Falling on Your Feet

Helix Arts Falling on Your Feet is our dance and health programme with people aged 65+ who are living independently. We are currently working with talented dance artists in communities across the North East. Regular workshops lead to high quality co-choreographed pieces which can wow local audiences. Participants have fun, get fitter and make new friends!

Helix Arts Falling on your Feet has been awarded 3 years’ investment from Dunhill Medical Trust and The Henry Smith Charity.

In Darlington, Falling on your Feet will run every Wednesday and Friday 10.00-11.30am, from Wednesday 21st February and Friday 23rd February 2018, for ten weeks. (Some dates will be missed due to Easter Holidays)

We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Landscape Partnership, River Tees Rediscovered. The sessions will lead towards a relaxed sharing of a co-choreographed performance work based around the theme of the River Tees and the heritage of the area.

If you would like to join any of the sessions you can call us on 0191 241 4931, or email foyf@helixarts.com

Photographer Credit Dan Alecks/Locus Productions

Prince’s Trust Enterprise Course for artists in Tees Valley

Anywhere and more

Congratulations to Darlington Hippodrome, ODDMANOUT and all the people who contributed to 30 great performances of Anywhere (5 matinees and 5 evening performances per day no less) at Darlington Hippodrome from Friday 2 February to Sunday 4 February 2018.   Each promenade performance took around 50 minutes to journey around Darlington Hippodrome, but thanks to some fantastic staging, some theatrical magic, amazing energy, and meticulous timekeeping new shows set off every half hour.  With my comfortable shoes, I was part of a happy party of explorers on the second show of Saturday evening.  This came to a close just as another was setting off.  It was great to see smiling people heading off to discover Darlington Hippodrome as a place that can take you anywhere, when I knew my experience had lived up to the billing.


I didn’t count the number of performers, but it appeared tens of talented people from Darlington helped fashion these fantastic shows working with Darlington Hippodrome and ODDMANOUT.  The show began near the ground floor entrance and proceeded to journey around the theatre.  Fish and actors used to be brought to Darlington and travel on the same train and the show began with both heritage and a splash of singing, with people encouraged to join in, and some comical speculation on which may have smelt worst.  A trio of stern top hatted businessmen gave a nice contrast to this Fish Train jollity and this helped to grab my attention to start with.

It was nice to be playfully engaged in Anywhere during my journey round the theatre and to have fun within a party whilst gaining some new insights into its heritage.  The participatory aspects of the show were really well judged (I managed to hide jam tarts, play a tin bucket and brush, dodge some faux snowballs and walk arm in arm with a pantomime dame during Anywhere, but  everyone was encouraged to explore). One of the highlights for me in this respect was the Mad Hatters Tea Party element, where I hope everyone will have felt involved whilst sitting down at the table.  I also liked the snow queen element of Anywhere, which felt like a real change in temperature/out of the bright lights, and helped to communicate the theatre can take you anywhere message.

Various performers took turns in leading the party into different adventures, there were fantastic changes in pace and tone, from three actors battling over the Signor Pepi role in the main theatre to a blissfully and beautifully costumed Cheshire Cat welcoming us to the next floor up.  A variety of Shakespearean,  Alice in Wonderland characters, entertainers, impresarios and virtuoso performers  from different ages, helped create a time travel/anything is possible feeling.   The wonder of language was to the fore, the Shakespearian sections travelled the ocean blown, romantic and backstage mechanics of devising theatre.

I particularly liked a Shakespearian section focused on the rigours of rehearsal set within one of Darlington Hippodrome’s beautiful changing room upstairs, with actors engaging with both their peers and their mobile phones and it was also nice to hear the catchphrases of more recent celebrities given voice and applied to Anywhere.  I was pleased to see participants in Dickens in Darlington working together again on work of this quality and to see different generations working to bring something so original to life.  There was little on the night  I could have imagined,  despite having a reasonable knowledge of the heritage of Darlington Hippodrome, and there were some moments that really helped encourage insight into the life of Signor Pepi and which helped me better understand the mechanics of backstage and joy of theatre.  Anywhere was, in my view, another great chapter in the ongoing Darlington Hippodrome story.

Noisy Daughters

Darlington music collective Tracks http://tracksdarlington.co.uk/are putting on a day which celebrates females in music which we hope will be followed by many more.  Sarah Wilson from Tracks said… ‘It’s vital to give women in music credible, female-led music events nationally and it’s brilliant that we can do this in our hometown of Darlington. We are hoping to inspire the next generation of female musicians whilst giving a platform to the current batch of female artists that are leading the way.”

