Creative Christmas Crackers with Sunderland Culture

SUNDERLAND Culture is unwrapping the magic of Christmas, adorning its venues with bows and tinsel, promising weeks of festive delights for families to enjoy.

An exciting programme of Christmas crackers is set to start at Arts Centre Washington (ACW), Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens (SMWG) and the National Glass Centre (NGC), including exhibitions, Christmas crafts, a festive family fun day, Christmas cabaret and films.

The festive fun begins at ACW with A Town Called Christmas, a heartwarming play set in the happiest place on Earth, where gingerbread houses glow and laughter hangs like baubles – or at least it used to. Expect magic, music, and mayhem for all the family in a race to save Christmas (Tuesday 5 – Sunday 10 December).

The holiday cheer continues the following week (Friday, December 15) with A Christmas Cabaret. This family-friendly variety show features music, dance and performance including acts from brilliant local community groups, talented young performers and professional acts including: One Voice Choir, Trish and Trina’s School of Dance, The Voice Studio, Right Track, Uke School and Sinead Livingston.

On Friday 22 December, youngsters can get creative by crafting their own unique Christmas character puppet followed by a fun-filled Sing-a-long Christmas classic, The Muppets Christmas Carol.

There will also be a Curious Arts Youth Session on 16 December for young LGBTQIA+ people aged 11-15 to come together to connect and create with fun activities such as bracelet designing, sculpture building and songwriting.

Over at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, the popular exhibition Elmer and Friends, the Colourful World of David McKee, continues until 6 January and will be accompanied by festive activities including Elmer’s Gift Trail, and Elmer’s Christmas Storytime where children can listen to the story of Elmer’s Christmas, then make and decorate their own clay Elmer character tree decoration.

The venue also has several non-festive events on offer for various ages, including the Mini Science Club on Friday, 15 December, where children aged up to 4 can join Big Science UK for play, exploration, and creative thinking. For young adults, SMWG hosts a free Sunderland Teenage Art Market on Saturday, 9 December, showcasing young creative talent.

National Glass Centre is also inviting families to get creative this Christmas with a variety of events and activities.

Make a pair of decorations to keep for years to come at their Fused Glass Christmas Decoration workshop (ages 6+) or join a Christmas Crafting session on 21 December to create your own special wrapping paper, cards and gift tags – great for fun personalised  gifting.

On 22 December, NGC hosts a Festive Family Fun Day, featuring three hours of engaging and creative activities for families. Participants can enjoy a variety of activities, including glass painting, a Christmas craft session, a seasonal scavenger hunt, and the chance for children to personalise their sweet treats. Families can also enjoy a beloved Christmas film, with Christmas jumpers or Santa hats optional!

The festive spirit continues post-Christmas with ACW’s panto, Robin Hood, performed by Washington Theatre Group over three consecutive weekends (Friday, 12 January – Saturday 27 January). Join Robin, Marion, Little Joan and all the merry men in their battle against the evil Sheriff of Washington and Sir Stinky. Tickets are just £4, promising suspense, drama, romance, and laughs for the whole family.

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