A three-night celebration of happiness kicks off on Thursday in Sunderland.
The event will be the first of three consecutive performances at the University of Sunderland’s North Shore venue which will mark the end of an arts project mapping happiness across Wearside and South Tyneside.
For the past month-or-so, the Bring the Happy project has been asking people to pinpoint geographic locations they associate with a happy memory. Each memory was recorded on a large-scale, three-dimensional map and has been used to help create a digital archive of happiness from around the world.
The shows, which follow on from a similar project in Stockton, will feature six-piece band Hope & Social.
Mark Robinson, former regional director of the Arts Council North East and now managing director of the Thinking Practice, said: “Bring the Happy in Stockton was one of the best nights I’ve had in a theatre in years. It is a witty and heartfelt combination of story, music and ingenious theatricality.
“It was moving, funny, poignant, raucous and sexy. I learnt things about the town where I live, and about the happiest moments of people that live there. The stories collected from local people were treated with respect, compassion and genuine warmth. I left with a real spring in my step, thinking of happy times, and the people, some long passed, I’d had them with – many of the stories reminded me how close happy was to its opposite in our lives.”
“Bring The Happy genuinely made me laugh, cry and dance with a stranger. I’m not sure what more you’d want from a night out.”
The Bring the Happy project is the fourth major commission from The Cultural Spring, a three-year Arts Council funded initiative working to increase engagement in the arts on ten wards in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
Project director Rebecca Ball said: “We’re all looking forward to the live shows. It has been a very popular project, with almost 1,000 memories being ‘donated’ so far.”
Tickets for the live performances are available from the Customs House box office on 0191 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk . The Bring the Happy online map of happiness can be found at www.bringthehappy.co.uk