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 lectures


Events at the Bridge Centre for Visual Arts



Knitting Café




Wildlife, gardening and environmental groups


Railway heritage

Outside Darlington

Darlington for Culture

General, including lectures

‘And the bride wore’ talk at Crown Street Library on Tuesday 14 No, 2pm. Tickets £2 on 01325349630 or local.studies@darlington.gov.u

Cockerton’s Christmas Tree will be switched on on December 1. If this does not open click on http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/cockerton-christmas-tree-event/

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 20 December 2017
The Langworthy Mystery with Tony Nicholson

Wednesday 17 January 2018
North East Film History

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 or search for National Council of Women Great Britain on Facebook or for the local group ring Mary Drury on 01325 380665

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

Monday 13th November 2017 at 7.30pm KEITH HOLMES A Taste of Cornwall
This will be “taste” in the sense of selected highlights and off-beat attractions of the most westerly of English counties, the sunniest and warmest, among the biggest and least populous and certainly among the most visited. But it will be a surprise if we are not to be tempted too by the eponymous pasties and cream teas and expensive fish dishes.
And surely there’ll be its place in popular cultural taste, from du Maurier’s Rebecca to Poldark (in his day, that hard-won tin gave the county an importance rewarded by 44 MPs, against six today).
Cornwall is the home of the extraordinary Eden Project enclosing warmer climes in huge bubbles within a reclaimed quarry, of the Camel Valley’s noted vineyard, of the country’s only commercial tea-growing estate, of the Lost Gardens of Heligan….
We know Keith Holmes and we like his fine photographs and informed, informal commentary. He explored unknown Norfolk for us and a couple of seasons ago showed us Britain’s finest houses as well as the most eccentric in his Des Res presentation.
He researches his subjects thoroughly so we get the stories behind the pictures of cities (just one in Cornwall, a small gem: Truro), coast (the Cornish Riviera of coves and harbours in the south, the cliffs and surf of the north) and countryside (the purple moor of Bodmin, doubtless crossed by roads that at night are ribbons of moonlight and are roamed by highwaymen.

Monday 4th December 2017 – GARY BANKHEAD Bridge Over Treasured Water
Did an Archbishop of Canterbury of our own time take leave of his senses when, as it appears, he walked 200 yards from his home in Durham City and threw valuable Church treasures into the dark depths of the River Wear?
That question was raised when tonight’s speaker discovered, in dives with his brother around Prebends Bridge, gold and silver mementoes from Michael Ramsey’s reign. They included gifts from the Queen and the Pope.
Since the Ramsey finds, Mr Bankhead has made further discoveries in the river, this time near the 12th-century Elvet Bridge, that have been lauded as of major importance. The British Museum, following a naming tradition that includes the Staffordshire Hoard, has grandly titled his latest achievement the Durham River Wear Assemblage.
Our amateur underwater archaeologist now with an MPhil degree at Durham University – his proper job is as a fireman – will tell us of an intriguing link between the Prebends and Elvet discoveries a short distance apart near Durham Cathedral.
The Assemblage is of some 9,500 small items of astonishing variety that cast light on how our ancestors worked and played in medieval times. Not least is evidence, new to historians, of the scale of the cloth trade in Durham, including European imports: many lead seals that had been pinned on bolts of cloth by taxation inspectors since Edward III’s time. They may have fallen off during riverside dyeing.
In cities worldwide, past cultures have been explored via underwater finds at river bridges. What, one wonders, will Paris historians of 3000 AD make of millions of padlock keys to be found in the Seine?

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.


Darlington Choral Society is staging the Verdi Requiem on November 25. If this does not open, click on http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/choral-spectacular/
This is a unique opportunity to hear this magnificent Verdi work performed live in Darlington.
With combined choirs of 150 singers and a 50 strong orchestra, it is an unforgettable musical experience, whatever your musical tastes.
Darlington Choral Society has brought together three choirs, two regional orchestras and four top class soloists under the baton of Richard Bloodworth. Verdi’s operatic approach to the requiem mass firmly places it as one of the greatest sacred choral works ever written. If you are considering what to see and hear this month, then come and hear what the many talented people of our region can achieve given the opportunity.
Tickets online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/394194Darlington 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:

Luba Tunnicliffe (Viola) & Edward Liddall (Piano) on Sat 20th Jan, playing Brahms, Schubert, Bach & Konzertstuck.
Prince Bishop Brass – an ensemble of brass instruments on Sat 17th February, playing a wide programme by Mozart, Bach & Gershwin & many others.
Matthew Scott (Clarinet) & Cristine Zerafa (Piano) on Saturday 17th March, playing Debussy, Brahms & others.
Marmen Quartet on Saturday 21st April, playing Mozart, Beethoven & Janacek.

