From colourful exhibitions to playful performances and fresh family shows, here are 8 cultural events to enjoy in Sunderland this summer… 


Looking for things to do in Sunderland this summer? Well, you’re in luck! Sunderland Culture has unveiled a brilliant programme of summer events running from June through to August and they feature brilliant exhibitions, inspiring plays and fab family shows.

Dive in as the Sunderland Culture team guides you through a cultured summer… 


Best things to do in Sunderland this summer


Arts Centre Washington


A Way Home by Christina Castling

9 June



A county-wide fight lasting over 25 years becomes a 12-month journey at Bet’s kitchen table as her family grapple with identity, loss and belonging in this tender drama. 1951. 

A third of County Durham’s villages are classed as ‘D’, no longer worthy of investment, expected to die quietly they refuse to go without a fight. 

With humour, tenderness and not a small amount of grit, the play speaks of fighting to be heard when no one’s listening and of finding a place to belong. 


The Tortoise and the Hare – A Suitcase Story

16 August



An interactive story for under 6s and their grownups with live music, puppetry and a tale you thought you knew. 

We travel around with our suitcase of stories, spinning yarns and telling tales. What will come out of the suitcase today? 

It’s the Tortoise and the Hare! Get ready to hop like a hare and travel like a tortoise. Who will win, slow and steady or fast and furious? 

Join us for an unexpected dash to the finish line. On your marks, get set…GO! 



25 June



Meet a hedgehog waking up from hibernation…and everything is not as it once was.

Playful, fresh and engaging, Hedge is a brand-new show for children aged 4+ and their families. 

Combining the magic of dance with beautiful costumes, innovative props and puppetry to create an imaginative and atmospheric performance space for audiences to explore and enjoy. 


More information and tickfets for these events can be found at:


Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens


University of Sunderland Art and Design Degree Show

18 June – 29 August



Each year, the University of Sunderland’s School of Art and Design holds degree shows for the graduating BA(Hons) students. 

The degree show is a culmination of the hard work and dedication of their students into the final year of their course, where they build their professional practice, skills and experience. 

It is also a celebration of their creativity and the beginning of their exciting new journey as creative professionals. 

The work of design degree students will be shown at Sunderland Museum through the summer.


Pyrex100: Joblings 1930s Art Glass

Until 27 August



Discover a new display of wonderful art glass that Joblings Wear Glass Works made in the 1930s! 

Originally an experiment by the firm, the limited-edition range was only made for a few years and is now extremely popular with collectors. 

This unique display is part of a series of Pyrex100 events at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.


More information and tickets for these events can be found at:


National Glass Centre


Glass Exchange 

11 September



Bringing together ground-breaking contemporary artists, with some of the most highly skilled glassmakers in the country. 

Glass Exchange’ presents four ambitious new works across the North East, in sites ranging from Durham Cathedral to a disused shop in Sunderland Centre. 

Over the past 24 months, the four critically acclaimed artists have been working with glass specialists at National Glass Centre to realise their creative ideas. 

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

Artworks include:

  • Colonial Ghost by Pascale Marthine Tayou at National Glass Centre
  • The Life of St. Bede by Monster Chetwynd at Durham Cathedral 
  • Ghost Shop by Ryan Gander at 61 High Street West, Sunderland 
  • The Moment and Requiem by Katie Paterson at Durham Cathedral

More information and tickets for these events can be found at:


Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art 



Until 11 September



This exhibition brings together a broad selection of artists to explore the notion of ‘Island’ life in Britain since 1945. 

‘Island’ explores current coastal issues including environmental change and rising sea levels, unemployment, poverty, inadequate housing and resources, and our difficult relationship between land and sea. 

These concerns are presented side-by-side with romantic seascapes and documentary photography celebrating the heydays of the British seaside holiday. 


More information and tickets for these events can be found at:


The Fire Station


Shakespeare’s Globe presents Julius Caesar

26 June



Shakespeare’s Globe is coming to Sunderland! 

Presenting a startlingly relevant new production of epic tragedy Julius Caesar, a brutal tale of ambition, incursion and revolution to life. 

Conspiracy to kill, cunning rhetoric, a divisive fight for Greatness: Ancient Rome has never felt closer to home. 

When Cassius and Brutus decide Rome’s leader Caesar poses a political threat to their beloved country, there’s only one solution… 


More information and tickets for these events can be found at:


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

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