‘Bite-sized’ performances coming to Sunderland with £32,000 up for grabs to fund shows

An award-winning arts project is looking for four ‘bite-size’ performances to tour a range of non-arts venues in Sunderland, with £32,000 available to help.

Each commission must visit five venues between April and May 2023 and do one performance or show at each on consecutive days or nights, or spread over two weeks.

A venue will be in each of Sunderland’s five areas; Coalfields, East, North, Washington and West. Each performance is expected to include food, possibly a meal.

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A budget up to £8,000 will be available for each of the four commissions; to include all production costs and engagement work with local people.

The Cultural Spring is looking for five non-arts venues across Sunderland.

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    The Cultural Spring will manage the sourcing of venues in collaboration with the appointed artists or artistic teams, as well as covering the venue hire, food costs and marketing and ticketing.

    Each piece must feature the local community in the creation of the final work, within the development of a script, music, or performing in a show.

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    The Cultural Spring is looking to repeat the success of a similar project in South Tyneside in 2018.

    Emma Horsman, project director of The Cultural Spring, said: “The feedback for our bite-sized productions in South Tyneside was among the most positive we’ve had for any of our projects.

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    “We put on 20 performances over three months and engaged more than 300 people. The shows were very different and one of the key elements of the project was that they were delivered in venues you wouldn’t expect – so we used places like a Scout hut, a parish hall, a pub, a football club and social clubs.

    “Audiences were in the range between 30 and 50 and we expect them to be the same size for our Sunderland project.

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    “Performing the shows in such venues really took art into local neighbourhoods and estates and I think people enjoyed attending cultural events in venues that were local to them and felt comfortable in.

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    “The performances should be followed by the sharing of food after the show. The food element can be themed to the show’s subject.”

    When the pieces are ready to tour venues in spring, tickets will be about £5 and include refreshments. The deadline to express an interest is Wednesday, September 7. More information is at www.theculturalspring.org.uk.