We’re thrilled to announce that The Cultural Spring alongside the MAC (Music, Arts & Culture) Trust are working together with internationally-acclaimed outdoor theatre company Periplum to open Sunderland’s brand new cultural venue, The Fire Station.

The event will be a spectacular live performance which will mark the opening of Sunderland’s new arts hub in November 2017. The project will also see an ambitious participatory programme delivered by partners – Live Theatre, Dance City and Sunderland Music Education Hub (SMEH) – who will work alongside Periplum.

The opening performance, which will be a mixture of movement, music and drama is expected to attract an audience of between 1,500 and 2,000 people and will be presented outside of and around The Fire Station in High Street West.

Periplum has worked with composers, designers, engineers and pyrotechnicians to deliver highly visual and emotionally explosive work in this country and abroad. Their work has included projects for the National Theatre, the British Museum, the BBC, Arts Council England and Brighton Festival. Local work has included projects with Gateshead Council and Stockton Riverside Festival. Upcoming projects include working in Krakow, Poland and Hull as part of the City of Culture 2017 celebrations.

Artistic Director Claire Raftery said she was excited at the prospect at working in Sunderland: “We did a lot of research in preparing our bid for the commission and we’re really looking forward to working with such great partners on what will be a memorable evening and enjoyable community participation programmes.

“Our project will be based on a Sunderland dragon and will be a modern take on the legend of the Lambton Worm. We see the dragon as a symbol of renegeration and reawakening, which is really what the new Fire Station and cultural quarter are about too.

“We’re already working closely with Live Theatre, Dance City and SMEH – we’ll give them a brief based on the narrative we’re developing and then will be checking in with them to see how they’re working with their specific community groups. It will all then come together for the one-off performance.

“We’re hoping to weave in local stories and characters into the narrative, so 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. A show delivered with, and for, and about the people of the city.”

The Fire Station Director Helen Green said: “We were thrilled at the standard of entry into the commissioning process, but Periplum’s ideas and enthusiasm stood out. They’ve created some magical experiences wherever they’ve worked and I’m absolutely convinced that their opening event for The Fire Station will be a special performance that will live long in the memory.

“It’s the sort of large-scale event that Sunderland could expect to see a lot more if we win the 2021 City of Culture bid.

“The Fire Station, The Dun Cow, The Peacock and the soon-to-be-built new auditorium will take Sunderland’s artistic and cultural community a step forward and its right that we celebrate our new hub properly.”

Be a part of The Fire Station Opening

We’re also looking for participants of all ages to take part in the event which is still in the planning stages but the opening event will have dance and theatre elements. You’ll be part of a large-scale performance in the heart of Sunderland and will work alongside professionals and gain brilliant experience. If you’re a keen dancer or performer let us know! If you’d like to be involved in the opening event or even to volunteer and gain some experience please email: michael.barrass@theculturalspring.org.uk