What’s On

Welcome to our what’s on section, divided into sections for ease of use

For details of courses and workshops, including arts and crafts for all ages, dance classes and creative writing classes, please go to http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/courses/

The categories to be found below the Contents list are:
Darlington for Culture
General, including lecture
Events at the Bridge Centre for Visual Arts
Knitting Caf
Wildlife, gardening and environmental group
Railway heritag
Outside Darlington

Open Mic nights for authors continue on Thursday 25 January:
The nights, supported by Darlington for Culture and which offer a forum for writers to read their material and audiences to enjoy it, run at Voodoo Café/Cantina, 84 Skinnergate, Darlington, on the last Thursday of the month.

Now in their seventh year, the nights have given dozens of writers from Darlington and further afield the opportunity to read work including poetry, short stories, novel extracts and scripts to appreciative audiences. 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. It all makes for an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

  • Each session starts at 7pm and the cost of entry is £3 paid on the door. A share of the proceeds is donated to Darlington for Culture to help further its work supporting arts and culture in the town.

The Forum is having an Open Day on 4th February from 3pm to 7pm:
There will be live music and refreshments, open-mic opportunities, chance to tour refurbished facilities plus a “Buy, Sell & Swap” for all old music gear.

Admission is free for all ages. More information about the venue on Twitter @TheForum_Music or the website www.theforumonline.co.uk





Darlington Music Society will stage six concerts of classical music during the 2017 / 2018 season as they have in previous years.
Tickets are £14.00 per concert or £52.50 for a season ticket. Tickets can be obtained from the Dolphin Centre or season tickets from Mr. R. Tooze, 66 Headlands, Darlington. DL3 8RZ. Tel: 01325 467163
The remaining concerts during the year are:
Matthew Scott (Clarinet) & Cristine Zerafa (Piano) on Saturday 17th March, playing Debussy, Brahms & others.
Marmen Quartet on Saturday 21st April, playing Mozart, Beethoven & Janacek.

The Darlington Orchestra Winter Concert 2018 is on 27th January 7.30pm at the Dolphin Centre.

The orchestra will present a variety of classical music – old and new. The programme will include a wide range of pieces from Corelli and Dvořák, Richard Rodgers and 20th-century music medleys through to some John Williams magic.

The family-friendly concert is in two parts of about 50 minutes each, with a 30-minute interval. The event includes two 10-minute sets by special guest performers Esh Community Gospel Choir.

Tickets available from the Dolphin Centre.

  • Ticket prices remain the same as in 2017 at £7 (£5 concessions), cash sales only otd
  • Follow the orchestra on Twitter and Facebook for details nearer the time

Darlington Piano Society – presents Dinara Klinton on 28 January 
Full details of the season are available at www.dpiano.co.uk www.dpiano.co.uk and in the Society’s brochure readily available throughout the area. Tickets can be bought in advance online at the society’s website or at the Dolphin Centre reception and are always available at the door on the day. Prices are £12 (£6 for U21) and season tickets for the rest of the season can be purchased at the recitals.

Voodoo Café: There is a chance to enjoy some terrific disco-based music in Darlington – Double Entendre – DJ Soul, Funk, Acid Jazz, held on the 4th Friday of the month at Voodoo Café, Skinnergate 8.30pm until late.





Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club stages Saturday lunchtime gigs at St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington.

All sessions start at 12.30, doors open from noon.
For more information go to www.darlingtonjazz.co.uk




It’s all happening at The Forum
The Forum in Borough Road has got a terrific programme. For the full list of gigs and events, please visit www.theforumonline.co.uk 

January 2018 events


Friday 26th – Northern Soul Night
3 Dj’s spinning quality Northern Soul Oldies.
Entrance £3.50 – Doors 7pm until Midnight

Saturday 27th – Black Ice
Tribute to AC/DC
Tickets £8 – Doors 7-30pm

February events

Thursday 1st – Alternative Indie Rock Night
As part of Independent Venues Week, we have Lhymes, Sonder Minds, Catalyse & Plastic performing their own original music.
Tickets / Entrance £6 – Doors 7.30pm

Friday 2nd – Pioneers of the Synthesizer
Featuring Liquid Engineers (Gary Numan) & Man Machine (Kraftwerk)
Tickets £8adv/£10otd – Doors 8pm-Concert 8.30pm

Saturday 3rd – Hilarity Bites Comedy Club
Our monthly comedy club featuring 3 stop stand-up comedians
Tickets £10 – Doors 7,30pm

Sunday 4th – Open Day
Fun for all the family at our open day to celebrate our refurbished rehearsal rooms and recording studio. We have an array of events to enjoy from Open Mic slots, recording studio workshops, and you can buy, sell and/or swap your music gear. + Refreshments & Snacks available.
Free to all ages from 3pm to 7pm

