A number of critically acclaimed plays are due to be put on at Arts Centre Washington, thanks to the Sunfest festival.  

The festival – which will include drama from some of the UK’s and the world’s best playwrights – will run from 4th to 27th May.

Organised by the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, Sunfest’s plays will feature students from the university’s drama department.

Sunfest will see the students taking over Arts Centre Washington’s theatre space for an entire month, during which they will put on their own programme of theatre. It will be the fifth time that the annual festival has been staged. 

The academic dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, Arabella Plouviez, said, “There are some really challenging performances being undertaken, giving our students a fantastic opportunity to plan, produce and perform.”  

Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, said, “Some of theatre’s greatest names and greatest plays are being staged at the centre as part of Sunfest.”

“Sunfest is a great opportunity to catch up on the stage classics – new and old – and to show support for our city’s university, its students and their work.”

photo courtesy of Hernan Pinera, Flickr Creative Commons
Sunfest will feature work by some of the world’s best playwrights (photo courtesy of Hernan Pinera, Flickr Creative Commons)

Matthew Blyth, audience development officer at Arts Centre Washington, said, “We are delighted that the students are returning to Arts Centre Washington and look forward to seeing their hard work come to life on stage.”

“These students represent a future generation of artists who we hope will go on to live, work and thrive in the cultural landscape of the north east and beyond.”

The plays to be performed are:

On the Wrong Side of the Tide (Thursday, May 4th) 

In this new play – which draws from the north east’s deep folkloric traditions – some students visit Holy Island and soon become entwined in some spooky goings-on.

Fractured Voices/Patterns of Purple Flowers (Saturday, May 6th) 

Theatre inspired by the true stories of domestic abuse survivors.

Gut Girls (Thursday, May 11th and Saturday, May 13th) 

A play about a group of girls who work in the gutting sheds of a cattle market and how their lives are shaken up when the sheds close. 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Thursday, May 18th) 

In this classic play by Bertolt Brecht, a peasant girl rescues a baby and soon becomes a better mother to the child than its rich natural parents.

Mother Courage (Saturday, May 20th) 

Another Brecht play in which a mother and her children trudge behind an army in the Thirty Years War, selling provisions to soldiers from a cart.

Coriolanus (Thursday, May 25th) 

This gripping tragedy by William Shakespeare explores political manipulation and the desire for revenge.

Romeo and Juliet (Saturday, May 27th)

Shakespeare’s great romantic tragedy and the world’s best-known love story.

Tickets for all the plays cost £7.50/£6.50 (concessions)/£5.50 (students). To learn more, please go to www.artscentrewashington.co.uk


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