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Sunderland cultural quarter gets £6m Arts Council fillip

Artist's impression of the new 450-seat venue in Sunderland, part of the city's new Music, Arts and Cultural Quarter development Artist's impression of the new 450-seat venue in Sunderland, part of the city's new Music, Arts and Cultural Quarter development
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Plans for a major arts and cultural development in Sunderland have been given a £6 million boost by Arts Council England.

The Arts Council has awarded the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust the money from the National Lottery for the creation of a 450-seat venue that will be at the heart of the city’s Music, Arts and Culture Quarter.

The auditorium – which will have retractable seating to fit 700 people standing – is part of a wider, £8.2 million development that recently received planning permission and will start construction later this year.

Also included in the quarter is the redevelopment of the old fire station, plans for which were first mooted in 2014.

The Fire Station is being developed as a creative hub and performance venue, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The capital project also includes the refurbishment of pub the Dun Cow, which took place in 2014.

There is also a planned outdoor performance space.

The new auditorium, which will be behind the Fire Station, is due to open in 2018.

Announcing funding for the auditorium, ACE’s north director Jane Tarr said the project was one of several that were improving culture in Sunderland.

“We’re excited about this landmark project in Sunderland’s cultural development and look forward to continuing to work with partners across the city to deliver the new auditorium. It’s an investment in the strong leadership which has seen the cultural offer blossom in Sunderland over the past few years and we hope people in Sunderland will have a new venue to be proud of,” she said.

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