Noisy Daughters will take place at the fantastic new Hullabaloo on Borough Road in Darlington on Saturday 3rd March 2018 and includes–

A free songwriting workshop for women from 1pm – 3pm delivered by Liz Corney (from The Cornshed Sisters, Field Music), where participants are encouraged to bring their instrument and are offered guidance in all things musical composition. (Places are limited; so booking’s advised using this link: skiddle.com/e/13131591 )

A music panel discussion running 3.30pm – 4.30pm around the topics of issues facing women in the music industry today and what can be done to make a change. Panellists include Rianne Thompson from BBC Tees, Hannah Van Thompson (of the Van T’s), Claire Dupree from Narc Magazine, and Liz Corney (The Cornshed Sisters / Field Music), with Sarah Wilson from Tracks/BIG Little Gigs chairing. The discussion will last an hour with some time allocated for questions from the audience at the end.

A ticketed evening performance (Doors 7pm) by quality female artists in the form of BBC 6 Radio playlisted singer-songwriter Eve Conway, much hyped hip-hop act Leddie MC and energetic electro-pop pioneers Twist Helix. Headlining the night is hotly tipped Scottish 4-piece, The Van T’s whose ‘surf-pop with rock swagger balanced by sugar-pop harmonies’ have gained the attentions of radio DJs and music publications around UK and Europe, leading to appearances at T in the Park & Wickerman Festival as well as support slots with Honeyblood, Sunflower Bean and Rat Boy.

The workshop & panel discussion are free, and tickets for the gig are £6 ADV/£9 OTD (£4 for concessions/NUS holders/unemployed with proof) are available online from Skiddle (www.skiddle.com/e/13131578), or physical tickets can be purchased from The Pennyweight in Darlington.

12 + event (under 16s accompanied by an adult).




Tracks are a not-for-profit organisation and any money raised from ticket sales will go back into funding future Noisy Daughters events.  We hope that the forthcoming Noisy Daughters event is the first of many.

Encountering the Other

Between 2013 and 2016 Creative Darlington supported a variety of organisational development activity led by a number of organisations and enterprises, including Darlington Hippodrome, Darlington for Culture, Humantics CIC, ODDMANOUT and Theatre Hullabaloo. ODDMANOUT a new writing company rooted in Darlington and Creating in the North-East and beyond undertook work around their mission, brand and website and to explore new partnership and opportunities to develop income  http://www.oddmanouttheatre.co.uk/creative-darlington/ .


In 2017 ODDMANOUT led the Encountering the Other programme with the Market Theatre Laboratory as the culmination of an exciting international collaboration between both companies.  This collectively created production was a passionate, riotous and often hilarious examination of just what womanhood in 2017 means. A collection of voices, stories and experiences of young women and men living across two hemispheres were brought together through a fusion of music, dance, comedy, colour and the internet with Encountering the Other performed by young people from South Africa and the North East of England in Johannesburg in October 2017 and at Darlington on 27 November 2017.

Photographs of Encountering the Other dress rehearsal by Scott Akoz  www.scottakoz.com


Creative Darlington supported a programme of engagement activity based in Darlington in the week before the performance on 27 November 2017.  19 education, participation or training sessions were delivered, including work with CLIC and Darlington After Care Team students, north east artists, Teesside University students, Darlington Youth Theatre, Northern Stage Young Company and Darlington Community Chorus.

You can go ANYWHERE at Darlington Hippodrome

Darlington Hippodrome, ODDMANOUT and the Darlington Hippodrome Theatre Company are bringing a series of special promenade performances of Anywhere, to Darlington Hippodrome from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 February 2018, with matinee performances and evening performances each day running for approximately 50 minutes.

Tickets priced £10 adults and under 16s £5 from 01325 405405.

Anywhere is suitable for families and further information is available at https://www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk/whats-on/anywhere/


Beginnings and Endings, an exhibition of textile art by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick

Conversations in Painting

Photo Credit : Julian Lister

At an opening event for the Tell Her Story exhibition in November 2016 I was invited by Sarah Cooney (who had a couple of paintings within that exhibition) and Phil Gatenby to discuss their interest in developing an exhibition focused on painting.  On first impression it sounded like a great idea, an exploration of painting now felt timely.  Sarah, Phil and I met with Vicky Holbrough from Navigator North shortly afterwards to discuss the development of this proposal.  Phil and Sarah, with support from Vicky, developed a fantastic proposal, which secured support from Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts and Darlington Borough Council.   It’s been a privilege to work with creative and determined people who’ve committed their energy, time, enthusiasm, experience and expertise to develop and share this project in Crown Street Library.   