Darlington Piano Society
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.

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 will go on sale about one month before the concert.

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


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’s upcoming Saturday lunchtime gigs at St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington, include:

Saturday 2 December sees the Club hosting the Maine Street Jazzmen. They’ll be playing entertaining Dixieland jazz, drawing their influences not only from the classic American jazz groups of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, but also the British bands of the 1950’s & 60’s .
All sessions are at St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington and start at 12.30, doors open from noon.
For more information go to www.darlingtonjazz.co.uk
It’s all happening at The Forum/strong>
The Forum in Borough Road has got a terrific programme. For the full list of gigs and events, please visit www.theforumonline.co.uk 


Thursday 16th – Limehouse Lizzy
Tickets £12 – Doors 8pm
Advance tickets advised

17th – Gasto Promotions Presents:
UK Rock legends
Tickets £10 – Doors 7-30pm

Friday 24th – The Icicle Works
Legendary band performing at The Forum
Tickets £17-50 – Doors 8pm

80s band rocks on thanks to Darlington’s Forum Music Centre
Darlington’s dedicated live music venue, The Forum Music Centre, has saved the day for 80s chart-topping rock band, The Icicle Works, after the original venue was no longer available.
After an unfortunate mix-up, in which a Newcastle venue double-booked the evening of the gig, The Forum Music Centre has decided the show must go on for the 80s-alternative rock band and will now host the performance in Darlington.
Since opening in May 2004, The Forum’s stage has played host to many fantastic acts, covering all styles of music, including rock, jazz and opera, as well as chart topping stars.
Commenting on the opportunity, Allison McKay, managing director of Humantics CIC which manages the popular music venue, said: “We’re so happy that The Forum could save the day for The Icicle Works and its fans.
“The centre hosts an array of different music genres, comedy clubs and film nights and, as a Community Interest Company, this opportunity is a great way for it to develop its future in the community.
“We’re so pleased that our venue has been able to bring a band with such great history to Darlington.”
It’s been 33 years since the Liverpudlian band rose to fame with its hits, ‘Love is a Wonderful Colour’ and ‘Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream).’ After 11 years of success, the band members went their separate ways in 1991 and now only reunite for a handful of shows in the UK.
The show will feature the songs by Ian McNabb and take place on Friday November 24th at the venue, located on Borough Road. Doors will open at 7.30pm and tickets will cost £17.50.
Allison continued: “We hope that The Icicle Works is just the beginning of chart-topping acts to come to Darlington.”
For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.theforumonline.co.uk/gigs.htmlSaturday 25th – Slade UK
Brilliant tribute to Slade, advance tickets advised
Tickets £12 – Doors 8pm

Saturday 25th Ultimate Bowie
****** Sold Out ******

December @ The Forum

Friday 1st – Adult School Disco
Tickets £6 Doors 7-30pm

Thursday 7th – Burlesque Christmas Show
Miss Tobi James presents an evening of Burlesque & Cabaret
Tickets £10/8pm

Friday 8th – Darlington R’n’B Club Presents:
Eugene Bridges + Support
Tickets £15 – Doors 7-30pm

December 9th – The Kounterfeit Kinks
Tickets £12 – Doors 8pm

Saturday 16th – The Springsteen Sessions
Tickets £12 – Doors 8pm

Wednesday 20th – Hilarity Bites Comedy Club Special
Carl Hutchinson
Tickets £10 – Doors 7-30pm

Thursday 21st – Christmas Original Band Night
Featuring : Lifetime Skiver , The Salvadors & The Van Fevers
Tickets £6 – Doors 7-30pm

Saturday 23rd – Chrtistmas Northern Soul Night
4 Dj’s spinning quality Northern Soul
Tickets / Entrance £3.50 – Doors 7pm to 11.30pm

