Royal opening for the Fire Station

Peter Lathan

Sunderland’s new arts hub, The Fire Station, which houses a dance studio, drama studio, a heritage centre and the Engine Room bistro, will be opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 21 February.

During their visit, the Duke and Duchess will be given a tour of the building by MAC Trust Chair Paul Callaghan, CBE, and Helen Green, Director of The Fire Station.

Dance City and Live Theatre are both tenants of the building, and the Royal couple will watch a local primary school class take part in a Live Tales story writing session and a Dance Jam workshop in The Fire Station’s first-floor studios.

They will also watch a Bollywood dance performance, meet a group of young people involved in the Little Inventors project and talk to some of the musicians from The Bunker and Pop Recs.

They will also unveil a plaque marking the opening of The Fire Station.

Paul Callaghan, Chair of the MAC Trust said, "the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust is delighted to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to The Fire Station.

“The renovation of this iconic building is a symbol of the city’s growing cultural vibrancy and to have this recognised by such important guests is a real honour and a privilege."

“This is a superb opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work being done by children and young people in arts and culture in Sunderland,” Helen Green added.

“The Fire Station is very proud to have been chosen to showcase so many projects such as Little Inventors, Curious Connections and Live Tales, just a few of the original and innovative groups being led by our cultural organisations as well as in schools and youth clubs across the city.”

The Fire Station is phase two of the MAC Trust’s plans to create a £10 million cultural quarter in the city centre. Phase one was the acquisition and restoration of the Edwardian Dun Cow and The Peacock pubs.

The third phase involves building a 450-seat auditorium between the Dun Cow and The Fire Station. Work on the auditorium is due to start within months.