National to celebrate people and music of Sunderland

Published: 26 May 2024
Reporter: David Chadderton

Company in NT Public Acts production of The Odyssey Episode 4 The Island of the Sun at The Fire Station in Sunderland Credit: Brinkhoff-Mögenburg

Sunderland Culture, Sunderland Empire and National Theatre will collaborate on a new production as part of the National Theatre’s Public Acts nationwide programme.

Director of Public Acts Emily Lim, co-director and choreographer Dan Canham and Sunderland-born musician Ross Millard of The Futureheads will develop a new production performed by residents and professional artists from across the city.

Set in a live recording studio, people from the local community come together to record an album and, in doing so, to make a record of who they are. The production will take place 25–27 April 2025 at The Fire Station in Sunderland and will feature more than 50 people from community groups, who will take part in weekly creative workshops with theatre-makers, theatre trips and creative social opportunities from June 2024.

The partner community groups taking part will include Back on the Map, which is working to transform Hendon for the better, Connect Company relaxed drama group for adults aged 18+ with additional needs at Sunderland Empire, Sunderland Nigerian Family Group, which provides support for Nigerian families, and The Alumni Group, a group formed of Sunderland people who took part in the 2023 nationwide Public Acts production of The Odyssey.

Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, said, “we’re thrilled to be working on another prestigious project with National Theatre, especially one that is going to celebrate Sunderland’s fantastic musical landscape made even more exciting by the opportunity to incorporate some big dance routines.

"It’s an amazing opportunity for community members and local artists and musicians to create a new production alongside the National Theatre and Sunderland Empire."

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