This week, it’s the Open Mic for Writers on Thursday, plus Darlington Music Society presents the Jubilee String Quartet on Sunday. And the programme for this year’s Darlington Arts Festival will be published in print and online – so now is a great time to book events.

Programme for this year’s Darlington Arts Festival

Thank you to everyone who has included an event or organised something specially for the festival. The events highlight a fantastic cross-section of arts activities available in and around Darlington – from new music with the Noisy Daughters vinyl launch, to supporting young talent at the Darlington Piano Society recital, top-class New Orleans jazz, visual art, children’s theatre and potential comedy geniuses at the Belly Giggles workshop. There will be talks by artists and practitioners and a guided walk around town to discover The art of Darlington with Chris Lloyd.

The events for writers are open to new and established writers to develop their skills in everything from poetry and prose to crime fiction, with two events led by John Dean.

All events during the four days, with the theme of ‘Follow Your Art, provide an opportunity to attend a new type of event or find out more about taking part. And the festival will finish on a high note with Darlington Film Club’s presentation of Florence Foster Jenkins.

For the full programme, visit the festival page. Details of each event will be posted on the festival Facebook page this week and across DfC social media in general.

The printed booklets, flyers and posters will be available soon. Let us know if you’d like some for your organisation or venue and we’ll drop them off.



Darlington Piano Society

For the final recital of the season, on Sunday 24th March the Piano Society welcomes Leon McCawley (photo by Sheila-Rock), one of Britain’s foremost pianists.

He has forged a successful career since winning first prize in the 1993 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, building on his earlier success as winner of the Piano Section of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1990.

McCawley’s concerto and recital performances – at many prestigious concert venues including the London Piano Series at Wigmore Hall, London’s Southbank Centre, BBC Proms Chamber Series – and his impressive discography have established him as a pianist of great variety. He brings freshness and vitality to classical, romantic and 20th-century repertoire.

The programme is one of early and late works – the first half featuring the first sonata by Mozart and the last by Beethoven, and the second featuring late works by Brahms and Chopin and early works by Schumann and Hans Gál.

Mozart, Sonata No 1 in C major K279
Beethoven, Sonata No 32 in C minor Op. 111
Schumann, ‘Abegg’ Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál, Three Sketches Op. 7
Brahms, Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin, Polonaise – Fantasie Op. 61

The Piano Society’s next season begins on Sunday 20th October and details will be published soon, visit the society’s website.

  • Tickets cost £12 for single recitals from the Dolphin Centre and on the door (U21, £6)

Darlington Music Society

The Society’s next concert is on Sunday 31st March at the Dolphin Centre 3pm. The Jubilee String Quartet will play pieces by Beethoven, Haydn and Ravel. This concert had been scheduled for last October, but one of the performers injured her hand. So it is now taking place at the end of March – please note that this DMS concert takes places on a Sunday afternoon.

The quartet has performed widely throughout the UK in venues such as Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in London, and their continental tours have included a performance in the presence of the former Czech president Vaclav Havel. They also enjoy a variety of outreach work as part of the ‘Live Music Now’ scheme, and have participated in the Lake District Summer Music and St Magnus Festival.

The group was selected to attend the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Montreal, Canada, as well as being invited to perform with the Doric Quartet at the Festpiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in August 2016 and as part of the International Chamber Music series in Basel, Switzerland in March 2017.

This promoter of classical chamber music concerts in the North East brings the finest music played by world-class musicians to Darlington for live performances at reasonable prices. To find out more, visit the DMS website.

  • Ticket £14
  • Available on the door or from the Dolphin Centre beforehand
  • Or from Mr Tooze, 66 The Headlands, Darlington DL3 8RZ. Tel 01325 467163

Darlington Folk Club

Opus 4 Jazz Club

Opus 4 Jazz Club takes place at the Travellers Rest, Cockerton, Darlington. Usually doors open 7.30pm for 8pm start.

