DfC Newsletter Page

Welcome to the DfC Newsletter and What’s On listing.

This page is updated every week and an email alert is sent on Monday to our list of more than 340 subscribers. DfC’s Facebook page has 1,400+ followers, the Instagram account has over 1,030 followers, and we have about 4,540 followers on Twitter.

If you’d like your arts event or organisation listed here, free of charge, send details for consideration to darlo4culture@gmail.com.

Darlington Arts Festival 2020
“Platform for talent: get on board”

The eighth annual festival will take place in Darlington from Friday 15th to Monday 18th May 2020.

The festival is again being supported by Creative Darlington and it will have opportunities for all artforms: creative writing; visual arts; performing arts; and music. Deadline for inclusion in the overall festival programme is 29th February 2020.

A large part of the festival will be the creative-writing programme – the deadline for inclusion in this section of the programme is 17th January.

Newsletter: 13th to 19th January

This week, it’s the start of spring term at The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts with its range of 10-week courses. Two WEA courses begin at the Friends Meeting House, and lots of local arts organisations kick off a new term too. Visit each specialist section and our Regular Classes and Events section for details.

On Monday evening, Darlington Lecture Association presents ‘Picasso and Matisse – the Best of Friendly Rivals’ by Tate Britain art historian Ray Warburton. And on Wednesday, Darlington Historical Society’s talk ‘The Life, Times and Writings of Rudyard Kipling – with Malcolm Sweet’ takes place.

A couple of new exhibitions opened at the weekend, with work by members of Darlington Society of Arts at Crown Street Gallery and Bill Oakey’s ‘Off the Rails’ exhibition at Head of Steam.

What’s On:

Click on the links to visit each section



Opus 4 Jazz Club: Dean Stockdale Quartet

On Friday 24th January, Opus 4 Jazz Club presents The Dean Stockdale Quartet, featuring Dean Masser on tenor sax, Ed Harrison on bass and Gaz Hughes on drums which, collectively, should make for an exciting evening.

The event is at the Travellers Rest, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER.

The Opus 4 Jazz Club takes place at The Travellers Rest, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER. Tickets on the door £8, doors open 7.30pm for 8pm start. Club contact 01325 382676.

Visit the jazz club’s website.

Darlington Orchestra: Winter Concert 2020

The Darlington Orchestra Winter Concert 2020 is on Saturday 25th January at 7.30pm in Central Hall, Dolphin Centre, Darlington DL1 5RP. The orchestra will present another eclectic selection of light classical music.

The conductor is David Plews; programme includes: Rossini, Bennett, Elgar, Julius Fučík, Simon & Garfunkel. And special guests are Certa Saxo (a saxophone quartet).

Ticket £7 (£5 concessions). Available from the venue and online (+ fee) at tinyurl.com/ConcertJan2020.

Visit the orchestra website.

Darlington Piano Society

Darlington Piano Society recitals for the season 2019-20 take place in Central Hall, The Dolphin Centre, Darlington DL1 5RP, on Sunday afternoon at 3pm.

The society welomes Vadym Kholodenko (pictured: ©Ira Polyarnaya) on Sunday 26th January. This is Kholodenko’s second UK tour and he will perform more masterpieces of the Russian repertoire alongside sonatas from the classical era. This recital is for anyone who enjoys the building blocks of the piano repertoire but who is also open to hearing contemporary pieces.

The full programme is:
Mozart: Piano Sonata in C minor K457
Schubert: Piano Sonata in A major D664
Saariaho: Ballade
Scriabin: Preludes – Op 11, (no. 1-5), Op 13 and Op 16
Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No 2 (2nd version)

Forthcoming recitals are: Simon Callaghan (23th February); Steven Osborne (26th March).

  • Season tickets cost £55 and can be purchased via the booking form in the brochure or the DPS website
  • Individual recital tickets are £14, available online, from reception at the Dolphin Centre, and at the recitals
  • Free entry for Under-21s

Darlington Folk and Acoustic Club

The club meets every Thursday at The Copper Beach, Neasham Road, 8pm start, £7. For tickets, please contact George on 07890 006204. Visit the folk club’s website for details.

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club

Darlington New Orleans Jazz 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 2020 season kicks off with a double bill for February; it’s Denise Gordon and the Tom Kincaid All Stars band on Saturday 1st February with a return from New Orleans of Frog & Henry on Saturday 8th February.

