The National Theatre - working in Sunderland

Peter Lathan

Thanks to a grant of £1,166,408 from Arts Council England's Strategic Touring fund, the National Theatre is to work on a three-year audience development programme in Sunderland alongside Sunderland Empire and the new Fire Station development.

The three-year programme is intended to broaden and increase theatre audiences and productions. It includes four main strands: large and mid-scale touring, sustained community projects and an extensive education programme including touring into schools, alongside an audience development research project.

The project is one of six across the country. The others are in Doncaster, Greater Manchester, Outer East London, Wakefield and Wolverhampton.

The NT will also work with other local bridge organisations and cultural development partnerships.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director of the National Theatre, said “reaching new audiences and supporting theatre making across the country is one of the most important things we do. This three-year project will allow us to work with a range of partners for a sustained period, including smaller or new venues. We hope to build a lasting local audience in partnership with these venues and organisations, through our combined expertise and resources, and their deep community links.”

“I am absolutely thrilled that the National Theatre will be coming to work with Sunderland Culture,” Fire Station director Helen Green said. “It is outside the means of a large percentage of our residents to travel to London, so to have the National come to us to work in our schools and our communities is very exciting. Our new mid-scale theatre, The Fire Station, will open during the period of this partnership and we are excited to explore the many ways we can work together to enthuse and inspire audiences and emerging artists.”