  • Tickets £8 on the door
  • Club contact 01325 382 676

March at The Forum:
For the full list of gigs and events, please visit Tel: 01325 363135.

Friday 29th – Women In Rock
Paying homage to the most influential women in rock!
Tickets £10. Doors from 7pm

Saturday 30th – The Weller Connection
Playing the hits of Paul Weller and The Jam
Tickets £8adv/£10 otd. Doors from 7pm

April at The Forum

Monday 1st Darlington Film Club presents:
Robin Askwith ‘Cool It Carol’ + one-man show with tales of his career after the screening
Tickets £10/ 18+/ Film 7.30pm

Thursday 4th – John P Taylor Band
With support from Marie Marx
Tickets/Entrance £8. Doors from 7pm

Saturday 6th – Hilarity Bites Comedy Club
Tickets £10. Doors 7.30pm/18+

Friday 12th – Darlington RnB Club
The Stumble
Tickets £12. Doors 7.30pm

Saturday 13th – Britpop Night
Two great tributes to Britpop Legends Blur & Pulp.
Tickets £10. Doors 7.30pm

Thursday 18th – Bon Jovi Forever Paying homage to John Bon Jovi and his band.
Tickets £12adv/£14 otd. Doors 7.30pm

Saturday 20th – Ian McNabb
The legendary Ian McNabb of Icicle Works fame, with his ‘Our Future In Space Solo Tour’ + Music in the bar from DJ Mikey A.
Tickets £16. Doors/DJ from 7pm

Saturday 27th – Cydonia Knights
A Tribute to Muse + DJ Mikey A playing tunes in the bar.
Tickets £10. Doors/DJ from 7pm


Bannatyne Hotel Darlington

The hotel runs a series of events with tribute acts and music-themed shows at the Grade-II listed Georgian townhouse. Each event is £25 per person for the live show, two-course dinner, and disco until midnight. For details and to book contact Bannatyne Hotel, Southend Avenue, Darlington DL3 7HZ. Phone 01325 365858.

Saturday 13th April – Freddie Mercury
Monday 6th May – Kylie Minogue
Saturday 25th May – A Night at the Movies. Features songs from the soundtracks to Grease, Dirty Dancing, Saturday Night Fever and Mamma Mia
Friday 21st June – Motown
Friday 26th July – Beeyonce (pictured)
Friday 2nd August – Pink
Friday 23rd August – Beatles
Saturday 28th September – Grease

Burden of Paradise with Snake Davies

At Neasham Reading Room on Thursday 4 April 2019.

After a fantastic sell-out performance in 2018 Neasham Reading Room is delighted to announce the return of these great musicians.

Snake has played sax with M People, Eurhythmics, Take That, Ray Charles and many, many more. Band member Dave has played bass with Martha and the Vandellas, Edwin Starr and the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain. Helen from the trio has sung with The Eagles, Emmylou Harris and Little Feat. Burden of Paradise’s unique interpretations of evocative songs from Dylan to Dowland to Billie Holiday are spellbinding.

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club

It’s a bumper year for Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club as it welcomes a record number of bands to play lunchtime gigs at the town. There’s a total of 18 gigs booked throughout the year, up from the usual 12, which says so much about the popularity of the club.

There is a double helping of New Orleans Jazz in April with the return on Saturday 6th of the ever-popular Savannah Jazz Band who continue to be one of the busiest bands in the country.

Saturday 13th April sees the first appearance at the club for Shades of Jazz. This excellent group was launched at Pershore Jazz Festival in 2015 and has rapidly become one of the most sought-after classic jazz bands in the UK. The line-up is John Hallam on reeds, Martin Vasey on trombone, Bruce Rollo on string bass, Rich Hughes on keyboard, Jim Douglas on banjo and guitar, Garry Wood on trumpet, and the brains and organisation behind the venture Graham Smith on drums.

The club takes place at St. Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington DL3 7TG. Doors open at noon for a 12.30pm to 3pm session.

The venue has free onsite parking, and a licensed bar that serves tea and coffee. Bring your own food for a picnic while the band is playing.

