The Secret Earl of Biddick

Wednesday 8 April, 6pm, webcast

Settle in for a webcast premiere of this cracking play which was specially commissioned by Arts Centre Washington for the visit of the Tall Ships in July 2018.

The River Wear becomes the setting for the local legend of James Drummond, a Scottish Earl who made his way to South Biddick after defeat at the Battle of Culloden. It features music from award-winning playwright, Neil Armstrong, and a cast of professional actors and members of Arts Centre Washington’s Youth Theatre.

The broadcast will be available on You Tube below or here:

Or on Facebook here:

The Soldier’s Return – Opera Sunderland

The Point, Holmeside, Sunderland SR1 3HY

Friday 12th June 7.30pm
Saturday 13th June 3.00pm, 5.00pm & 7.30pm
Sunday 14th June 5.00pm & 7.30pm

Tickets £10 full price. £8 concessions and children

The Soldier’s Return is a brand new opera based on interviews with present day Wearside veterans. Reflecting the soldiers’ own words and experiences, this moving and thought provoking performance will feature singers from Sunderland alongside a professional cast and musicians.

Cancelled: Family Fun Day – All activities are FREE!

Saturday 21 March

Join us for a Family Fun Day to celebrate our new main exhibition No Strings, which will open the same day.

What’s on…
10:30 – 16:00 – Beads, Beads, Beads Family Workshops, FREE, Age 3+ / Drop-in
Create a colourful fused bead hexagon inspired by the work of artist Jade Tapson. Add your finished piece to our growing collaborative beaded artwork which will be on show in the Heritage Gallery throughout the duration of the No Strings exhibition.
Decorate a selection of wooden beads, then make your very own beaded caterpillar or rainbow keyring to take home.

11:00 – 14:00 – Beading Demonstration
Join exhibiting artist Shigenobu Fujishiro in our main gallery for beading demonstrations.

11:00 – 15:00 – Glass Beadmaking Demonstration
Join Ayako Tani for glass bead flame-working demonstrations in the Wearside Glass Studio.

All activities FREE and don’t need to be pre-booked.

You can also catch one of our six daily glassmaking demonstrations on your visit.

Free Entry / Free Parking

Washington Youth Theatre in… Shh!

Tuesday 17 + Wednesday 18 March, 7.30pm

“Shh! – music has been banned! It’s the not too distant future and anyone found strumming a guitar, banging a drum or even blowing a kazoo will be imprisoned without trial. Into this world enters a young girl named Olly – she has been living off-grid in the forest and is only here in the city because her tent had blown away. Imprisoned for whistling in a public place, Olly is determined to escape this silly metropolis and get back to nature. Unfortunately the mysterious powers-that-should-not-be have other ideas. An hour-long comedic dystopian romp for all the family. Written by Neil Armstrong and devised by the group.

No Strings

Beads in a Modern Context

21 March – 13 September 2020

The first glass beads were made one at a time by winding hot glass around a metal rod. To support a faster and greater production process, molten glass was blown and drawn out to form long, hollow tubes, which were cooled and cut into small, even beads (rocaille). In the 15th century, this technique was refined by the master glassmakers on Murano in Italy to make tiny beads for embroidery, an industry which continued well into the 20th century in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Germany and France. Today, glass beads are primarily made in countries including India, the Czech Republic, Japan, China and Taiwan.

‘No Strings’ features the work of seven international artists working with glass beads in unconventional ways. The exhibition will include a beaded burger and coke by Faranak Sohi, an evening dress made using beads and safety pins by Shige Fujishiro and a beaded chicken showing his gymnastic prowess on the rings by Felieke van der Leest.

Caroline Broadhead (Britain) has worked with glass beads to make work including a piece with painterly qualities that has both intricate and distorted detail.

David Chatt (USA) encases items in beads to make everyday items jewel like.

Shige Fujishiro (Germany/Japan) creates an extraordinary range of objects using safety pins and glass beads. His work includes highly detailed recreations of carrier bags making the non-precious precious.

Ran Hwang (South Korea/ USA) has used a technique that draws on eastern meditative values to create an image of an object with western origins.

Felieke van der Leest (Norway/The Netherlands) is a jeweller who combines crochet and beadwork to make her exquisite, unique and humorous work.

Jim Skull (France), in line with his name, has created a range of skulls adorned with glass beads.

Faranak Sohi (Demark/Iran) recreates objects and images of everyday items adding new meaning and value.


Image: Prairie Pioneer, 2012, Felieke van der Leest / Photographer: Eddo Hartmann