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Fire Station set to ignite

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Published on 23 September 2021

Artist impression of Sunderland's new auditorium at The Fire Station
Artist impression of Sunderland's new auditorium at The Fire Station

After years in the planning and months in the making - Sunderland’s new £18m auditorium will finally open its doors on December 10th with a red-hot programme of shows and performances.

The opening of The Fire Station’s auditorium is a pivotal moment in Sunderland’s cultural renaissance, bringing acclaimed national and international artists to the city, as well as providing a platform for local and emerging artists to shine.

The state-of-the-art auditorium will programme up to 300 events a year in music, theatre, comedy and dance, and can host up to 550 people seated or up to 800 people standing.

The Fire Station is also home to the main lecture room for the University of Sunderland's new Modern Music Industries degree, run by the University in partnership with the Northern Academy of Music Education (NAME) – made up of The Futureheads’ Barry Hyde, and business partner Dan Donnelly.

Barry said: “I am uber-excited to be sharing the stage with such highly skilled and respected musical maestros as part of a special event at a very special venue! Sunderland has been crying out for a music venue of this size for many years and finally it has arrived.

"We have a vibrant music scene in the city, with some great promoters, musical artists and venues but for me the auditorium has completed the picture and I'm sure we will see acts in our fine city continue to go from strength to strength for years to come.”

Kathryn Tickell, who is performing on the opening night, said: “So excited! A North East gig…and in Sunderland’s brilliant new venue! It’s such a big moment and it’s going to be a very special night.”

The Fire Station is operated by Sunderland Culture on behalf of Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust.

Rebecca Ball, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, said: “We can’t wait to be able to open the doors and start welcoming audiences to performances at The Fire Station. This beautiful new venue will be a fantastic addition to the city’s cultural life and we are hugely grateful to our partners the MAC Trust for their vision, ambition and determination in realising this project for Sunderland.”

Tickets will go on sale 10am Friday, September 24th for the new venue’s opening programme, which will run from December this year to next June.

More than 40 artists and performers have been announced, you can see them here.

The Fire Station, which was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2017, houses The Engine Room bar and bistro, a heritage exhibition, and studios specially designed to accommodate creative writing and drama workshops for children and young people delivered by Live Theatre, and participatory workshops in all forms of dance from Dance City.