Another summer of unforgettable adventures planned for Sunderland’s parks

Theatre in the park Macbeth

If you come down to the parks this summer, you’re sure of a big surprise! Adventurers young and old are once again invited to journey through Sunderland’s parks and open spaces on a series of unforgettable theatre experiences - as Theatre Space North East, the award winning community theatre company return with its spectacular summer programme.

The Plays In the Parks season is back for 2015, following the overwhelming success of the previous year’s specially extended event - which saw 3 parks across the city magically transformed into Shakespearian battle fields, magical forests and a delightfully silly medieval England. For 2015, Theatre Space are once again determined to prove that ‘Any Space Is a Theatre Space’ as the Plays In the Parks return with a Shakespearean double bill and a show perfect for kids (and big kids alike) written especially for this year’s summer season.

Plays in the Parks 2015 will once again visit Roker, Mowbray and Barnes parks, presenting unique, magical theatre experiences - which we like to call Theatre Space Expeditions. Keen explorers this year will be lead through the stunning terrain of the seafront’s Roker Park, as Shakespeare’s deliciously dark classic Hamlet is played out all around. Roker’s landscape lent itself perfectly to last year’s thrilling production of Macbeth and as the tale of a turbulent family tearing itself apart is played out throughout the park this year, audiences can expect even more high class drama in a beautiful setting. Later in the month the city centre’s Mowbray Park becomes the home of dastardly pirates and hidden treasure as we transform the park into a delightfully silly desert island in a specially written adaption of classic tale ‘Treasure Island’. Aimed at younger explorers and their motley crew, this swashbuckling high-seas adventure will be presented, for the first time, during the day, perfect for keeping the younger ones entertained during the summer holidays. Closing off a magical summer of adventure, we return to where it all started, as the magnificent Barnes Park plays host to another Shakespearian favourite. A hilarious, rip-roaring tale of deception and confusion, Twelfth Night will be set against a beautiful twilight evening in the park.

Theatre Space’s unique productions, make full use of the landscape, transporting audiences around the park, as the action happens all around. Audiences become part of the show as our band of storytellers guide the adventurers right through the heart of the story. Through specially adapted versions of these iconic stories and innovative staging and storytelling, audiences will be fully immersed in the drama on their own magical expedition through the parks.

Following on the tradition set out from the first event three years ago, this year’s events all remain free to attend with a suggested donation of £8 collected at the end of the performance to help with the costs of the production. The aim of the season is to create fully inclusive theatre experiences that anyone can attend, everyone from dog walkers to those on an evening stroll. The nature of the roaming performances means that everyone using the park that day has the chance to join the audience as it traverses through the parks. The Plays in the Parks have even managed to coerce certain rowdy groups of people using the parks that evening to join with the audience and become fully immersed in some summertime Shakespeare.

Hamlet – Roker Park Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 July 7pm. Meet at Lower beach entrance.

Treasure Island – Mowbray Park Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 August 1pm and 3.30pm.

Meet at museum entrance gate.

Twelfth Night – Barnes Park Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 August 6.30pm.  Meet at coach house café.

This year’s summer season is set to be our biggest and best yet, thanks to the support of our key partners in the city. The Cultural Spring, Sunderland Live, and Sunderland City Council, Community Chest (via Friends of Roker Park) See it Do it, and TTR Barnes have all supported this year’s season. The University of Sunderland have also kindly supported the season by providing rehearsal space. The season will also once again be supported by local Northumbria Police and Police Community Support Officers to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all.

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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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