The Fire Station Auditorium: Sunderland’s Newest Entertainment Venue

30th September 2021

Sunderland’s very own, The Fire Station, is both proud and excited to announce the opening of their incredible new £18m venue–the Auditorium. The state-of-the-art venue promises to become the new hub for entertainment in the city, hosting a whopping 300 events throughout the year.

Up until now, The Fire Station was home to The Engine Room, a delightful bar and bistro. The venue is also home to a heritage centre celebrating the fascinating history of the local area. In addition, The Fire Station offers a range of creative spaces and studios. Each space was specifically designed for creative writing, dance, and drama workshops delivered by Live Theatre, and Dance City.

Since its opening in 2017 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, organisers have adapted The Fire Station into a spectacular venue, offering seating for up to 800 people. The excitement in the local community is almost tangible. The new venue will draw in both national and internationally acclaimed artists and performers to the area. In addition, it offers a wonderful new space for local talent and emerging performers too.

A Fascinating New Festival

To celebrate the launch of this stunning new venue, The First Station has announced an exciting new programme. A programme that is sure to wow all arts enthusiasts. Firestarters is a festival that will run from December 2021 up until June 2022. It will feature a myriad of musical concerts, dance performances, plays, and comedic appearances.

To date, organisers have confirmed appearances from more than 40 artists, and there are more on the way. The festival will kick off on 10th December, with a performance from Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening. They'll be accompanied by The Lake Poets. This magical collaboration promises to enchant concert-goers whilst giving a nod to melodies of long-ago Northumbria, honouring the history of the local land.

You can celebrate the festive season in style with a range of musical performances that are sure to warm your heart and radiate feelings of Christmas cheer. To ring in the most wonderful time of the year, the chamber orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia will treat us to a candle-lit performance on the 12th of December. In true party season style, funk icons Smoove & Terrell will perform on the 19th of December, followed by guest appearances by the Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir, amongst others.

Musical performances will continue into the new year with notable appearances by The Shires, offering a mellow acoustic performance, and Amy Winehouse: A Celebration of her Life and Work with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Other performances you won’t want to miss are the Transatlantic Ensemble performing Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on the 18th of February and The Fisherman’s Friends on 9th of April.

It’s More Than a Music Festival

There is far more to Firestarters than just musical performances though. There is something to enjoy for the entire arts community. For instance, Rendez-Vous Dance Company will showcase their intriguing new piece, ‘The Monocle’. A piece that is set in a Parisian nightclub, in the 1930s. Southpaw will combine contemporary dance styles with vintage in their new piece known as ‘Speakeasy’. In addition, Elysium Theatre Company will showcase their play ‘A Doll’s House’.

You’ll also have the opportunity to experience a riveting piece, ‘Human’. A show performed by a disabled-led circus and theatre company, Extraordinary Bodies. If comedy is your more your speed, you can chuckle along with Gary Delaney. Delaney is a comedic genius, and a regular on ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Live at the Apollo’. Firestarters will be packed with performances across all genres of the arts. You can even expect appearances from local and emerging artists, as well as community-led performances. You can keep an eye on confirmed acts right here.

The Fire Station Auditorium, a Gift to Sunderland’s Arts Community

Sunderland is known for its active arts community, and local residents and artists alike are more than excited for the opening of the new venue. Barry Hyde, frontman and guitarist of The Futureheads, isn't any different. He states, “Sunderland has been crying out for a music venue of this size for many years, and finally it has arrived. We have a vibrant music scene in the city, with some great promoters, musical artists and venues but for me, the auditorium has completed the picture and I'm sure we will see acts in our fine city continue to go from strength to strength for years to come!”.

The Fire Station’s new auditorium is a joint venture. It was largely funded by Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Music, Arts, and Culture Trust. The project also received various grants awarded by the National Lottery and the government’s Cultural Capital Kickstart Fund.

With the long list of confirmed acts, including national and internationally acclaimed artists, Firestarters offers something for everyone. We’re sure tickets will fly off the shelves! To get your hands on tickets simply visit There, you can also keep track of upcoming performances and other news.


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