FEATURE: Sunderland Fire Station | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It’s fair to say that investment and opportunities are beginning to make their mark in Sunderland. It’s thanks, in part, to the vigour surrounding the City of Culture 2021 bid, and one of the most eagerly anticipated developments is the reopening of Sunderland’s Fire Station.

The £3.5m refurbishment will see the historic building transformed into a centre for the arts. Helen Green, director of The Fire Station, explains what the centre plans to deliver. “The Fire Station is destined to be a fantastic new arts hub for the city offering performing activities for all ages and abilities, with the support of Live Theatre and Dance City. The activity programme will gradually develop over the next year paving the way for the new venue which is being built on land next door to The Fire Station and whose programme will complement the entertainment provided by the Empire Theatre next door. It will open in Autumn 2019 enabling Sunderland to host the type of music, theatre and dance that has previously bypassed the city owing to the lack of a suitable venue. We are already very excited about the calibre of artists the venue will be able to attract.”

For Live Theatre, their involvement provides the ideal opportunity to further enhance their already commendable approach to the development of the region’s theatrical landscape, as the chief executive Jim Beirne explains: “Live Theatre is delighted to be part of the exciting cultural developments that are happening in Sunderland. Live Theatre is already in a partnership with Sunderland University, helping deliver degree level programmes and having worked with both primary and secondary schools in Sunderland we know there is tremendous talent and a huge demand for support in creative writing and performing from children and young people in the city.”

Anthony Baker, Dance City’s artistic director is equally as enthusiastic. “We’re really excited to be opening Dance City Sunderland. We’ve been running classes in Newcastle for over thirty years and we want to open up opportunities for more people to dance in Sunderland. Excellent teaching, accessible classes and a warm and friendly Dance City welcome are part of our DNA.”

The opening event takes place on Thursday 23rd November and will fittingly see a culmination of dance, drama, music, fire and fireworks take over the space in front of the venue on High Street West. FireFlight, delivered by respected outdoor theatre company Periplum, will be a dramatic free performance re-interpreting the legend of the Lambton Worm, will be performed by over 200 local people.


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