Let’s Caper@CityHall

16 February 2024

The Caper, the popular mini-festival takeover of iconic buildings in the North East, is coming to Sunderland. In what is believed to be a world first for a civic building, Sunderland’s new City Hall will host the inaugural Let’s Caper@CityHall on Friday April 5th, from 7pm to midnight. 

Set up to showcase a whole range of local and regional creative and cultural talent, each Caper programme includes great local food and bars, five bands, four comedians, dance lessons, DJs, live art, and an artisan night market: all in one night and all under one roof.  

A packed programme on April 5th will see The Futureheads headlining the music line-up playing in a transformed-for-the-night Council Chamber. They will be supported by the brilliant up-and-coming Sunderland singer songwriters Lottie Willis, Isabel Maria, Lily Mac, and Sara Leilah, each playing a set.  

The best of North East comedy will be hosted upstairs by the ever-brilliant Alfie Joey, with Steffen Peddie and Sunderland’s own Nick Cranston and Alex Redman keeping the laughs coming across the evening. Once they’re done, laughs of a different sort will continue as the room transforms into a silent disco for the rest of the night, with people dancing together to different playlists! 

And if dancing’s your thing, you’re in luck as before the bands come on the Council Chamber will be the venue for Michael Jackson dance lessons provided by Sunderland’s EL Dance Studio. Director, Matthew Bourne-trained Emily Lewis said, “Think learning to moon dance and the moves from Smooth Criminal, and Bad! People love learning something new and learning a new dance with a big group is just so much fun. We can’t wait for the Caper.” 

The evening will also see Pop Rec’s all vinyl DJ set playing out in City Hall’s fabulous glass and steel atrium, and don’t be surprised if, as well as the individual dancers, there’s some Sunderland College-inspired more coordinated moves: think flash mobs perhaps! 

Along with all this entertainment under one roof, there will also be some of the best street food the Norh East has to offer, a range of bars providing quality local drinks, and a great selection of independent artisan and vintage traders and artists with unique, Sunderland-made items for sale. 

It’s all in one night and all under one roof. Tickets in advance are £20 from www.thecaper.co.uk  

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said, “When the organisers approached us about running a Caper at City Hall, following the success of previous Capers at Baltic and Grainger Market, we jumped at the chance as part of our much wider drive to bring people back into our fantastic city centre. There’s so much cultural and creative talent in the city and to be able to use City Hall to showcase that was an opportunity we couldn’t miss. It’s also a very visible example of Sunderland’s ambition and innovative spirit as City Hall becomes the first civic building anywhere to host such a comprehensive celebration of all its creative talents.”  

Councillor John Price, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City added, “We’re thrilled to welcome Caper to Sunderland. The event boasts such a strong programme of both established and emerging talent that really shows what Sunderland has to offer and we’re proud that we can showcase these performers in one of the city’s key venues. It will be great to see an iconic building such as City Hall being used in a new and exciting way to welcome a brand-new audience through its doors.” 

Organiser Sean Bullick said, “The Caper is all about having a great night out. The range and quality of the entertainment is fantastic, and the atmosphere is always welcoming, safe and fun. We love the fact that our events attract people of all ages and from all backgrounds: three generations of the same family dancing together is a common Caper sight. We feel really proud to have been given this opportunity in Sunderland and can’t wait for what will be a unique night out.”