What to expect from the new Sunderland Stages programme

Contagion
Contagion
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Legendary football manager Brian Clough, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and a tribute to mining communities all feature in Sunderland Stage’s exciting new programme.

Venues across the city including The Peacock, Pop Recs, The Royalty and St Gabriel’s Church Hall will host performances from the programme, which aims to bring more theatre to the area.

The Last Seam, which marks the closure of England’s last deep seam mine, will have a particular resonance in the city and will be one of the highlights of the autumn season.

This powerful new production written by Garry Lyons echoes the stories behind the UK’s mining heritage and will help to ensure the voices of former miners and mining communities are not forgotten.

Another highlight of the season will be Contagion, a dance performance commemorating the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that killed more people than the First World War.

It has been co-commissioned by 14-18 Now, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and will be performed in St Gabriel’s Church Hall, which was used as a temporary hospital during the war and afterwards to treat victims of the flu pandemic.

The piece, presented by the acclaimed Shobanna Jeyasingh Dance company, is inspired by the spread of the virus and is set to an atmospheric soundtrack. A Sunderland Stages show with a particular connection to the city will be The Damned United, an exploration of the turbulent 44 days Brian Clough spent at Leeds United in 1974. Clough, one of the UK’s most successful managers, ended his playing career at Sunderland AFC.

The play follows Clough’s attempts to win the European Cup for Leeds, a team he hates and which hates him.

Sunderland Stages’ opening show of its Autumn season will be Luca Rutherford’s Political Party, a comedy about being overwhelmed by politics and underwhelmed by politicians.

Helen Green, head of performance for Sunderland Culture, which delivers Sunderland Stages, said: “We’re really proud of the wide variety of performances and shows we’re presenting for our autumn season, and as is traditional with Sunderland Stages, we’ll be using a couple of unusual venues in Pop Recs and St Gabriel’s Church Hall.

“We’ve put together an eclectic mix of drama, comedy and dance – with some live music thrown in too – so hopefully there’ll be something for everyone.”

For the full programme and to book tickets visit www.sunderlandstages.com or contact Arts Centre Washington’s box office on 0191 561 3455.