Sunderland is to have a double dose of ‘the boy who never grew up’ this autumn and winter.

Peter Pan – and his rival Captain Hook – are characters in this year’s Sunderland Empire pantomime. In addition to this, they will be popping up in Roker Park as part of Sunderland’s Festival of Light.

As well as enjoying attractions such as the Sunderland Sphere, the Winter Wonderland feature and the Underwater Kingdom, visitors will have the chance to have their photos taken alongside a pirate photo-board featuring the two characters.

Anyone sharing their photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, along with the hashtag #SundEmpire, could win a family ticket to see Peter Pan at the Sunderland Empire Theatre.

The pirate photo-board is located between the Pirates and the Fairy Dell area.

The Empire is also sponsoring a visitor map to the Festival of Light. This map will be given out free at the event and can also be downloaded from

Cllr John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and cultures, said, “The support of our cultural and community partners is vital to the success of events such as this and I’d like to thank the Sunderland Empire for sponsoring the event map and offering a fantastic prize.”

“We want this year’s Festival of Light and Sunderland Illuminations to be the best yet, and I’m sure all our visitors will enjoy themselves with plenty to see and do along our award-winning seafront.”

“Events bring people into our city and I hope when they are here they can see what else we have to offer, including the wonderful Sunderland Empire, which stages some of the biggest shows outside London’s West End, which include Peter Pan this year.”

Councillor John Kelly admires the illuminations in Roker Park, Sunderland.

Claire Pickersgill, the communications manager for the Sunderland Empire, said, “We are delighted to show our continued support to the Festival of Light and Sunderland Illuminations through both sponsorship of the map and the exciting new Peter-Pan-themed social media competition.”

“This successful event continues to appeal to visitors from across the region and links intrinsically to our ethos of increasing the footfall into the city through high-profile visitor attractions for the whole family to enjoy.”

“We look forward to seeing the selfie station photos from Peter Pan’s corner lighting up social media! Visitors are reminded to tag us for the chance to win the swashbuckling panto prize.”

Tickets for the Festival of Light are available online now. Visitors are reminded that tickets must be booked in advance online and cannot be purchased at the event.

To learn more, book tickets or keep up to date with travel information, please go to

Another new feature at this year’s Festival of Light is the Sunderland Sphere. People can have messages to loved ones displayed on its massive spherical screens for just £5.00. To book a message, please visit

(The featured image shows cast members of Peter Pan, this year’s panto at the Sunderland Empire.)

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