blimey! Lucretia Exhibition

An exhibition which aims to spark conversation around the representation of women in our changing world opens on the same weekend as International Women’s Day at The Bowes Museum.

blimey! Lucretia looks at the way women have been portrayed in both classical and contemporary culture, using The Bowes Museum’s recent exhibition The Power and The Virtue: Guido Reni’s Death of Lucretia as the catalyst.

The blimey! collective, a group of female-led Darlington based artists, used the focal point of that exhibition, the painting of The Death of Lucretia, as a tool to open the debate about  the representation of women in art and the story of Lucretia.

In a series of ‘Piercing Lucretia’ sessions people of all genders were invited to express their response to the painting by sewing on a miniature textile image of it, while seated at Lucretia’s table, reminiscent of the pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.

It is these patches, which number approximately 500, along with Lucretia’s table, that will make up the central point of the immersive installation, as they are displayed sewn onto denim jackets worn by dozens of mannequins, which visitors will be able to walk around and amongst. 

The blimey! collective chose the act of sewing as the method for making the responses as in the story of Lucretia, she was raped after being seen to be virtuous by not leaving her weaving to gossip with her friends.  The cloth patches symbolise a sense of community and utilise a counter culture embellishment that signifies identity, personality and solidarity.

The artists who make up the blimey! collective are Carol Sommer, Amanda Marshall, Nicola Golightly and Vicky Holbrough.

Funded by Arts Council England and supported by Creative Darlington, the exhibition will be open from 7 March until 10 May.

A thought provoking series of events and talks has been scheduled to take place throughout the exhibition.

On Saturday 14 March there’s a free drop in event at Crown Street Art Gallery in Crown Street Library in Darlington from 6pm to 8pm, where you can join the blimey! collective to hear from the artist themselves about how the experience has shaped both their collective and individual creative practice. There will also a screening of the project film, which documented the Piercing Lucretia events.

The blimey! artists will be giving an insight into the project and sharing their thoughts on the work and being part of a collective in Gallery Talks in The Bowes Museum on Wednesday 8 April and Wednesday 15April from 2.15pm to 2.30pm.  These are free with admission to the Museum.

Saturday 25 April sees the Museum host a symposium from 10am until 3.30pm with a  fascinating interactive day of talks, performance, workshops, film screenings and a discussion panel which will focus on the themes of the blimey! Lucretiaproject: representation and engagement. It’ll also look at how our relationship to art in the museum setting.

Vicky Holbrough said: “We’re thrilled with the response that the project received at the ‘Piercing Lucretia’ sessions and we’re looking forward to people seeing these works alongside the painting that inspired them.”

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington Manager, said: “It’s been fantastic to support the work of the blimey! collective and to see this grow from the responses people had to the painting of Lucretia, to become an exhibition is exhilarating.”

Dr Jane Whittaker, Head of Collections at The Bowes Museum, added:Our Founders were dedicated to sharing art with everyone, so it’s fantastic that the Museum is continuing this vision through partnerships like this one with the blimey! collective. The Power and the Virtue exhibition, focusing on the Museum’s painting of The Death of Lucretia, attributed to Guido Reni, featured their interactive blimey! Lucretia project, the result of which is shared in this thoughtful exhibition.”

blimey! Lucretia is open from 7 March until Sunday 10 May.

The Bowes Museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day. Entry to Café Bowes and the shop is free.  For more information on our exhibitions and events programme please see our website:

Fun and fulfillment at The Foundry

Photographer Andy Berriman
Photographer Andy Berriman
Photographer Andy Berriman

ODDMANOUT is a new writing theatre company rooted in Darlington. Darlington Hippodrome, Creative Darlington and Arts Council England helped them pilot The Foundry training programme. Activity ensued, and a year of training with Scott Young, Katy Weir, and a range of professional artists was undertaken. Around 75 people participated in this.

What did people get from the Foundry? Well in the words of three of those who took part:

‘I cannot even begin to tell you just how much I have learnt as part of a team with The Foundry. The course is filled with various choices and aims to help you grow as a performer. I have developed skills that were not around when I was young as an actor and can’t thank both Katy and Scott for all their incredible support and passion for each and every one of us’.