  • £10 at the door. Children under 16 free with an accompanying adult
  • Darlington for Culture members get a 20% discount on production of their membership card
  • For more information visit the club’s website

Darlington Choral Society

Easter Concert takes place on Saturday 13th April 7.30pm in St Cuthbert’s Church, Darlington DL1 5QG.

DCS is opening its programme with Malcolm Williamson’s ‘Procession of Palms’. Williamson was a controversial Master of the Queen’s Music, and the Procession is influenced by his background as a night-club pianist. This is followed by Bach’s wonderful Motet ‘Jesu, Priceless Treasure’. The second part of the programme is devoted to Haydn’s evergreen ‘Mass in Time of War’, which is far more cheerful than the subtitle suggests and represents ‘Happy Haydn’ at his very best.

Andrew Christer is the organist, and the Choral is joined by a quartet of locally based soloists.

  • Tickets (£12.50, U21 £5) available via the society’s website, from the Dolphin Centre, from choir members or at the door


Darlington Amateur Gardening Club

The next meetings are:
3 April – Andre Willocks from Harlow Carr will give an illustrated talk ‘Harlow Carr Over the Last 10 Years’
17 April– Club Members’ Spring Show and the Club’s 30th Anniversary Celebration
1 May – Plant Sale. A bring-and -buy sale of members’ surplus plants.

Visitors are welcome at meetings, with a £3 contribution towards the meeting costs. Bondgate Methodist Church Lecture Hall (Winston Street entrance) and the talk usually starts at about 7.30pm, after tea/coffee from about 7pm.

For club information contact the club secretary on 01325 468870.

The Darlington Lecture Association

Lectures take place from September to April, usually second Monday of each month 7.30pm, at Carmel RC College, The Headlands, Darlington DL3 8RP.

Membership is £25; visitor entrance is £5.

For more information, visit the website, call 01325 363350 or email

Next lecture: 8 April “The Wynyard Dynasty” Ron Tempest


Darlington Historical Society (DHS)

Talks and meetings are held at the Friends Meeting House, Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7NG (accessed via the archway on Skinnergate) starting at 7.30pm. Annual membership £10 covering all talks. Visitors £3 per meeting.

For more information, visit the Darlington Historical Society website.
17 April 2019
Members evening and AGM
Hummersknott Allotments & SHA, Darlington’s Only Surviving Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden … The Movie – with Ted Lickrish

Darlington Embroiderers’ Guild

Darlington Embroiderers’ Guild holds its meetings the first Saturday of each month in Elm Ridge Methodist Church Hall; 1.30 pm for talks starting 2pm. Tea and coffee is available.

Forthcoming meetings:
6 April, Curriculum Kitchen ‘Cutting it fine – Regency Dress’
4 May, Jessica Grady ‘Embracing the unconventional’
6 July, Pat Ashton Smith ‘A sense of Place’
7 September, Alison Larkin ‘Tudor needlework and costume’
5 October, Sarah Jackson ‘Folk Art Inspiration’
2 November, Gaynor Devaney ‘Sunbeam and suitcases’

New members always welcome.


Actors wanted

Local college Media Tutor is looking for older people, male or female, willing to act in front of a video camera.

It is for a specific project but also to practise film making. Film durations would be short, an hour, for example.

For details and to discuss further, call Karl on 07590 509161 or email

Performing Arts – next competition 5th October

Darlington Festival for Performing Arts (DFPA) is a competition comprising three disciplines on three days: Music on Saturday 2nd March; Speech and Drama on Saturday 9th March; and Dance on Saturday, 5th October; all at Longfield Academy.

The organisation provides the opportunity for children and adults to perform competitively in front of professional adjudicators, showcasing their talents in Performing Arts. DFPA is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals. It is run by volunteers.

DFPA encourages entries for its competitions from all over the area and beyond incorporating state and private schools/private tutors and independently run music/speech and drama and dance schools.

