Pursuers of the Future

Sunderland Culture is working on a new project called Pursuers of the Future!

We are staging a community play, specifically written for Sunderland, about hopes and dreams for the future of the city.

The play will be written by writer Scott Young and will be staged later this year in Sunderland.

How can you get involved?

At this initial stage of the project, we would like to talk to as many people from our communities as possible to find out directly from the people who live and work in the city what they would like Sunderland’s future to look like. What would you like to see happening in Sunderland? What are your hopes and dreams for the city?

 If you would like to take part in our project, follow this link to participate to the conversation: www.facebook.com/groups/ 832505747235500

More about the project:

Here is a letter from our writer Scott Young addressed directly to the people of Sunderland:

Hi my name is Scott, I am a writer and theatre maker and I have been asked by Sunderland Culture to write a brand new story about the city. I live in the north east of England and know Sunderland a little, I’ve worked in the city, visited some of its buildings, museums and places but now, with your help, I’d like to get to know it a lot better.

I’m really interested and excited to learn more about what life in Sunderland is like, what makes Sunderland stand out from other cities and places to live, what makes it great, or not! I’m really keen to try and understand as much about the place as possible, and hear first hand from the experts – that’s you!

There’s lots of history and culture that has been well documented over the years. The familiar stories that we all already know – the shipyards and docks, the battles, the brewery and the Victoria Hall. We all have the famous footage of Bob Stokoe in his trilby hat bounding across the pitch in glee clear in our memories and we all know about the famous Glass museum and the beautiful Winter Gardens.

But for me, the things I really want to know, the stories I truly want to tell are about the city’s people. I want to learn what Sunderland means to its daughters and sons. I want to hear about life in Sunderland. What it means to have the city in your blood. What it takes to be a Makem. What it feels like to live in the city and breathe its air everyday. I want to try and understand how life in Sunderland is different to everywhere else in the world, and I want to find out what really makes the city tick.

I believe that it must be the people, and I think it’s about the different communities that exist in the city but I don’t actually know – and that’s why I’m asking if you can help.

I want to write a play that makes people proud. I want to tell a story that the people of Sunderland recognise. I want to find a way to celebrate the city, and find all that is good, and maybe not so good too, but that feels like home. I want to capture it’s unique voice and put it centre stage. I want to find it’s adventures and show them to the world.  I want to know where it’s going, what it wants and what it dreams of. I want to be able to show it off and wear it with pride, make it stand out, shout loud and sing from its little corner of the map, because why not? Why shouldn’t it?

So, I’m asking for your help. I’m asking if the people who know Sunderland better than everyone else – the people who live in the city, who call it their home will talk to me about it. I’m asking if you’ll reach out and connect with me and be so generous as to tell me all about your Sunderland? I’m asking if you’ll share with me your hopes and dreams? Will you offer a hand to help me understand, a little better, what it means to you?

We’re all going through a strange time right now, where we’re all unsure about the future, where we all feel a little isolated and locked in. But I don’t think that’s just because of the current situation that the world is facing. I think a lot of these feelings were already there before Covid 19 spread so quickly. I know I felt a little cut off long before 2020 came along, and so I’m trying to change that one story at a time. And I hope, with your participation, you might help me better understand a little part of the region where I live. Find some hope and optimism and help face forwards a little stronger, a little happier and ignite some excitement about our shared future.

We might be on lock down, we may not be able to meet face to face but we can still connect. I’m going to be reaching out in many ways, be it through social media, emails, video chats – whatever it takes to listen. You can get in touch via the contacts at Sunderland Culture and respond to the questions, conversations and discussions about this project.

Thanks for your time reading this and I really welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone who would like to get in touch and share with me a little bit of your Sunderland.



Pursuers of the Future is a project produced by Sunderland Culture through our Great Place programme and made possible by National Lottery players, funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Image credit:
Ethan Wilkinson