‘The Foundry has been and is a wonderful experience it has helped me hugely with confidence and trying things I probably never would have done or perhaps not with as much confidence and energy before hand.
There are so many different things to try and with all the different techniques you work through it really shines a light on your own acting skills and gives you new tools to use. Katy and Scott have been brilliant and the whole group have been so wonderful and extremely supportive of each other. Fabulous experience’.  

‘The Foundry has given me the support and encouragement to try new things and feel confident to do so. The group have become a company who believe in each other, support each other and want all to take risks and aim high. Katy and Scott have challenged us to develop beyond where we thought possible and have done so in a fun way. I personally run to the group on a Tuesday as it gives me an enormous sense of well-being and belonging’.

Saturday 29 February 2020, 10am – 4pm, Wool Fair in Darlington Town Centre

Darlington Market is partnering with local artist Becky Sunter from the Weaving Rooms to facilitate a new Wool Fair in the North East. Darlington wool expert Becky has been running the Weaving Rooms in town since 2017 and has been spinning her magic for over 20 years. Specialising in weaving, dying and spinning techniques to celebrate wool she creates wearable pieces and exhibits her work at events nationwide.

The market is organising Darlington’s first Wool Fair with Becky to showcase these traditional skills to new audiences. There will be drop-in activities to learn and have a go at felting, spinning, weaving and many other wool crafts. Darlington for Culture have supported the event with a small grant £500 to enable the fair to host artist workshop and activity, this offers people an opportunity to learn and find out about how to be creative with wool.

Weaving, spinning and knitting are all crafts that offer opportunities to work with small groups or individually, a great community of knitters to meet.

Becky Sunter said “It is fantastic that Darlington Market have helped organise this new wool event. To have the ability to show people of Darlington what I create and share my passion of these traditional skills alongside other like-minded artists and experts is inspiring.”

These crafts can reduce stress levels through immersive engagement with projects, interaction as part of small groups who can work whilst chatting to others – sharing knowledge, talking to each other and building friendships. It has been noted that knitting and crocheting can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Unlike meditation, craft activities result in tangible and often useful products that can boost self-esteem.

The fair has attracted high-end and renowned traders from across the country to the new event, with lots of exciting skills, equipment, materials and artworks/pieces on offer. Visitors will be welcomed to the free fair and will have the chance to meet local artists and find out more about the benefits of this natural fibre.

Event Manager, Alex Nicholson explains “Darlington Market aims to bring new and exciting events and markets to the town centre, we are looking to offer visitors new experiences whilst supporting locally based creatives. These events also support our independent traders, by opening the market hall to new visitors that may not have been into the market hall for a while. A market is a great platform for people to start small and develop into thriving businesses.”

Wool Fair in Darlington Town Centre

Saturday 29th February 2020 10am -4pm

If you would be interested in being part of the event, email Alex at:

New In Town update

Late last year we promoted the New In Town call out, which attracted fourteen fantastic proposals from different parties, artists, producers, creative enterprises and organisations. Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal, the standard was very high, and sadly we couldn’t support them all.

I met with colleagues from Darlington Borough Council and we agreed to offer support to four proposals, subject to their securing additional budget from other sources. New In Town aims to support the development of original activity and the development of creative organisations and programmes which will be shared in Darlington Town Centre.

We have offered to support four proposals in total, and look forward to working with:

  • Bordello Theatre
  • Cabinet of Curiosity Studio
  • Making it Happen

We’ve allocated support to those above who requested it so they can develop their proposals and we expect to share news of their success in securing additional funds from other parties to help them take their proposals forward shortly. Some New In Town programme will be shared in 2020/21 and some in 2021/22.

The New In Town call out has started conversations with people with whom we haven’t engaged previously, and we expect further creative projects will be developed in the Town Centre, with support from Creative Darlington, in the coming years…… and lots of creative things are happening across Darlington which haven’t required or requested any Creative Darlington budget.

Brilliant banner’s back on the rails

Some time ago Creative Darlington selected five artist’s work to display to brighten the day of those visiting or passing alongside Darlington Library through a Crown Street Call Out.