Less than 12 months later I’d estimate we welcomed somewhere between 50 and 70 visitors to the gallery on the evening of Friday 13 October 2017 for the exhibition opening event.  The exhibition includes work by Sarah Cooney, Deb Covell, Gordon Dalton, Philip Gatenby, Remy Neumann and Alicia Paz.   Conversations in Painting proved an apt title that evening given the degree of discourse and the time people spent exploring the exhibition.  One of the artists, Remy had travelled from the Netherlands for the install and opening and it was nice to see people who had travelled down from Tyneside, from across Tees Valley and from further afield enjoying the event.   


Having been to the gallery following the opening I’ve been struck by how subtly and confidently those involved in developing and curating this exhibition have explored the character, substance and language of painting. In my view the exhibition allows space for the nuances and character of each artists work  to be appreciated, while showing the work of six different artists side by side also encouraged me to think about the distinctive characteristics of painting now.  It’s difficult in words to communicate the joy of colours, marks, how the substance of paint differs, how different artists have engaged with time and content and developed their individual practice.  If you can make it down you can enjoy each artists work and the rhythm and  interplay between their pieces when brought together.


Conversations in Painting have planned a number of panel discussions around painting. Their first will take place at Crown Street Gallery.

Conversations in Painting: politics, practice and pedagogy starting 6pm on Thursday 2 November 2017 at Crown Street Library.  Panel speakers are Kerry Harker (Chair and Independent Curator), Stephen Snoddy (Director, The New Art Gallery Walsall), Tony Charles (Artist and Director, Platform A Gallery, Middlesbrough), Alicia Paz (Artist) and Gordon Dalton. 

More at https://www.conversationsinpainting.co.uk/events 

All welcome, booking not required, why not join the conversation.

If you have any proposals for exhibitions please get in touch.

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington Manager

Conversations in Painting: ‘if it fits in the Fiesta you’re in…’ present an exhibition of new and recent paintings



Conversations in Painting: ‘if it fits in the Fiesta you’re in…’ present an exhibition of new and recent paintings at Crown Street Art Gallery, Darlington – Saturday 14th October until Thursday 9th November 2017 – showing work made by a group of practitioners distinctly placed in their personal trajectory who sustain a direct connection with the Tees Valley. A collaboration of emerging, established, national and international artists whose collective expertise represents a diverse range of interpretive approaches. Artists commissioned to make work for this show are: Sarah COONEY, Deb COVELL, Gordon DALTON, Philip GATENBY, Neil McNALLY, Remy NEUMANN and Alicia PAZ. This project seeks to understand more about how visual arts culture operates in the Tees Valley, especially so through its focus on painting. Conversations in Painting… is an artist led project initiated by Sarah Cooney and Philip Gatenby in partnership with the independent curator Kerry Harker, a co-curated selective review of non-representational approaches to fine art practice.

The exhibition is set in the conventions of the white box gallery as a ‘performance space’ for shared conversational dialogue between participant artists and the public. Public events and workshops scheduled throughout the duration of the gallery show will host visitors, guest practitioners, curators, writers, students and invested members of the public as co-participants in panel discussions and seminar groups including the opportunity to participate in artist led painting workshops.

Documentary notes and recordings of conversational dialogue at these sessions are regarded as essential reference for inclusion in the project catalogue published at the end of the project to advocate the further progress of painting in the Tees Valley. Real time activities taking place throughout the public exhibition will be shared via a dedicated project website, incorporating documented critical writing, co-participant notes and recordings disseminated through the project blog and by partner organisations.

This artist led project appreciates the support of key funders: Arts Council England (GfA Award) and Darlington Borough Council, and partner support from: Creative Darlington, Navigator North, Platform A Gallery, The House of Blah, Blah and The Auxiliary.


Further information can be found on the project website www.conversationsinpainting.co.uk

Announcing blimey X Artist Call Out

blimey! are inviting artists to submit a postcard sized 2D artwork to celebrate the 10th year of the Darlington based artist collective in 2017.

All suitable submitted artworks will be shown in a two day exhibition in July in Darlington town centre as part of our events to mark our 10th birthday. 10 artworks will be selected to be reproduced and printed as commemorative postcards which will be available during the exhibition.

As part of this opportunity two prizes of £500 each will be awarded for two selected artworks, one selected by the blimey! collective and the other by a public vote.

Artists can submit up to 3 artworks including; painting, photography, digital art, textiles, collage etc… All artworks should be 2D and A6 measuring 105 × 148 mm or 4.13 × 5.83 inches. There is no charge to submit artwork to this exhibition.

Download our further information and submission form – blimey X Postcard exhibition submission form