Pride comes before a mall…

The Bridges, Sunderland

STORYTELLING, craft workshops and a host of family events are on offer in Sunderland next month (June) as the Bridges gets set to celebrate Pride.

The month-long free festival of international music acts, film screenings and exhibitions will be Sunderland’s biggest ever Pride, organised by Out North East.

And the Bridges is showing its support for the LGBTQ+ community with a programme of themed activities for all ages on 1 June, to coincide with the festival’s launch.

A “yellow brick road” featuring key dates and events in LGBTQ+ history will run through the centre, with a special Pride photobooth also in place.

On the opening day from 10am to 4pm at the mall’s Central Square, there will be a series of five, 20-minute story time sessions for children, featuring stories written by LGBTQ+ authors and following related themes.

Throughout the day, the Bridges is also encouraging shoppers and visitors to write a message which will be hung with coloured ribbon on its purpose-built Pride tree at Central Square.

From 11am to 3pm, visitors of all ages can take part in a placard making workshop in Unit 8, near to the centre’s Primark store.

And from 10am onwards centre bosses are urging children to take part in a large-scale art project, which will be unveiled to the public during the Pride march on 29 June.

A giant canvas will be installed in Central Square and children will be invited to place a painted hand print on the canvas, which will then be converted into a flag to be carried on the march.

A Flag in the Map exhibition – sponsored by Grand Central Rail and produced by human rights charity, Report Out – will run throughout June in Unit 8 at the Bridges and feature photographs and stories “that reaffirms the universal power of the Rainbow Flag to inspire LGBTQ+ people – especially in countries where their everyday existence is threatened.”

The unit will also act as an information hub for Pride during the duration of the festival.

Karen Eve, centre director at the Bridges, said the centre was delighted to play an active role in the event.

“Pride in Sunderland is going to be fantastic celebration of our LGBTQ+ community and we are delighted to be supporting it with events and activities for all the family,” she said.

Peter Darrant, chair of Out North East, said he was “overwhelmed” by the support being shown for the festival throughout the city.

“We are very grateful to the Bridges and all the many other people and businesses which are supporting Pride in Sunderland and helping us make it the best one yet, he said.

Elsewhere in the city, the festival – which runs until 29 June will feature a non-stop line up of entertainment, including performances by boyband East 17, RuPaul Drag Race star, Choriza May and local drag queens.

A family picnic with music, a mini-Pride for children and activities, will take place at Sunniside Gardens on 9 June in partnership with Sunderland AFC and the Foundation of Light, Stagecoach and Sunderland BID.

To see the whole programme of Pride activities in Sunderland visit

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