On my way into work earlier this year I noticed one of banners we created as a result, using Stuart Langley’s brilliant image, Neon and Glass, 2018, had gone AWOL. There was no evidence of malicious damage and no cable ties lying around, a mystery.

We hope these images have added colour and creativity to peoples pavement promenades and have consequently replaced the banner.

We plan to promote another Crown Street Call out shortly, and aim to share the work of fantastic artists with people out and about in Darlington.

‘Rose and Robin’ returns to Darlington Library on Saturday 15th February 2020

Last year Mad Alice Theatre Company performed ‘Rose and Robin’, a fantastic 50 minute theatre performance for all ages, in the gallery at Darlington Library to great applause. The show was so well received we’re welcoming it back, with a spring performance at Darlington Library on Saturday 15th February 2020 beginning 2pm at Darlington Library, with tickets priced £1.50. 

Further information and tickets are available at .   

‘Rose and Robin’ is accessible across a wide age range but targeted for ages 7 years to 70 years and runs for approximately 50 minutes.  Tickets for the November 2019 performance at Darlington Library sold fast so early booking is recommended!  Creative Darlington has supported a number of dance, music and theatre performances in the gallery at Darlington Library, and we’re delighted that Mad Alice Theatre Company are returning to Darlington with ‘Rose and Robin’ this February.

Hark! Words and music made magic in Darlington Library

Creative Darlington has supported many fantastic groups and artists in breaking down barriers between different art forms and exploring connections and commonalities between literature, poetry and live music, literature, the library function and visual arts.  

Creative Darlington backed Tracks in bringing their first Hark! event to Darlington Library in November 2019, and  I was delighted to see so many people enraptured in a fantastically original, refreshing, enjoyable, dynamic and captivating evening’ and finish with something like – ‘We understand Tracks are working on delivering many more fantastic programmes in 2020, and we look forward to hearing more in the coming year

Find out more about the programme here

Volunteer with Theatre Hullabaloo

Volunteer with Theatre Hullabaloo

Theatre Hullabaloo is looking for a small pool of volunteers to support our programme at The Hullabaloo across the year.

As a volunteer you will be working alongside families that visit The Hullabaloo, enhancing their experience while they are with us by supporting them in activities and giving a friendly welcome as they arrive. This has a great impact on audiences and is a great support for our organisation as without volunteer support, we often wouldn’t be able to run activities in the building.

If you have an interest in culture and working with families and small children then this could be for you.

Deadline: 12pm noon on Thursday 9 January 2020

To Apply: Please read the information pack below and then click here to complete the application form 

For more information click on the link: 

Rose and Robin, a show for young and old returns to Darlington Library on Saturday 15 February 2020

Rose and Robin, Mad Alice Theatre Company
Photographer – Jamie Sproates

MAD ALICE THEATRE COMPANY presents ROSE AND ROBIN commissioned by Queen’s Hall Arts

Mad Alice Theatre Company brought Rose and Robin to Darlington Library in October 2019 and wowed audiences here.  Their fantastic performance  thrilled people of all ages and has attracted fantastic comments, ”amazing, loved every minute…such talent and content, thank you”.  Rose and Robin is returns to Darlington Library on Saturday 15 February 2020, with tickets priced £1.50.  Doors open 1.30pm, the performance starts at 2pm with a running time of c 50 minutes.

From childhood to old age, Rose and Robin have had a wonderful life together – and they want to share it with YOU!

From sports to stargazing, they’ve enjoyed so much! And most of all, they loved to dance.

They’ve had their bumps in the road, of course, and now Robin can’t remember where they keep the clothes pegs. But that’s all fine, at the end of the day!

Playful and serious, sad and happy, this is a show that celebrates life in all its richness; a story of love and loss, for old and young… especially if you are over seven and have ever lost a sock… Or someone you love.

So, join Rose and Robin through their days of dances and dreams, music and memories. What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a bit… but don’t worry. You’ll be helping them with some of the moves!

A perfect play for children to enjoy with their grandparents and parents – they were kids once as well!


Accessible across a wide age range but targeted for ages 7yrs to 70yrs and over!

Running time: 50 mins approx.

Arts Award Adviser Training dates for the North East