Asunder, the story of Sunderland during the First World War

Sunday, July 10, 2016

To mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, Sunderland Cultural Partnership and 1418 Now have come together to create Asunder – one of the North East’s most significant commemorations of the WW1 Centenary.

In 1916 the North East was in the front line, thanks to its shipyards and munitions factories. Asunder will tell the story of what happened to a typical British town during the First World War, with virtually all of its men abroad fighting and all of its women and children left behind.

Through the stories of half a dozen people from Wearside and Tyneside, we uncover just what life was like on the home front - with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballers, some of them even wearing trousers. The world was changing.  

The story is told through a beautiful film carefully crafted with archive and new footage, narrated by Kate Adie with Alun Armstrong as the voice of the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, and a dramatic new soundtrack scored and performed live by Mercury Music Prize nominated Field Music, electronic music duo Warm Digits and the world famous Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Alongside the film on July 10 there will be family freindly activities in Sunderland city centre to commemorate the lives of those affected by Battle of the Somme and the events of 1916. The activities run from 12 Noon to 4.30pm on Crowtree Road, close to Keel Square and at Sunderland Minster. The activities include First World War re-enactments from groups including the Time Bandits and 29th Field Kitchen Living History Group. Story telling, theatre, willow hurdle making and live big band music are also planned.

Follow us on Facebook/asunder1916 and Twitter @1916asunder

Tickets available from Sunderland Empire Box Office 0844 871 3022 or

*Booking fees apply

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Did you know?

Sunderland marks the easterly end of the 140-mile C2C (Coast to Coast) route. The C2C cycle trail from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland is Britain's most popular long distance route, with up to 15,000 cyclists completing it every year.


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