Sunday 4th – The Jar Family
As part of Independent Venues Week and our Open Day
We welcome back the Rootsy Folk Rockers to The Forum.
Tickets £7 – Doors 7pm – Concert 7.30pm
12+ (Under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian)

Friday 9th – The Skapones & Big Fat Panda
Vinyl Single Launch Party
Tickets £10 which includes a Ska Goodybag + The Single
Doors 7.30pm. Showtime 8.30pm

Saturday 10th – Who’s Next
Brilliant tribute to The Who return
Tickets £12 – Doors 7.30pm- Concert 8.30pm

Friday 16th – Darlington R’n’B Club
Featuring Big Wolf Band
Tickets £12 – Doors 7.30pm

Saturday 17th – The Killerz
Excellent tribute to The Killers
Advance tickets advised
Tickets £12 – Doors 7.30pm – Concert 8.30pm

Friday 23rd – Gasto Promotions presents Chantel McGregor
+ Support tba
Tickets £14 – Doors 7.30pm

Darlington Folk Club meets every Thursday at the Copper Beech in Neasham Road, 8pm start. Please see below the weekly programme until April.

Darlington Folk Club

More details available on the website www.darlingtonfolkclub.com

January 25th Open Mic Evening
February 1st Singers, Musicians and Poets
February 8th Sunjay
February 15th Singers, Musicians and Poets
February 22nd Marie Little
March 1st Singers, Singers, Musicians and Poets
March 8th Dog Watch
March 15th Singers Musicians and Poets
March 22nd Wildwood Jack
March 29th Singers Musicians and Poets
April 5th Bric a Brac

Darlington Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Club
Check out their programme at the Forum at www.darlington-r-n-b-club.co.uk


The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts
Can be found 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 Bridge houses a variety of local groups and is available for private hire. Information on programmes can be found on www.thebridgedarlington.org.uk and Facebook page (link from main web page)


Art, crafts, exhibitions

Knitting Café
knittting image
The Knitting Cafe holds its Monday night sessions at Lingfield Point, off McMullen Road, taking the craft of knitting home to the site. The Café meets at Lingfield House on the site which was home to Patons and Baldwins, at one time a leading manufacturer of knitting yarn in Darlington. The Monday evening sessions are designed to introduce people to knitting, and also for experienced exponents of the pastime, and take place between 7-9pm. Sessions cost £3. For more information, contact Becky on 07550002773


Morris dance team seeks members
The Cotswold Morris Team\Black Diamond Mixed Cotswold Morris is seeking new members.
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 7.30 pm until about 9.30
They welcome any dancers and musicians who would like to join them and if you’re not a dancer or musician then you are still more than welcome to come and join and learn these traditional dances.
Contact: blackdiamondmorrris@gmail.com

Your chance to try Morris Dancing
Fancy trying something new? Why not consider Morris Dancing?

swingTransport 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. We run informal beginners classes weekly as well as evening socials every few months. No partner is required.
When Tuesdays 7.30 – 8.30 followed by social dancing
Where Upstairs Voodoo Cafe, Skinnergate
Cost £3 first class free
Contact Angeline a.unique.rose@gmail.com


Darlington Historical Society talks:
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.
More information at www.darlingtonhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

Wednesday 21 February 2018
From rainwater Tubs To Taps: A history of Tees Cottage Pumping Station

Wednesday 21 March 2018
Medieval Towns and Villages in Tees Valley

Wednesday 18 April 2018
North Road Head of Steam Museum

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. There are also lots of opportunities to attend other discussions/seminars/meetings both locally and nationally during the year to keep up to date with what’s happening. Want to know more then check out the NCW website www.ncwgb.org or Twitter @NCWGB, call  01325 367375 or search for National Council of Women Great Britain on Facebook.

Darlington Lecture Association
Darlington Lecture Association welcomes £5 visitors to its meetings at Carmel RC College (7.30pm). Details of £25 membership covering eight lectures from 01325 363350 or at www.darlingtonlecture.org.uk

Keeping fit
Darlington Keep Fit Association is celebrating its 55th year of movement to music with fregular sessions.
The first takes place every Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm. at St Thomas Aquinas Church Hall and is choreographed by Catherine Gilsenan; and the second is held every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9pm at Sadberge Village Hall and is 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.


The season of Open Mic nights for authors will continue on Thursday January 25.
The nights, supported by Darlington for Culture and which offer a forum for writers to read their material and audiences to enjoy it, run at Voodoo Café/Cantina, 84 Skinnergate, Darlington, on the last Thursday of the month.
Now in their seventh year, the nights have given dozens of writers from Darlington and further afield the opportunity to read work including poetry, short stories, novel extracts and scripts to appreciative audiences. 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. It all makes for an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.
Each session starts at 7pm and the cost of entry is £3 paid on the door. A share of the proceeds is donated to Darlington for Culture to help further its work supporting arts and culture in the town.

