical.

The North East debut of the new musical, based on the Alice in Wonderland story, opened at Sunderland Empire this week and participants from the Beyond the Band Pit project were given a chance to learn about being in the spotlight.

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

As well as trying on costumes, young people from Curious Connections Youth Theatre enjoyed a workshop with Wonderland’s assistant musical director, Nick Barstow, followed by a look behind the scenes with the costume department and the chance to watch the production.

The session marked the final element of the year-long Beyond the Band Pit scheme, a collaborative project between Sunderland Empire’s Creative Learning department and Sunderland Music Education Hub, which was funded by Arts Council England.

Over the past 12 months, 150 children have gained an insight into theatre through a series of workshops with shows including American Idiot and Sunny Afternoon.

Hollie Coxon, creative learning manager at Sunderland Empire, said: “Over the past year we have been exploring new and exciting ways in which young musicians from across Sunderland can benefit from the opportunity to take part in an exciting Arts Award learning programme, whilst also connecting them to the industry through unique insight workshops with visiting production companies at Sunderland Empire, alongside local organisations and music professionals.”

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

Sunderland Empire’s in-house Curious Connections Youth Theatre, is delivered as part of a close working partnership with No Limits Theatre.

As part of the Beyond the Band Pit project, the group has also worked closely with The Bunker.

Wonderland is a musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass which runs at the Empire until Saturday.

It stars West End star Kerry Ellis as Alice, former Coronation Street star Wendi Peters as the Queen of Hearts and Dave Willetts as the White Rabbit.

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire

Curious Connections Youth Theatre, 'Beyond the Band Pit' project visit Wonderland at Sunderland Empire