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.

Newsletter 24th February to 1st March:

Visit each section to find out more about events this week. For example, for details about the ‘Open Mic for Writers’ on Thursday and a workshop organised by Vane Women, click on ‘Writing Groups’ in the ‘What’s On’ list.

This is the final week to add an event to the online and printed programme for Darlington Arts Festival 2020.

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

Deadline for inclusion in the overall festival programme is 29th February 2020.

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.

For further details and an events form, visit the Festival news item.

What’s On:

Click on the links to visit each section



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.

Forthcoming recital: Steven Osborne (29th March).

Hitting the headlines: The society’s march recital has featured in the national publication BBC Music Magazine. The February issue commemorates the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth, and Steven Osborne’s performance of the final three piano sonatas in Darlington, is highlighted as one of ’10 unmissable concerts in 2020′.

In a year when there are many celebratory performances of Beethoven’s works planned, this is an excellent accolade for all that Darlington Piano Society has achieved.

  • Visit the DPS website
  • Ticket for each event is £14, available online, from reception at the Dolphin Centre, and at the recitals
  • Free entry for Under-21s

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club

Saturday 7th March sees the return of the Red Stripe band from London – with what promomises to be a fun-packed, high-energy session.

The players are Red Stripe (aka Neil Drinkwater), piano, vocals, keytar; Helena-May Harrison, vocals; John O’Neill, tenor sax and clarinet; Erica Clarke, baritone sax, flute and swanee whistle; Lee Vivian, trumpet; Costa, bass and choreography; Ed Williams, drums and percussion.

  • Starts 12.30pm at St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington DL3 7TG
  • Entry is £10 on the door, children 15 and under go free
  • DfC members get a 20% discount on presentation of their membership card
  • For more information go to www.darlingtonjazz.co.uk

Darlington Music Society

Darlington Music Society brings the best in chamber musuc to Darlignton each month from October to April. Visit the society’s website.

Opus 4 Jazz Club

Opus 4 Jazz Club takes place at The Travellers Rest, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER. Doors open 7.30pm for 8pm start, usually £8 on the door. Club contact 01325 382676 and the club’s website.

The Forum Music Centre

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

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.

[Back to top of page]


SIRF workshops for young people

Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) and ARC are looking for young people (aged 18-24 years) to take part in workshops and performance this summer.

The organisers aim to create and support a home-grown street-theatre company from the Tees Valley. The young people don’t need previous experience, just an interest in SIRF, theatre, dance, movement, music, performance, or production – or a curiosity to find out more.

Sessions times and dates:
29th February 10am-1pm
4th March 7pm – performance of The Department of Distractions at ARC
14th March 10am-1pm
21st March 10am-1pm
28th March 10am-1pm
4th of April Planning session 10m-1pm
Creation Time – June

SIRF Performance Days: 31st July and 1st Aug

  • Workshops are free, refreshments will be provided and in cases where travel would hinder someone participating, the organisers will look at support if possible
  • For workshop times and dates, email sirfadmin@stockton.co.uk

Darlington Operatic Society

Darlington Operatic Society (DarlingtonOS) are being put thorough their paces as musical numbers within the show start to take shape.

Strictly Musicals 3 is the third offering of a series of ‘songs from the shows’ productions by DarlingtonOS, the first was in 2013.

Audiences will be entertained with songs from classic shows such as The King and I, Mack & Mabel and Chicago alongside extracts from modern-day favourites such as Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton and The Bodyguard. There will also be songs from some lesser-known shows such as Something Rotten, Bonnie & Clyde and Songs for a New World.

  • At Darlington Hippodrome from Wednesday 22 April to Saturday 2 May
  • Thursday 30 April is a BSL Interpreted performance and both Friday performances will be audio described
  • Tickets from the ticket hotline 01325 244659 or book online at www.darlingtonos.org.uk

Darlington Academy of Performing Arts

Darlington Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) runs performing-arts classes for children.

Infants 3 to 6 years: 3.30pm to 4.15pm
6 to 16 years: 4.30pm to 6.30pm

From Monday 3rd February, there are Drama and Dance classes for age 10+.