Friday 29th – Led Into Zepp + Abandoned Brothers
Tickets £10 – Doors 7-30pm

Sunday 31st – New Years Eve Party
3 Live bands + Food
Tickets £15 – Doors 7pm

Darlington Folk Club meets every Thursday evening at the Copper Beech in Neasham Rd at 8pm. Darlington Folk Club
Autumn programme

Thurs Nov 16th Kieran Halpin
Thurs Nov 23rd Open Mic
Thurs Nov 30th Benny Graham & Chuck Fleming
Thurs Dec 7th SMP
Thurs Dec 14th Flossie Malavialle & Paul Donnelly
Thurs Dec 21st Club Christmas Meal
Thurs Dec 28th Club Closed

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

Artist Paul Dillon’s latest exhibition, Another Side to Paul Dillon, is to be staged at the Crown Street Gallery from November 11
If this does not open, click on http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/paul-dillon-exhibition-staged/

Artistic talent on show
The artistic talents of some of Darlington’s older residents will be put in the frame at a special exhibition in the Town Hall in October.
The display follows the growing popularity of art classes at two of the borough’s extra care housing schemes, Dalkeith House and Oban Court, which support older people to live independently.
Six residents, with ages ranging from 76 to 95, regularly take part in the classes which are run by local artist and volunteer Alan Cooke with the help of the Community Fund to cover the costs of materials.
Now their work is to go on show for all to enjoy with an exhibition, organised by Creative Darlington, in the Town Hall from Monday 23 October until Friday 15 December.
Penny Ivison, Scheme Leader at Dalkeith House, said: “We launched the group last year and it’s been really popular. Many of those taking part have surprised themselves with some of the artworks they have produced.”
Carol Coates, Scheme Leader at Oban Court, added: “Our residents have created some lovely paintings and it’s wonderful to be able to showcase them in the Town Hall so that others can see and admire their efforts.”
Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington Manager, said: “Groups such as this are a great way to help enhance the health and wellbeing of older people, giving them a chance to meet others and perhaps discover talents they never knew they had.
“This exhibition is a tribute to the fantastic abilities and resources of older people and is the latest in a series that has featured the work of children, young people, students and artists of all ages, which has received a warm welcome at the Town Hall.”
Dalkeith House and Oban Court, boast a range of self-contained flats with access to communal facilities and on-site care teams, as well as a packed programme of activities for residents.
To find out more about the art groups, which are also open to other nearby residents, contact Dalkeith House on 01325 355770 or Oban Court on 01325 464203.

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


Youth ballet auditions

English Youth Ballet is auditioning for roles in a production of Coppélia at Darlington Hippodrome on Sunday November 26.
At the audition 100 young male and female dancers aged eight to eighteen from across the region will be offered the chance to rehearse with and then dance alongside international professional principal dancers in the production for three performances which will be presented at Darlington Hippodrome from 13 to 14 April 2018.
The charming story of Coppélia follows the escapades of the dreamy Franz and how he comically falls in love with a beautiful, life-like doll. The doll – Coppélia – is created by the eccentric, yet mysterious inventor, Dr Coppelius. The hilarious plot thickens when Franz’s jealous lover, Swanhilda, takes her friends on an adventure into the spooky house of the mad inventor to confront her rival. Of course, the story ends happily after the truth is uncovered. The whole town joins the most extravagant wedding celebration for the smitten Franz and Swanhilda.
Award-winning English Youth Ballet (EYB) is now in its 19th successful year and is one of the largest ballet companies in the UK. EYB is a national touring ballet company with Director – Janet Lewis MBE at its helm. Miss Lewis enjoyed an illustrious dancing career with the Royal Ballet Company and London Festival Ballet dancing alongside such greats as Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. The company consists of a core team of 8 international principal dancers, 2 artistic ballet staff, 2 wardrobe mistresses and 4 theatre technicians. The principal dancers have danced in some of the world’s greatest companies including English National Ballet, La Scala and the Royal Ballet. EYB is highly regarded for presenting lavish, large-scale classical ballets and critics have praised the quality of the beautiful sets and costumes.
EYB Director Janet Lewis says: “The EYB audition is an experience in itself. EYB is all about performance experience and this starts at the audition as the dancers are given a regular ballet class on the stage. Parents and family are encouraged to watch from the auditorium. We are looking for young dancers of all abilities who can show the audience how much they enjoy their dancing.”
The policy of EYB is to give professional performance experience to young dancers in beautiful venues close to where they live. The young dancers benefit from being coached and mentored by the professional dancers in an 11-day rehearsal period which takes place out of school hours. They gain a unique insight into what it is like to be a professional dancer.
Each audition will take the form of a regular ballet class. Dancers will find out on the day if they are successful. It is advisable to register for the audition in advance but it is possible to register on the day (please arrive 30 minutes early to register). The audition fee is £15.00 and all dancers participate in a full ballet class. Parents are invited to watch the audition.
Auditions will be held on Sunday 26th November 2017 at Darlington Hippodrome, Parkgate, Darlington.
3pm to 4.45pm audition for dancers aged 8 to 11, and 5.15pm to 7pm Audition for dancers aged 12 to 18.
For more information and to register for the audition please contact EYB either by telephone on 01689 856747 or by email: info@englishyouthballet.co.ukFor more information about English Youth Ballet please visit www.englishyouthballet.co.uk