Contact and entry information:

The Hullabaloo

Children’s theatre organisation Theatre Hullabaloo runs a programme of events at its flagship venue, The Hullabaloo, Borough Road, Darlington.

To buy tickets and for more information visit the website.


Darlington Academy of Performing Arts

Does your child enjoy acting, singing and dancing?

Regular classes take place at Hummersknott Academy.

For more information, visit the website.



The Majestic Theatre
Miss Julie
Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 April 7pm
Strindberg’s electrifying play of sex and class comes to passionate life on the Majestic stage in a powerful new production by Elysium Theatre Company.

Liam Mellor’s Easter Show
Saturday 20 April 11am, 2.30pm, 5.30pm

Darlington pantomime favourite Liam Mellor will lead the cast in his ‘Cracking’ Easter Show.

This action-packed Easter extravaganza includes all aspects of pantomime fun: slapstick comedy; lots of songs and dance with plenty of audience participation.

Liam will be joined on stage by The Hilarious Robert Squire and vocal sensation Rebecca Lake. It’s an Easter treat for all the family.

Tickets £10 each.

Death and the Maiden
Thursday 13 June 7.30pm
The award-winning London smash-hit play and subsequent feature film is revived in this exclusive tour by Baroque Theatre Company. Gripping high drama, with great intensity, this is a unique and first-rate thriller.

The Tina Turner Experience
Saturday 15 June 7.30pm
This live energetic show charts the life and career of one of the worlds iconic performers. Full of hits like “Private Dancer”, “Nutbush City Limits”, “Proud Mary”, “River Deep Mountain High” and “Let’s Stay Together” to name but a few, this show is the ultimate night out.

Darlington Hippodrome

For details of shows after the pantomime season, see Hippodrome launches spring season.


The Bridge Centre

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts rins a range of courses, term started week beginning 14th January. Check The Bridge website for start dates and prices.

The Bridge Centre is located at the junction of Yarm Road and Hundens Lane DL1 1ED and runs programmes of 10-week courses in a variety of arts media throughout the year as well as a programme of exhibitions by local artists and art groups.

The centre houses a variety of local groups and is available for private hire.

To book a course, email the artist before the start date or go to the first session and see the artist.

More information from The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts website.

Rejig’s Skills Courses – programme will include:

Fabric Dyeing
Bookmaking and Art Journals
Low-Tech Screen Printing
Embellishment and appliqué

The courses usually take place at South Park Education Centre, Darlington, £25, includes materials and light refreshments

Visit the website


Hilarity Bites Comedy Club brings the best of the UK and international comedy scene to venues throughout the North East of England.


Love Tango Darlington

This group dances both traditional Argentine and modern Nuevo Tango.

Class every Thursday 7.30pm followed by dancing until late with John Paul Tango at Haughton Le Skerne Working Men’s Club, 25 Haughton Green, Darlington DL1 2DD.

More details: call 01325 468738 or visit group’s Facebook page.

Harlequin Women’s Morris

Harlequin Women’s Morris practise at Village Hall The Green, Cleasby, N Yorks DL2 2QZ.

The group meets on Tuesdays from 7.30pm-9.30pm.

New dancers and/or musicians welcome to try this traditional English (North West) morris dancing. It is fun and helps keep mind and body fit; comfortable shoes and clothes are all that’s needed. First week is free, then £4 per week.

For further information call 01325 465129 or 07951 251004 or email


Open Mic for Writers: 28th March

The nights are supported by Darlington for Culture and offer a forum in which writers can read their material and audiences can enjoy it, at the upstairs room at HASH, 14 Coniscliffe Road, Darlington DL3 7RG, usually on the last Thursday of the month, except July, August and December.

The nights give writers from Darlington and further afield the opportunity to read work including poetry, short stories, novel extracts and scripts to appreciative audiences, with up to eight minutes for each writer. Readers range from published authors to those just starting out on their writing careers, and pieces read out range from completed pieces to work in progress for which the authors are seeking feedback. A share of the proceeds is donated to Darlington for Culture to help further its work supporting arts and culture in the town.

