£18m Sunderland cultural venue set to open in December
SUNDERLAND’S business community has welcomed the latest addition to the city’s cultural venues.
The Fire Station Auditorium, located next to Sunderland Empire in High Street West, will open for business in December and the £18m venue’s opening programme was revealed earlier this month.
Now local business organisations, Sunderland City Council’s leader and the architect behind the development have spoken about the impact the new theatre will have on the city centre economy.
Ellen Thinnesen, Chair of Sunderland Business Partnership, said: “It’s such a great time to be in Sunderland and the Fire Station is helping bring excitement back into the city centre and boost an area that boasts fantastic businesses and historic buildings.
“When the auditorium opens and residents and visitors come to enjoy the incredible line up of events, it will naturally support the surrounding restaurants and bars, and indeed will create more opportunities for fresh creative talent to take to a stage – it will be hugely positive for our city centre economy, as well as developing artists.”
Sharon Appleby, chief executive of Sunderland BID, said: “Sunderland’s cultural vibrancy is growing and the new auditorium will attract music, theatre and comedy acts looking for a state-of-the-art venue from which to perform.
“It’s a huge boost for the city centre, and will provide an important boost to business owners in the surrounding area, making this beautiful quarter of the city an even more attractive environment for visitors and residents to spend their time.”
Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening will ignite Firestarters when they will be joined by special guest The Lake Poets for The Fire Station Auditorium’s opening gig on Friday, December 10.
Next up the region’s chamber orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia, featuring new leader Maria Wloszczowska, will perform a candle-lit Christmas concert on Sunday, December 12, followed by British queen of soul and gospel Mica Paris on Wednesday, December 15.
On Friday, December 17 Mercury Music Prize nominees Field Music will present The Firestarters Revue, with a sensational line-up of guests including rising stars Martha Hill, Reali-T, Faye Fantarrow alongside Sunderland icons Barry Hyde and Ross Millard (The Futureheads) and Frankie Francis.
The Christmas season will come to a close with a party to end all parties with North East funk icons Smoove & Turrell (Sunday, December 19) fresh from their chart-topping seventh studio album, Stratos Bleu. The event will also include special guests the Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir, MC Kay Grayson and the Origin Crew dancers.
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