Sunderland College’s Arts Academy theatre is to be renamed as part of an ambitious rebrand and launch of a new production company.
The 200-seat commercial venue at Bede Campus will be known as Theatre Eighteen, a nod to the Music and Performance faculty’s former ‘Room 18’ at Shiney Row Campus which was demolished in 2016.
A faculty-led theatre company – Production Eighteen – will also be introduced which will manage the college’s performances across the North East.
Sheree Rymer, Faculty Director for Creative, Digital and Computing, said: “It has been an aspiration of mine to get this theatre space branded and with a name that will give many former students and audiences, fond memories. I was one of those students who first performed in Room 18 between 1995 and 1997, and then went on to teach other students and direct many plays in it.
“This magical space is where my career within Creative Arts first began. The production company will enable our students to have professional experiences and to be recognised within the city and beyond. This venue is extraordinary and deserves to have a name that highlights what it is, which is a professional theatre.”
A live brief will be launched for students to design a new logo which will then be brought to life by Engineering and Manufacturing students as a 3D signage which will be displayed on campus.
During the consultation to decide on a new name, staff and former students felt Theatre Eighteen was the most fitting name as it brought back many fond memories of their time at Shiney Row Campus and their acclaimed performances.
John Reed, Programme Leader for Music, said: “Quite fittingly, the last part of the whole Shiney Row campus to be demolished was the stage area. I travel back from Bede Campus and would often stop to take photos of the various stages of demolition. The stage stood alone a huge plot of cleared wasteland in final act of defiance, which I thought was fitting.
“The theatre on the old campus was used for a vast array of different performances and even parent’s evenings at times. Dance drama and music shows would take place on a regular basis and the whole department would come along to support the array of shows.
“Room 18 was the first place where many of our now successful former students spent their first moments as performers and provided the foundation of many career pathways.”
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We are the College of the Year.
(*Top college nationally for BTECs, Pearson 2019)
100% of our HND and HNC students progressed to employment or further study.
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We have recently invested £50 million in our facilities.