Time is running out for you to get involved in a special event to celebrate the north east’s newest bridge.

This Sunday (September 16) unique musical instruments created from leftover materials from Sunderland’s Northern Spire will be used in an event to celebrate the bridge’s opening. The instruments – called ‘Wonderloopers’ – are the invention of artist Di Mainstone, who was commissioned to work with communities on both sides of the Wear on the IN-SPIRE project, which will celebrate the crossing.

Fourteen of the instruments will be installed on the bridge for visitors to play and interact with. The Wonderloopers will invite people to ‘play’ the bridge in a unique way, using kaleidoscopic mirrors, motion sensors and soundscapes composed by musicians Architects of Rosslyn.

Tickets for the event were snapped up within hours of being made available, but there is still a chance for you to be involved as a ‘Portal Keeper.’

Corinne Kilvington, Producer for the event on behalf of Sunderland Culture, said: “We need 30 friendly and approachable volunteers to be Portal Keepers for the day. As a Portal Keeper, you will look after each portal or Wonderlooper, helping members of the public adjust the heights of the portal and ending each session with a short simple movement and performance element.

“We would love to have volunteers from communities within close proximity to Northern Spire, however, anyone can take part. No experience is needed, but volunteers must be over 16 years old. Wonderloopers will give people the opportunity to ‘play’ the bridge between 10am and 7pm on Sunday.

“We have a training session for volunteers between 6pm and 8pm on Friday (September 14) at Fablab in Hope Street xChange in Sunderland city centre.

“We’ve had a good reponse to our call-out for volunteers, but there are still a few slots available,” Corinne added.

Please contact [email protected] for more information and to express an interest.

Wonderloopers is a ticket-only event and Northern Spire will be closed to traffic from 11pm on Saturday (15th) to midnight on Sunday.

Di has already ‘played’ New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, Omaha’s Bob Kerrey Bridge and Bristol’s Suspension Bridge, among others. However, the plastic casing around the Northern Spire’s steel cables dampened the sounds from her ‘Human Harp’ instrument used to pluck or twang bridges’ steel cables.

So instead, Di has created the Wonderloopers out of cut-offs from the plastic casings.

“The Wonderloopers will channel, mix and meld the dreams, hopes and visions of Sunderland’s people via the city’s newest futuristic beacon – the Northern Spire. Once the visitor is inside the Wonderlooper they will see the bridge fragmenting and hear Mandy’s soundscapes, created from interviews with members of the community,” explained Di.

The instruments have been manufactured at FabLab Sunderland, supported by Creative Fuse North East.

Di hosted two hackathon events at FabLab which were attended by musicians, engineers and technologists to help her explore different ways to play the bridge and create instruments from the pipe cut-offs. These experiments led to the Wonderloopers.

The IN-SPIRE project has been commissioned as part of Sunderland Culture’s Great Place project and is being delivered in partnership with Sunderland City Council, the Cultural Spring and Creative Fuse North East.

The Northern Spire opened to traffic on August 28.

Stay connected with Sunderland Culture Instagram Twitter Facebook