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.


Darlington Hippodrome to welcome exciting new shows in its opening season.
Following 18 months of expectation and a multimillion-pound restoration, the doors to Darlington Hippodrome are now open offering a fabulous season of theatre with some big-hitting shows on offer and even more in the pipeline.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a pantomime, and this season we have the fairest of them all – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Starring boy band and soap star Lee Ryan, Darlington’s own West End leading lady Zoe Birkett, local funny-man Patrick Monahan, Eric Potts, Liam Mellor and Natasha Hoeberigs as Snow White, this year’s pantomime will be packed full of comedy, songs, dance numbers and the usual Darlington pantomime magic between Saturday 9 December and Sunday 14 January.
A series of week-long shows for all tastes kicks off with New Jersey Nights (Jan 16 to 20),Son of a Preacher Man (Feb 6 to 10) is an all-new show directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood featuring the greatest hits of Dusty Springfield. We welcome back one of the all-time greats with Blood Brothers (20 to 24 February) followed by the David Walliams classic Awful Auntie (28 February to 4 March).


Blood Brothers heads to Hippodrome
Bill Kenwright’s production of the international smash hit musical Blood Brothers announces its 2018 tour and it’s coming to Darlington Hippodrome in February.
Bill Kenwright’s ‘Dazzling’ (Sunday Telegraph) production of the international smash hit musical Blood Brothers announces its 2018 tour, opening on Tuesday 16 January at the Theatre Royal Bath. This iconic musical has been visiting theatres across the country throughout 2017 in celebration of its 30th anniversary, performing to sell-out houses and receiving standing ovations.
Considered ‘One of the best musicals ever written’ (Sunday Times), Blood Brothers, written by award-winning playwright Willy Russell has triumphed across the globe. Scooping up no fewer than four awards for best musical in London and seven Tony Award nominations on Broadway, Blood Brothers is simply ‘Unmissable and unbeatable’ (The Spectator).
Critically acclaimed actress and singer Lyn Paul returns to the seminal role of Mrs Johnstone, following her first performance back in 1997. Hailed as ‘The definitive Mrs Johnstone’ (Manchester Evening News), Lyn has played the role on numerous UK tours and also starred as Mrs Johnstone in the final West End performances at the Phoenix Theatre in 2012.
Lyn first rose to fame in the early 1970s as a member of the New Seekers. She was the featured vocalist on their 1972 Eurovision Song Contest entry, ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’, in which they came second and lead vocalist on the 1974 number-one hit ‘You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me’. Among the group’s other works, they recorded the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’, adapted from an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola, which sold over 20 million copies and still remains one of the 100 best-selling singles in the UK. She has also starred in the UK tour of Cabaret in 2013 as Fraulein Schneider, in Boy George’s musical Taboo and in Footloose – the Musical.
This epic tale of Liverpool life started as a play, performed at a Liverpool comprehensive school in 1981 before opening at the Liverpool Playhouse 35 years ago in 1983, completing sell out seasons in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan. Blood Brothers also ran in London’s West End for 24 years, exceeding 10,000 performances, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone.
Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving story of twin boys separated at birth, only to be reunited by a twist of fate and a mother’s haunting secret. The memorable score includes A Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.
When Mrs Johnstone, a young mother, is deserted by her husband and left to her own devices to provide for seven hungry children she takes a job as a housekeeper in order to make ends meet. It is not long before her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again – this time with twins! In a moment of weakness and desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer which leads inexorably to the show’s shattering climax.
A sensational cast, incredible show stopping music, remarkable staging and five star performances make Blood Brothers an enthralling night of entertainment.
Willy Russell is undeniably one of this country’s leading contemporary dramatists. His countless credits include Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. Educating Rita, originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, enjoyed a two year run in the West End and was made into a movie starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters. Shirley Valentine also made the move from stage to screen in an enormously popular film starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti. Blood Brothers runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 February.
Tickets* from £23.50 (all prices include a £2 restoration levy). For more information or to book contact the box office on 01325 405405 or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