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?

a title=”swing” href=”http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/swing.png”>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


Author to give talk
Best-selling historical fiction author Simon Scarrow is set to bring the latest tales from his Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro to Darlington Library in November.
Born in Nigeria, Simon spent his childhood travelling the world and pursued his love of history as a teacher before becoming a full-time writer.
Simon will be visiting Darlington on Wednesday 22 November to talk about what inspires his work and his latest book ‘Day of the Caesars’.
‘Day of the Caesars’ is the 16th book in the Eagles of the Empire series, which follows the fortunes of Roman soldiers Cato and Macro, who first appeared in ‘Under the Eagle’, published in 2000.
Simon, who now lives in Norwich, has also penned several other books and is co-writer of two best-selling novels with T J Andrews – Arena and Invader.
Vicky Emmerson, Senior Library Officer, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome Simon Scarrow to Darlington to discover how he brings the past to life so brilliantly in his books.
“Our author events always prove very popular and we’re sure many fans of the Eagles of the Empire will be keen to meet the man behind the stories.”
An Evening with Simon Scarrow will be at Darlington’s Crown Street Library on Wednesday 22 November, from 7pm. Tickets are £5, which include wine and nibbles, and must be booked in advance.
For more information or to book your place call into Darlington Library or call 01325 462034.