£10 at the door (20% discount with Darlington for Culture membership card). Children under 16 free with an accompanying adult. For more information visit the DNOJC website.

Darlington Music Society

The Society presents an annual concert for this season with top-quality classical performers. Visit Darlington Music Society website for further dates and details. The concerts take place at Central Hall, Dolphin Centre, Darlington DL1 5RP.

  • Tickets £15
  • Available from the Dolphin Centre and OTD
  • Or call 01325 467163

The Forum Music Centre

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

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St Augustine’s Repertory Society (STARS) present a traditional family pantomime ‘Aladdin’ at St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington DL3 7TG.

The show is from Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th January from 7.30pm-10.30pm. And on Saturday 25th January 2020 from 1pm-4pm and 6pm-9pm.

Ticket £10; concession £5.

Call 07397 774913 to reserve tickets or book and pay online.

Darlington Hippodrome

This season includes thrilling drama, a selection of the world’s most dazzling musicals and some magical family shows, alongside household names gracing the Hippodrome stage (…read more).

Shows include: The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia present four spectacular ballets with Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker (23-26 January) and the spellbinding BalletBoyz return to Darlington with their new show Deluxe (5 March). ‘One night only’ appearances include Alan Titchmarsh (8 January), Sir Michael Parkinson (9 February) and Jools Holland (23 May). New shows added regularly – please check with the venue (…read more).

‘Juliet and Romeo’ at Neasham Reading Room

This highly acclaimed contemporary dance includes humour and spoken word and is at Neasham Reading Room on Wednesday 22nd April 7.30pm.

“Lost Dog’s show reveals the real story of Romeo and Juliet. It turns out they didn’t die in a tragic misunderstanding, they grew up and lived happily ever after.

“Well… they lived at least. Now they are 40ish, at least one of them is in the grips of a mid-life crisis, they feel constantly mocked by their teenage selves and haunted by the pressures of being the poster couple for romantic love” (…read more).

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 karl.oldridge@gmail.com.



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 Hullabaloo website.

Darlington Academy of Performing Arts

Does your child enjoy acting, singing and dancing? Regular classes take place at Hummersknott Academy. For details, visit the DAPA website.

Darlington Stage School AJ Productions

Join Darlington Stage School AJ Productions to learn to act, dance and sing and take part in multiple productions throughout the year.

All children who attend AJ Productions stage schools have the opportunity to perform in the professional pantomime at The Garden Rooms at Tennants in Leyburn, this year starring Britain’s Got Talent finalist Danny Posthill.

Contact AJ Productions to book a free taster session, email contact@ajproductions.tv, call 07999 428171 or visit the website www.ajproductions.tv.

  • Saturdays 10am-noon
  • Hummersknott Academy, Edinburgh Drive
  • Cost: £47.50 per five weeks, try your first session free
  • Ages: 5-18

Darlington Festival for Performing Arts

Darlington Festival for Performing Arts (DFPA) is a competition comprising three disciplines on three days: Music; Speech and Drama; and Dance. 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. The syllabus for competitions and details of year-round activities are available from the Secretary, email linda.lawson1511@gmail.com.

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Darlington Society of Arts at Crown Street Gallery

The society members will be exhibiting work at Crown Street Gallery from Saturday 11th January until Thursday 5th March.

The Society exhibits on a regular basis, which provides an opportunity to showcase members’ work and to reflect the diversity of their creative talents. New members are welcome, beginners or experienced, to join the society and enjoy their upcoming workshops (…read more).

For further information about the Darlington Society of Arts, visit its website.

‘Off the Rails’ exhibition

Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum – is hosting an exhibition featuring the work of artist Bill Oakey, from Saturday 11th January until Sunday 8th March.

The ‘Off the Rails’ exhibition has a railway theme but focuses on the staff passengers and volunteers who play such an important part in the railways.

Bill Oakey said: “There is a grand tradition of painting trains which I realise I have ignored, as I found myself more interested in the people around steam rather than the personality of steam trains.”

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts

The centre is at the junction of Yarm Road and Hunden’s Lane, Darlington DL1 1ED. It hosts exhibitions and houses a variety of local groups and is available for private hire. For more information, call the centre on 01325 243864, or visit The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts website. See also the Regular Classes and Events section for details.

blimey! Lucretia – collaborative art project

This collaborative project celebrates visual arts and explores the representation of women in our changing world as it focuses on an exhibition at The Bowes Museum.

blimey! Lucretia will focus on the centrepiece of The Power and the Virtue: Guido Reni’s Death of Lucretia exhibition at The Bowes Museum, which opened on Saturday 26th October. The project has been devised by blimey! a female-led Darlington-based artist collective who work across a diverse range of creative practices. The public events programme will take place in various venues, including The Bowes Museum and Crown Street Gallery in Darlington, between January and May 2020.