Other Hippodrome productions:
Hailed ‘a gut-busting hit’ by the New York Times, the West End and Broadway smash hit comedy The Play That Goes Wrong comes to Darlington from 5 to 10 March and if you like a spot of Disney music then you must not miss A Spoonful of Sherman (12 to 14 March). We welcome back Middle Ground Theatre Company and the world stage première from Ruth Rendell (writing as Barbara Vine) with the murder mystery Gallowglass (27 to 31 March). Following a sell-out production of Strictly Musicals 2, DarlingtonOS returns to the Hippodrome with the ultimate feel-good musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert (18 to 28 April) and for added glitz and glamour we welcome The Rat Pack Live (8 to 12 May) with one of the ring-a-ding-iest nights in town.
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company has presented some of the most thought-provoking theatre in Darlington including To Sir With Love, A View From The Bridge, Regeneration, Brassed Off, Brave New World and Of Mice And Men. This season they return with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (15 to 19 May) starring Phil Daniels. Celebrating the world’s greatest entertainer, Thriller Live is a spectacular concert featuring the songs of Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5 (28 May to 2 June). Broadway’s smash hit musical comedy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, starring Hayley Tamaddon comes to Darlington Hippodrome from 11 to 16 June swiftly followed by This Is Elvis (25 to 30 June) which recreates all the drama leading up to ‘the 1968 Comeback Special’ TV show – it’s the musical that puts the king back on the throne. For lovers of comedy we have one of the best as Joe Pasquale stars as Frank Spencer in an all-new stage show Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (2 to 7 July) while All Or Nothing – the Mod Musical (10 to 14 July) follows the rise and demise of the Small Faces.
A whole host of star performers will be appearing at Darlington Hippodrome and The Hullabaloo (the new 170-seat studio theatre adjacent to the Hippodrome) over the next seven months including Patrick Monahan (26 January), Jimmy Osmond (12 February), That’ll Be The Day (13 & 14 February), The Russian State Ballet of Siberia (15 to 18 February), Tom Allen (24 February), The Hallé (26 February), Tony Law (4 March), Sing-a-ling-a Beauty & The Beast (11 March), The Illegal Eagles (19 March), Stewart Lee (20 March), Madama Butterfly (21 March), Smokie (22 March), Peppa Pig and Friends (25 & 25 March), Bobby Davro and Dani Harmer in the Easter Pantomime Beauty & The Beast (2 & 3 April), Russell Watson (4 April), Rumours of Fleetwood Mac (5 April), Ken Dodd (8 April), Steve Steinman’s Meatloaf Story (9 April), The BBC Big Band (10 April), The Carpenters Story (11 April), English Youth Ballet (13 & 14 April), Jason Cooke (28 April), Liza Pulman (30 April), Brian Conley (1 May), Balletboyz (2 May), Gilbert O’Sullivan (3 May), Dinosaur World Live (4 to 6 May), Pam Ayres (5 June), Jane McDonald (7 June) and The Teletubbies (9 & 10 June).

More big names and blockbuster shows are in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond.
For further information and to book contact the box office on 01325 405405, or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk to choose your own seats online.

The Hullabaloo, the National Centre of Theatre for Young Audiences, has seen Theatre Hullabaloo enter into a new partnership with Darlington Borough Council to offer a purpose-designed theatre space, creative play, family café and a broad range of creative opportunities for children from 0-12 years and their families.

Gardening and environmental groups
juniper 001

Darlington Amateur Gardening Club: meets in Bondgate Methodist Church, Winston Street entrance, and the talk starts at about 7.20pm, after tea/coffee. For club information contact the club secretary on 01325 468870.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England, CPRE Darlington: meets in the Upstairs Restaurant, Dolphin Centre, Darlington, at 6.30pm. 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.
While the development of the modern railway can be traced to a number of places, it was the S&DR where the engineering excellence of Stephenson and Hackworth came together with the economic foresight of Edward Pease and the business community of South West Durham and the Tees Valley to create the first modern railway. In the period 1825-30 the S&DR demonstrated that steam locomotive hauled railways were a viable proposition and ushered in the railway age which changed the face of the world.
The 1823 Act of Parliament allowing the line to be built was clear that this was a public railway which from its inception was to carry not just coal but passengers and goods on a permanent mainline with branches. Innovative technology, financing through shareholders linked to each other through family and faith and the inspiration and model it provided for others mark it out as the place where the modern railway age was born.
Recent survey work by the Friends of the S&DR has shown that much of the original line and its buildings still survives, some of it abandoned, some still in use as a railway. It does however need substantial conservation work and above all interpretation to tell its story to a local and international audience.
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. This would ensure that the physical remains of the S&DR are protected, recognised and conserved and also allow a key part of the nation’s heritage to be accessible and interpreted, bringing economic and health benefits to the region and beyond. As part of this the Friends are discussing with Historic England enhanced protection through listing and scheduling and exploring the case for World Heritage Site status to reflect the impact this ‘birthplace of the modern railway’, had on the world.
More information is available on the Friends website www.sdr1825.co.uk/
Or at their Facebook page; where notice of regular meetings and events can be found www.facebook.com/groups/304912612980375/. The Friends hold a regular monthly meeting on the first Thursday of the month, 7.10pm, usually at Darlington Cricket Club, Feethams. Email info@sdr1825.co.uk for information.