Plays in the parks return for Summer 2019


Theatre Space North East’s ‘Expedition Control’ are delighted to announce the return of their much-loved Plays In The Parks season, thanks to support from Sunderland Libraries Services.

The season of outdoor productions has delighted audiences (or ‘adventurers’ to use their proper title) with its unique brand of roving storytelling, leading audiences throughout the stunning landscapes of Sunderland’s parks and open spaces, for many years. 

This year with support from Sunderland City Council Libraries Services, the Plays in The Parks will return to Roker Park, Mowbray Park and Barnes Park with a mix of classic Shakespeare and specially commissioned children’s theatre in July and August.

The productions (or expeditions as we like to call them) will once again make creative and innovative use of the existing public space, to transport adventurers right into the heart of some of the greatest stories ever told. The epic battles of Shakespeare’s Henry V (Roker Park) will take place in front, behind and all around you, whilst the whimsical adventures of The Tin Solider will provide a whole new perspective on the city’s Mowbray Park for little and big kids alike. The side-splitting Comedy of Errors will close off the season in uproarious fashion as the sun sets in Barnes Park.

As has been the case since the first production in Barnes Park in 2012, each expedition will be free to attend, with dog walkers, bike riders and park users alike joining the journey along the route. No ticket purchase or advanced booking is necessary, although the opportunity to donate towards the cost of the productions, which again is a recommended £10 per explorer, will be provided at the end of the show. Attendees are free to give as much or as little as they like however.

The importance of providing free and open access to cultural experiences like Plays in the Parks, in a period of significant cultural growth for the city, is recognised by Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly.

Councillor Kelly said

“Sunderland Council are pleased to be able to support Plays in the Park providing opportunities for everyone to become involved in a fun and interactive experience and the works of Shakespeare through a local theatre company. The city has a real wealth of literary and creative talent and it's only right that we should celebrate that,”

The company will once again cast local actors and musicians, with many favourites from previous years returning alongside some new faces. For Artistic Director of Theatre Space, Corinne Kilvington, the North East is awash with creative talent;

“When we took the incredibly difficult decision to rest the Plays In The Parks in 2018, we knew that we’d need to return, bigger and better than ever. We’re lucky enough to work with some of the area’s best performing talent and pride ourselves in offering opportunities to new talent emerging from the region’s excellent training institutions. Their talents, combined with our unique approach to storytelling and the growing appetite for this sort of thing in Sunderland means that the 2019 Plays in the Parks season will be another unforgettable experience for our adventurers,”

The Plays In The Parks comes hot off the heels of Theatre Space’s A Christmas Carol, presented at Newcastle Castle in the run up to the festive season. The show, which combined stunning puppetry, actors and live music sold out within 48 hours of going on sale and was well received by audiences and critics. The company plan to return with a touring version of the production for the 2019 festive season.

For further information on performance dates:

Henry V Click here

The Tin Soldier Click here

Comedy of Errors Click here

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Sunderland's Friendship Agreement with Washington DC makes us the only city in Europe to enjoy such a relationship with the world's most powerful city. Washington Old Hall is home to the direct ancestors of the first president of the United States of America.


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