Sunday For Sammy is coming back - and lots more people will be able to see it
Sunday For Sammy is set to return - and it'll be bigger and better than ever.
The show, first held as a tribute to Geordie actor Sammy Johnson in 2000, has been presented at Newcastle City Hall for nearly every performance.
In recent years the demand for tickets has far out-stripped supply, and last year's two spectacular shows sold out in a day, with thousands of disappointed fans unable to get tickets.
Now, however, the celebration of North East culture will be at a new venue when it returns on Sunday, 18 February 2018.
It will re-locate to Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena for two theatre-style performances, with 5,000 tickets available for each show - more than twice the capacity of the City Hall.
Many of the region's most popular and successful performers have taken part in the comedy and music extravaganza, which raises funds to support the next generation of performers with training, expenses and equipment.
The cast list is never revealed before the show, so every one is packed with surprises.
Among those who appeared are Tim Healy, Denise Welch, Mark Knopfler, Kevin Whately, Charlie Hardwick, Jimmy Nail, Jill Halfpenny, Timothy Spall, AC/DC's Brian Johnson, Christopher Fairbank, Stephen Tomkinson, John Miles, Angie Lonsdale, Jason Cook, Lindisfarne, Joe McElderry, Brendan Healy, Donna Air, Ant and Dec, Chelsea Halfpenny, Billy Mitchell, Brendan Foster, Pam Royle, Bob Moncur, Julia Tobin, Glenn McCrory, Kathryn Tickell, Chris Ramsey, Peter Peverley and many more.
Tim Healy, chairman of the Sunday For Sammy Trust, said: “I spend a lot of time in the North East, and people constantly ask me how to get tickets for Sunday For Sammy.
"The show has become so hugely popular that all available tickets are snapped up as soon as they go on sale.
"By moving the show to a larger venue we can give loads more people the opportunity to see the show, while ensuring our continued support for the talented young performers from our area that need a helping hand.”
Since the first Sunday For Sammy in 2000, young local performers have benefited from more than Â£400,000 in grants to help with their professional development.
Catherine Dryden, from Chester-le-Street is a third year Student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), and was part-funded by the Sunday For Sammy Trust.
“Sunday For Sammy is helping me to get through my final year at RADA," she said.
"My course covers six days of the week which doesn’t give me the opportunity to work to help pay the bills and the cost of being in London.
"Without their support, I couldn’t have carried on. They have given me the helping hand I need to further my professional career in drama.”
Ailsa Oliver, general manager of the Metro Radio Arena, said: “Sunday For Sammy is such a wonderful event and we are very excited to be part of its continued growth.
"The event generates such excellent support for the local community and we are sure the two performances will once again be a success in its new home at the Metro Radio Arena.”
The show’s producer, Ray Laidlaw, urged everyone to book tickets as soon as possible.
“Sunday For Sammy is unique. No other part of the country has an event that celebrates its regional popular culture on such a scale, while supporting the next generation of performers.
“It’s an amazingly popular show, and in recent years every performance has sold out within hours of the tickets going on sale.
"We get a huge number of messages from people telling us that they’ve tried to buy tickets, but have been unsuccessful.
"That’s why we’ve doubled the capacity by moving the show to the Metro Radio Arena.
"However, we anticipate ticket demand to be greater than ever and we’d hate to see anyone missing out.
"The message is simple – lots more tickets available, but if you want to be sure of being part of Sunday For Sammy 2018 then don't delay, buy your tickets early.”
Tickets, priced Â£35 plus booking fees, go on general sale from 10am on Wednesday, 22 March, from the hotline 0844 493 6666, in person from the Arena box office, or online HERE.
Tickets are also available from the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, from the box office on 08448 112121, or online HERE.