Help launch The Fire Station

Peter Lathan

200 volunteer performers are offered the chance to be part of the spectacular launch of Sunderland’s new cultural venue, The Fire Station, on 23 November.

The opening performance, which will be a mixture of movement, music, pyrotechnics and drama, will be the story of the Sunderland Dragon, a new take on the story of the Lambton Worm. It will take place outside and around The Fire Station on the same night as the city’s Christmas Lights switch-on.

The performance will be created by outdoor theatre company Periplum in association with Live Theatre, Dance City and Sunderland Music Education Hub (SMEH) which will be resident in the Fire Station.

The project is jointly produced by the MAC Trust, which runs The Fire Station, and the Cultural Spring, which works in Sunderland and South Tyneside to increase cultural involvement among residents.

“There will be two stages to the community sessions,” explained Emma Horsman, project director for The Cultural Spring. “The first few will be taster sessions in drama, dance and music, with our three delivery partners, Dance City, Live Theatre and Sunderland Music Education Hub, working together. The later sessions will be led separately by our partners and will give specific roles to our volunteers. They’ll be open to anyone with an interest in dance, music, movement or performance, from ages 16 and over and to people of no experience to people with vast experience.”

Participants must be over the age of 16 and anyone interested should e-mail michael.barrass@theculturalspring.org.uk or phone him on 0191 427 8197.

“The opening event will be the culmination of months of workshops and rehearsals and we’re looking for as many local people to get involved as possible,” said Helen Green, director of The Fire Station. “We’re very excited by what Periplum have planned—it’s going to be a very special evening and a fantastic way to officially open what will be a game-changing venue in Sunderland.

"Periplum will be weaving local stories and characters into the narrative, so they will be speaking to lots of Sunderland people to hear their stories. The show will be a celebration of Sunderland, its people, its history, and its future—hopefully as UK City of Culture in 2021.”

Periplum produces site-responsive and outdoor theatre performance, making work that is narrative-led and content-driven while bringing the intimacy of human drama into shows of a spectacular scale. It has delivered projects for the National Theatre, the British Museum, the BBC, Arts Council England and Brighton Festival. It will perform its show 451 in Hull on 2 September 2017 as part of the City of Culture celebrations.