Sunderland Culture have tonnes of spring events to enjoy! 
From awe-inspiring art exhibitions, thrilling theatre productions and searingly-hot music performances, Sunderland Culture have a stunning events programme to dive into this spring… 


Sunderland Culture unveil stunning programme of spring events


Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences

9 April – 5 June 2022 

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens 



Grayson Perry’s series of large colourful tapestries depicting the life of fictional Sunderland born character Tim Rakewell returns to the city for the tenth anniversary of the work. 

Follow Tim’s story through the British class system from working-class roots through to computer software millionaire. 

Produced alongside the television series All in the Best Possible Taste the tapestries document a variety of British tastes and lifestyles. 

Britishness is also the focus of Perry’s monumental tapestry ‘Comfort Blanket’, shown in the North East for the first time and described by the artist as ‘A portrait of Britain to wrap yourself up in, a giant banknote; things we love, and love to hate.’ 

Free tickets are available from Monday 7 March via the link below. 


The Fire Station

Throughout spring



Whether you’re an indie rock champion, adventurous jazzer, theatre devotee, stand-up fan or just after a great night out, there’s something for everyone at The Fire Station this spring. 

An action-packed programme kicks off with a highly-anticipated show by former Maccabees frontman, Orlando Weeks. 

Orlando Weeks takes to the stage to celebrate his brand new solo album, A Quickening. 

It’s a wonderfully eclectic record that charts his emotions and expectations ahead of imminent parenthood – so you can expect an unforgettable atmospheric performance from this beloved indie hero.

The Fire Station will also welcome Live at the Apollo star Gary Delaney, before award-winning folk songwriter Rowan Rheingans takes to the stage and a musical puppet-filled adventure for the kids, The Smartest Giant in Town, delight younger audiences. 

As spring really begin to heat up, The Fire Station will then host Speakeasy; a devilishly-good piece by award-winning choreographer Robby Graham (Southpaw Dance Company), the radical circus performance company Extraordinary Bodies and many more. 


Vinca Petersen: Make Social Honey – A Collective Search for JOY Until 2 May 

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art



Make Social Honey presents new and existing work by internationally renowned photographer, installation, multimedia and performance artist Vinca Petersen. 

Her work emerges from a deep understanding and commitment to social and political engagement with underrepresented communities in order to give them a voice and recognition. 

The exhibition asks us to consider where can JOY be found, is JOY a subversive act within our capitalist society, and how can we come together again after a long period of restrictions and social isolation. 

A wonderful project supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. 


Drama, live music, film and exhibitions 

Throughout Spring

Arts Centre Washington



Drama, live music, film and an exhibition from young local artists help make up a busy spring programme at Arts Centre Washington. 

Theatre highlights start with These Hills are Ours on 3 March; a play written and performed by Chumbawamba founder Boff Whalley and award-winning Dan Bye. The pair decide to run a series of routes from the centre of a city to a peak overlooking the city. 

In story and in song, this is the story of what they found – about the relationship between city and country, between wild and controlled, about land ownership, about why we’re drawn to wild places – and about what we’re really running from.

Rebecca Vaughan brings her one-woman show I, Elizabeth, to the venue. 

Using only Elizabeth’s own letters, speeches and writings, Rebecca continues her successful collaboration with director Guy Masterson (Austen’s Women, the Unremarkable Death of Marilyn and The Time Machine), exploring the Queen’s struggle to reconcile the desires of womanhood with the duties of sovereignty. 

I, Elizabeth takes to the Arts Centre Washington stage on Thursday, March 17. 

With original songs from Maximo Park’s Paul Smith, Luca Rutherford’s Hold On, Let Go arrives at Arts Centre Washington on Thursday May 5. 

This Unfolding Theatre production is a personal, poignant meditation on the gaps in our memories and what it is that we want to pass on to future generations. 

Dazzling family productions include Benjamin Storey’s epic adventure The Boy and The Sea Horse (Thursday, April 14); Hedge, a show combining immersive dance theatre, beautiful costumes and puppetry to tell the tale of a hedgehog waking up from hibernation (Saturday, June 25) and The Secret Garden, a story told in word and song about the mystery behind a secret garden on Wednesday, June 15. 


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Pyrex100 & Joblings Art Glass

19 March – 27 August

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens 



This year marks 100 years since Pyrex was made in Sunderland. 

At the Museum there will be three displays celebrating glass; beginning with Jobling’s art glass. 

Pyrex100 opens by highlighting the art glass Jobling’s Wear Glass Works made in the 1930s. 

The range was an experiment by the firm at a time when their highly lucrative licence to produce Pyrex was under review. 

Designers were recruited from France to produce modern glass in up-to-date colours. The range was only made for a few years. Although not a profitable line in its time, Jobling’s art glass is now popular with collectors today. 


Glass Exchange

From 26 March

National Glass Centre 



Bringing together ground-breaking contemporary artists, with some of the most highly skilled glassmakers in the country, Glass Exchange presents four ambitious new artworks across the North East, in sites ranging from Durham Cathedral to a disused shop in Sunderland Centre. 

Over the past 24 months, artists Pascale Marthine Tayou, Katie Paterson, Monster Chetwynd and Ryan Gander have been working with specialist teams at National Glass Centre to realise their ideas. 

This fascinating process of artistic and technical exchange is documented in a brand-new exhibition at National Glass Centre. 

Glass Exchange is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, with additional funding from Art Fund, Henry Moore Foundation and the Coastal Communities Fund, and with thanks to the University of Sunderland. 


Which spring event at Sunderland Culture do you have tickets for? Get in touch online. Twitter: @SunderlandVibe, Instagram: @SunderlandVibe, Facebook: @SunderlandVibe.

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