All students in both ‘Main Stage’ and ‘Infants’ will be part of two staged musical productions per year, written especially for each age group. The performances include modern and popular musical numbers that students wouldn’t normally get to perform. DAPA also hosts several holiday Musical Theatre workshops throughout the year.

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 spellbinding BalletBoyz return to Darlington with their new show Deluxe (5 March). ‘One night only’ appearances include Jools Holland (23 May). New shows added regularly – please check with the venue (…read more).

To book tickets, call 01325 405405 or visit Darlington Hippodrome website.

‘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 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.

[Back to top of page]


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.

[Back to top of page]


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.

[Back to top of page]


Modern Jive classes

Sync Dancing runs Modern Jive dance classes every Thursday at Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social & Welfare Club, Longfield Road, Darlington DL3 0HX.

7:30pm Doors open
7:45pm Beginner class (45mins)
8:30pm Break/social dance (30mins)
9:00pm Beginner re-cap/Intermediate class (30mins)
9:30pm Break/social dance (1hr)

Modern Jive is the simplest of all partner dances. There is no footwork to learn, so within half an hour you can be dancing to the biggest chart hits of today and yesterday, with lots of different partners.

Its lack of restriction means that there are literally hundreds of moves of every kind for dancers to use to expand your repertoire.

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.

[Back to top of page]


A Short Fiction Writing Workshop with Jo Colley (Part 2)

This workshop organised by Vane Women is on Saturday 29 February 10am-1pm at The Friends’ Meeting House.

It will pick up where Part 1 left off (see item from March last year), looking at different forms of short fiction but concentrating more on the surreal and non-linear narrative.

What elements make a short fiction piece work? As in Part 1, there will be some examples and lots of writing practice, but this is open to all, whether you attended the first part or not.

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
  • Events: 27th February, 26th March, 30th April, 28th May, 25th June, 24th September, 29th October, 26th November
  • 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.

[Back to top of page]


North Yorkshire and South Durham Arts Society

The Arts Society lectures takel place at Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington DL3 8QH. Non-members are welcome. Please pay £8 on the door..

20 April 6.30pm:
Andrew Prince ‘Jewelled Journeys: The Art of Opulent Travel’
18 May 6.30pm: Suzanne Fagence Cooper ‘Ravilious, Piper and English Romantic Modernism’
15 June 6.30pm: Nigel Bates ‘It’s not just Tchaikovsky’
21 September 6.30pm: Lizzie Darbyshire ‘John Singer Sargent’

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.

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.

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 tour: 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.

7th March
Deb Cooper: ‘Lines and Wrinkles’

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

[Back to top of page]


Darlington Libraries’ Adult Reading Challenge

‘Darlington Libraries’ Adult Reading Challenge’ will run throughout the year.

It is based on the successful annual summer reading challenge for children, and it aims to encourage adults to read more or read ‘differently’.

Completed cards should given to staff and will be entered into a draw for the chance of winning a £50 or £25 book voucher at the end of the year. There are four different cards, with 12 challenges on each, offering avid readers the chance of up to four entries in the prize draw (…read more).

  • The Adult Reading Challenge is open to all adults and is free
  • Call in to Crown Street or Cockerton Library to pick up your card and get started
  • To find out more about events at Darlington Libraries pop into the library, call 01325 349610 or visit www2.darlington.gov.uk

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
25th February: Jill Cunningham ‘Bugs and Beasties’
4th March: Spring Luncheon 12 for 12.30pm with ‘Sophia Strings’ and Chris Lloyd
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

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.

Visit the WEA North East website for booking details.

The Bridge: spring term 2020

The spring term at The Bridge Centre forVisual Arts started week commencing 13th January. 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.

[Back to top of page]


Leaflets required for the DfC information stand

Do you have arts and culture events or groups that you’d like to publicise? And do you have printed programmes or leaflets?

DfC has an information stand in the foyer at Darlington Hippodrome. It 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 there is a show on at the theatre.

Please send 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.

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





[Back to top of page]