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Hilarity Bites Comedy Club

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

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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.

For more information, call 01325 46873 or visit the group’s Facebook page.


The Cotswold Morris Team/Black Diamond Mixed Cotswold Morris

Named after one of the first steam locomotives to operate on the Darlington and Stockton Railway/Black Diamond, this new Cotswold Morris team is based in Darlington. Dancing traditional dances from the Cotswold villages, this team comprises of both women and men.

They practise in the upstairs room of the Voodoo Cafe Bar on Skinnergate in Darlington from 7.30pm until about 9.30pm. The group welcomes any dancers and musicians, and if you’re not a dancer or musician then you are still more than welcome to join and learn the traditional dances.

Harlequin Women’s Morris

Harlequin Women’s Morris practise at the Village Hall, The Green, Cleasby, North 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.

6th Street Swing

Transport yourself back to the swinging world of the 1940s and learn the dance sensations that took the era by storm.

6th Street Swing are a group of local swing dancers keen to encourage more people to take up this fun and sociable partnered dance style. They run informal beginners’ classes weekly as well as evening socials every few months. No partner is required.

Classes are Tuesdays 7.30pm- 8.30pm followed by social dancing at Voodoo Cafe, Skinnergate. Cost: £3 – first class free. Email Angeline a.unique.rose@gmail.com.

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Open Mic for Writers

The Open Mic for Writers 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.

Writers have 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 excerpts from completed pieces to work in progress for which the authors are seeking feedback.

  • Each session starts at 7pm
  • Cost of entry is £4 paid on the door
  • Next event: 30 January
  • For details, email traceyiceton@hotmail.co.uk

Bennet House Writers

The group meets every Monday at 10.30am at Age UK, Bradbury House, Beaumont Street West, Darlington DL1 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.

Prompted to Write

This supportive writing co-operative for new and experienced writers takes place on Wednesdays from 10am-noon at Age UK Hub, 34 Priestgate, Darlington.

Creative writing courses with Tracey Iceton

A selection of creative writing courses with local author Tracey Iceton will take place in the autumn for all types of writers, from emerging to established (…read more).

For more information about Tracey’s writing and work with emerging writers visit the website.

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North Yorkshire and South Durham Arts Society

The society’s next lecture ‘The Roaring Twenties: Art, Design and High Society’ takes place on Monday 20th January 2pm, at Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington DL3 8QH.

This lecture aims to conjure up the energy and originality of the decade and to explore the lives of its leading figures and examples of its most innovative art and design.

Jo Banham is a freelance lecturer, writer, curator who has worked with The National Portrait Gallery, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Britain and Leighton House. (…read more).

Non-members welcome; £8 on the door.

The Darlington Lecture Association

Darlington Lecture Association (DLA) celebrates its 137th year with a season of eight lectures about travel, art, ancient Egypt and more. Lectures take place from September to April, usually second Monday of each month, at Carmel RC College, The Headlands, Darlington DL3 8RP.

Next event is on 13th January 2020: ‘Picasso and Matisse – the Best of Friendly Rivals’ (pictured) by Picasso and Matisse, a creative rivalry. Tate Britain art historian Ray Warburton details the artists’ creative rivalry and how it influenced their work for decades.

10th February 2020:
‘The Chelsea Flower Show’
9th March 2020: ‘Pharaohs, Potions and Pills’ by Jacqueline Campbell
30th March 2020: ‘Beguiling Bridges’ by Keith Holmes
AGM at 6.45pm before lecture

For details of these events, read more at Lectures for DLA’s 137th year.

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. Individual Membership £10; Junior and Student Membership £3; Visitors £3 per meeting.