The season of Open Mic nights for authors will continue on Thursday November 30.
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. More information is available from Inscribe Media Limited at deangriss@btinternet.com
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 has unveiled a packed spectacular opening season following a multi-million pound restoration.
Following 18 months of expectation the opening season of the newly restored Darlington Hippodrome has been revealed.
As a curtain-raiser and emotional homecoming we welcome DarlingtonOS with Strictly Musicals 2 – a song and dance extravaganza featuring some of the best-loved musicals of all time including Mamma Mia, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Jersey Boys and many, many more. Be one of the first to see inside the new venue from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 November.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a pantomime, and this year we have the fairest of them all – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Starring boy band and soap star Lee Ryan alongside Darlington’s own West End leading lady Zoe Birkett 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.
On Monday 1 January, we usher in the New Year in style with New Year in Vienna 2018 which will whisk you away to a fairy-tale world as a host of singers showcase the very best of popular Viennese music, from waltzes and polkas to uplifting marches.
Just because it’s January it doesn’t mean it’s too late for a party! The music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is as popular today as it was back in the 60s and 70s. New Jersey Nights is a spectacular show direct from the USA and takes the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the career of one of the biggest selling groups of all time from Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 January.
From Friday 2 to Sunday 4 February celebrate the re-opening of Darlington Hippodrome with a specially created show, Anywhere, performed by the theatre’s own acting company. Step through the doors of the theatre and go behind the scenes to explore the amazing stories that lie within the theatre.
A spectacular new musical is heading to Darlington from Tuesday 6 to Saturday 10 February. Son of a Preacher Man is an all-new production directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood who won critical acclaim for his productions of Sister Act, Chess and Sunset Boulevard. This sparklingly funny and touching new musical features the greatest hits of Dusty Springfield including ‘The Look of Love’, ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ and of course, the classic ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’.
If you are a fan of Andy Williams or The Osmonds then we have a real treat on Monday 12 February as Jimmy Osmond presents his own tribute to Andy Williams in Moon River and Me. Featuring award-winning music, nostalgic footage and special memories, this brand new show will touch your heart.
Just in time for Valentines, That’ll Be The Day returns with a brand new show for 2018 for two nights only on Tuesday 13 & Wednesday 14 February. This hugely entertaining line-up of classic gold hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s provides both laughs and nostalgia.
We are delighted to welcome The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia back to Darlington with three great ballet masterpieces: Romeo & Juliet (Thursday 15 Feb), the tragic Swan Lake (Friday 16 and Saturday 17 Feb) and family favourite The Nutcracker (Sunday 18 Feb).
Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi award winning Blood Brothers (Tuesday 20 – Saturday 4 February). Written by Willy Russell, this legendary story tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks only to meet again with fateful consequences. The superb score includes ‘Bright New Day’, ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and the emotionally charged ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’.
Having first appeared in Darlington back in the 1960s we welcome back the world class orchestra The Hallé on Monday 26 February.
March strides in with the stage adaptation of Awful Auntie – another classic from David Walliams. When Stella visits London she has no idea her life is in real danger. Waking up three months later only Aunt Alberta can tell her what has happened. Awful Auntie runs from Tuesday 27 February to Saturday 3 March.
The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is back with their multi award-winning production The Play That Goes Wrong from Tuesday 6 to Saturday 10 March. Hailed a ‘gut-busting hit’ by the New York Times, Mischief Theatre’s sell-out West End comedy is now taking Broadway by storm. Don’t miss this brilliantly funny comedy that’s guaranteed to leave you aching with laughter.
Following recent productions of To Sir, With Love, Brassed Off, A View From The Bridge, Brave New World and Of Mice and Men, The Touring Consortium Theatre Company presents Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 March. Phil Daniels (Les Miserables, This House, EastEnders) stars in the title role in a story of human nature, love and the power of pure evil.
On Monday 19 March the world’s official number one Eagles tribute Illegal Eagles returns for another outstanding show promising more of their trademark musical prowess, acute attention to detail and incredible showmanship followed on Tuesday 20 March by a night of comedy with Stewart Lee with his stand-up show Content Provider, his first full-length show since the award-winning Carpet Remnant World.
Ellen Kent returns with Madama Butterfly on Wednesday 21 March and the smash-hit 70s band Smokie will raise the roof on Thursday 22 March. For the younger theatre fans Peppa Pig has a wonderful adventure on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 March. The opening season draws to a close as Middleground Theatre Company bring the Ruth Rendell classic Gallowglass to the stage from Tuesday 27 to Saturday 31 March.
Tickets for the Darlington Hippodrome opening season are on sale now; brochures are available from our Cornmill box office and in venues across the region.
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.
The Hullabaloo will open on Monday 11th December with Theatre Hullabaloo’s celebrated Christmas show for 4-7 year olds, Bear & Butterfly, pictured here, and tickets are now on sale at www.theatrehullabaloo.org.uk or via the box office on 01325 405 405 for performances up to and including New Year’s Eve.

Gardening and environmental groups
juniper 001

Darlington Amateur Gardening Club,
The next meeting is on Wednesday 15th March. Speaker Mick McQuade will talk about Using Your Greenhouse. They meet 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.

Group meets
The Campaign to Protect Rural England, CPRE Darlington meet 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.

History walks

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 http://www.sdr1825.co.uk/
Or at their Facebook page; where notice of regular meetings and events can be found. https://www.facebook.com/groups/304912612980375/. The Friends hold a regular monthly meeting on the first Thursday of the month, 7:10 pm, usually at Darlington Cricket Club, Feethams. Email info@sdr1825.co.uk for information.

Outside Darlington
Darlington artist Pam Bassington is delighted to be showing her work in the stunning space of Hartlepool Art Gallery over the festive period.
Pam Bassington gained a First Class Honours degree in Contemporary Fine Art in 2012. She has exhibited in Cork Street and had her digital image projected onto various buildings in London, as a successful entrant in the ‘Kill Your Darlings’ competition, a promotion for the Ginsberg film starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Pam makes medium to large pots using coils, preferring an organic and, often, less than symmetrical look. The clay tends to dictate where it wants to go, so, mostly, Pam lets it.
All pots are fired to stoneware and are suitable for outdoor or indoor use.

Art exhibition