  • Each session starts at 7pm
  • Cost of entry is £3 paid on the door
  • Dates for 2019: 28th March; 25th April; Arts Festival special 19th May; 30th May; 27th June; 26th September; 31st October; 28th November

Writers meet

Bennet House Writers meet every Monday at 10.30am at Age UK, Bradbury House, Beaumont Street West, Darlington DLI 5SX. The group read and discuss new and old work from members that includes poetry, short stories and novels. Further details can be obtained from Mary Sweeten on 01325 283401.

Creative writing courses with author Tracey Iceton

The long-running course at the Friends Meeting House in Skinnergate, Darlington, will continue on Tuesdays 6.30pm-9pm, fortnightly starting January 2019.

New members always welcome. The course is £55 per person, email Tracey Iceton.

For details, please email Tracey Iceton.



Group piano lessons for adults

Lessons with Tracey Chad ALCM(TD) DipLCM(TD).

At The Forum, Borough Road.

For information and to book, email


CPRE group
The Campaign to Protect Rural England, CPRE Darlington, meets in the Upstairs Restaurant, Dolphin Centre, Darlington, at 6.30 pm. Meetings are informal and usually held the third Tuesday in the month. They cover mainly planning applications and so give the opportunity to air any views on issues which could affect your quality of life. Please ring 01325 485107 to check dates and inform them of your attendance.

National Council of Women Great Britain
The National Council of Women (NCW) wants to ensure that women play a full role in our society. In Darlington they meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month between 10am and midday at the Millennium Centre, All Saints Church, Ravensdale Road, Darlington DL3 8DT. They welcome women from around the wider area. Want to know more? Then check out the NCW website or Twitter @NCWGB, call 01325 367375 or search for National Council of Women Great Britain on Facebook.

Publicise your organisations and events

If you’d like your arts event listed in this newsletter and on DfC’s website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), please send details including date, time, cost, any age restrictions (up to 200 words) plus a good-quality image supplied as a jpeg file (minumim 200KB) to

Do you have printed programmes or leaflets?

The DfC information stand in the foyer at The Hippodrome is a great place to promote arts organisations and activities, and we can help distribute your printed leaflets to potential audiences. The stand is generally staffed by Darlington Culture Volunteers when a show is on at the theatre.

We need more local arts organisations and individuals to supply programmes, leaflets or flyers for display. Is this of interest to you?

Post or deliver 20-30 copies of your season programmes, leaflets or flyers to: Heather Carter, Darlington for Culture, c/o Heritage Healthcare, 10 Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RF.

Keeping fit
Darlington Keep Fit Association’s regular sessions take place every Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm. at St Thomas Aquinas Church Hall, choreographed by Catherine Gilsenan, and every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm at Sadberge Village Hall, choreographed by Margaret Marston. Both are qualified teachers with regularly updated training, costs are £3.50 per session with a view to membership if liked. Ages range from 18 years upwards.

Raising funds thuaf5j929– do you shop online?

If you buy clothes, stationery, holidays, home appliances, IT gadgets, train travel or just about anything via you can raise free cash for Darlington for Culture every time you shop – at no additional cost to you.

Visit the easyfundraising website to find out to raise cash by shopping online at many popular retailers – including Amazon, Argos, eBay, Boots, Tesco, House of Fraser, Aviva, Lakeland,, and

Contact DfC:

Website – hosting is sponsored by Ephemeral Web Design. The site was designed by Resilient Business Systems)
Facebook – Darlington For Culture the official site
Twitter – @darloforculture
Email –

Postal address – Darlington for Culture Ltd, c/o Heritage House, Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RF.

Heritage Healthcare Heritage Healthcare - Which Franchise
Heritage Healthcare is a leading family-run business proud to offer more than 60 years’ experience and expertise in delivering excellent quality home-based care within the community. They can be contacted via or 01325 370700.