15 January 2020: The Life, Times and Writings of Rudyard Kipling – with Malcolm Sweet
19 February 2020: Dr. Dresser’s Dream – with Gill Moore of the Dorman Museum on the life of iconic designer Christopher Dresser and his work with the Linthorpe Art Pottery in Middlesbrough
18 March 2020: Those Gigantic Statues: Cook and Easter Island – with Phil Philo, Senior Curator at Middlesbrough Museums
15 April 2020: A Sort of Homecoming: Flying Officer George Lumley of Darlington – with Anthony Magrys

For more information, visit the Darlington Historical Society website

Darlington Hippodrome ‘Heritage Tour’

The tours provide you with the chance to explore the building and learn about its heritage and history. The tours are supported by Darlington Culture Volunteers – visit the website for more details about volunteering.​

Next tours:
Thursday 13th February 10.30am​ and Thursday 26th March 10.30am​.

Contact the box office on 01325 405405 or book online at Darlington Hippodrome’s website.

Darlington Embroiderers’ Guild

The group holds its meetings the first Saturday of each month in Elm Ridge Methodist Church Hall, from 1.30pm for talks starting 2pm. The Darlington Embroiderers’ Guild programme for 2020 is for both experienced embroiderers’ and beginners. As well as embroidery and stitch techniques, topics for talks include other forms of textile art and also forms of art which use textile as an inspiration.

  • Non-members can visit twice at a cost of £4; after that you will need to join.

1st February
Finest Stitches. New Folio from the E.Guild Collection

7th March
Deb Cooper: ‘Lines and Wrinkles’

4th April
Pat Ashton-Smith: ‘A Sense of Place’

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WEA courses

Founded in 1903, the WEA is a charity dedicated to bringing high-quality, professional education into the heart of communities. With the support of nearly 3,000 volunteers, 2,000 tutors and over 10,000 members, we deliver friendly, accessible and enjoyable courses for adults from all walks of life.

Two courses start January 2020 at the Friends Meeting House, 6 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7NB.

Visit the WEA North East website for booking details.

The Bridge: spring term 2020

The spring term at The Bridge Centre forVisual Arts starts week commencing 13th January 2020. The programme of 10-week courses includes painting and drawing, landscape acrylic and oils, watercolours, experimental printmaking, portrait drawing and painting, ceramics, life drawing, jewellery making, Openart, and an ‘Introduction to Cyanotopes’ one-day workshop.

The Bridge provides a vibrant community-led venue to support artists and encourage visual arts involvement for Darlington. Many artists who had a presence at the Darlington Arts Centre can now be found at The Bridge Centre. It is also the home of other arts-based organisations.

To book, visit The Bridge’s website, or call 01325 243864.

Group piano lessons for adults

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

Classes take place at The Forum, Borough Road.

For information and to book, email traceychad1@gmail.com



Darlington Amateur Gardening Club

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

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.

  • £3.50 per session with a view to membership if liked
  • Ages range from 18 years upwards

Darlington Orchestra

Darlington Orchestra is a community group that performs two major concerts each year. The group meets during Darlington school term-times at St Thomas Aquinas Church Hall, North Road, Darlington, on Tuesdays from 7.15pm to 9pm.

There are no auditions although a playing ability of at least Grade IV and good sight-reading ability is recommended. If you are interested in joining, please email admin@darlington-orchestra.org.uk for information about vacancies.

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

Railway Heritage

The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway were formed in 2013 to take forward ambitious plans to conserve and promote the 1825 line in the lead up to the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the opening of the railway in 2025.

The Friends’ vision is to establish a walking and cycling rail trail using the route of the 1825 S&DR from Witton Park to Stockton on Tees. The group meets on the first Thursday of the month, 7.10pm, usually at Darlington Cricket Club, Feethams.

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. Visit the NCW website or Twitter @NCWGB, or search for National Council of Women Great Britain on Facebook or call 01325 367375.

Programme 2019-2020
28th January 2020: Tamma G Carel ‘Introducing the Sustainable Development Goals’
25th February: Jill Cunningham ‘Bugs and Beasties’
4th March: Spring Luncheon 12 for 12.30pm ‘Musicians from Darlington Orchestra’
28th April: Gary Bankhead ‘Archaeology of the River Wear’
19th May: Dr Helen Tidy ‘Forensics – Solving the Crime’
23rd June:
July (date tbc): Summer Outing

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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 (minimum 200KB) to darlo4culture@gmail.com.

Raising funds – just by shopping online

If you buy clothes, stationery, holidays, home appliances, IT gadgets, train travel or just about anything via the easyfundraising website 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, ao.com, thetrainline.com and wilko.com.

Heritage Healthcare

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 their website or 01325 370700.

Thanks to Resilient Business Systems Ltd for their support





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