Looking forward to Middlesbrough Art Weekender

I’m looking forward to Middlesbrough Art Weekender running 4 – 7 October 2018 and thanks to The Auxiliary and Lydia Catterall for an event in Darlington Markets on Saturday 4 August 2018 which attracted artists from Darlington, Tees Valley and the region.   People came together for discussion, to share ideas and thinking around the visual arts and enjoyed some of the great produce available in the Market Hall.   The Auxiliary have been developing programme across the Tees Valley from their Stockton base, including international residencies and exchanges, and it was great to see blimey! and Navigator North contributing to the event in the Market Hall.


Professional performances come to community venues in Darlington

About on Tour

Rural Arts ON Tour was established in 1999 and is the nationally recognised rural touring scheme for North Yorkshire and East Cleveland. Each year 60+ performances take place in village halls and community centres over 2,500 square miles. The ON Tour team support community volunteers to book and promote performances in their village. –


ON Tour brings high quality professional theatre, comedy, music, dance and children’s shows to venues in rural settings. Our diverse programme includes international, nationally acclaimed and emerging companies. Previously, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Farnham Maltings have all toured as part of ON Tour. In autumn 2018 and spring 2019 we will be bringing high quality performances to rural venues including…Paines Plough, Dick Whittington ( Pantomime), Tangram Theatre, Odd Doll and Fuel Theatre.

Who We Work With

ON Tour’s ethos is to turn village halls and community centres into theatre venues for an evening. This is only possible through our network of 300 volunteers, who are committed to bringing performances to their community. Anyone can be a Rural Arts’ promoter, you just need enthusiasm and the support of your local community.


The Reading Room Neasham case study

 The Reading Room, built in 1902, is a small village hall and community facility in Neasham, which has successfully hosted a range of different community events for over a century. This has included performances by local musicians and amateur dramatics, including of course ‘the village pantomime.’ However professional performing arts had never been part of the events offer.


The idea to venture into Rural Arts was introduced by Tina Murray, a Reading Room Committee Member and former Treasurer who together with her husband, both keen cyclists, attended the Forum in Northallerton to see ‘Beryl’ a play by Maxine Peake about Britain’s greatest female cyclist Beryl Burton.  In Tina’s own words ‘I was absolutely wowed by the high quality of the production, especially in such a small town venue, so I decided to look into whether something similar might work in Neasham.’   


The proposal to register the Reading Room as a promotor with Rural Arts, with a view to hosting a show was put to the committee who agreed to give it a go. The wheels were set in motion and the first performance – ‘No Petticoats Here’ by Louise Jordan in November 2016 was a great success. Further performances followed with ‘Police Cops’ by The Pretend Men in March 2017; Wolves are coming for You’ by the Pentabus Theatre in October 2017 and most recently Burden of Paradise’ with Snake Davis on May 12 this year. Hosting a Rural Arts performance is both accessible and affordable providing a diverse range of events for the community and for all age groups. It is easy to select and to host a show with the added benefit that tickets can be sold through the Rural Arts website, as well as local sales. The success of Rural Arts in Neasham has enabled the Reading Room to obtain funding for a mobile stage, opening up future opportunities, as well as utilising a community asset to ensure it is sustainable for future generations.   


Lesley Blundell, Chair of the Reading Room says ‘I would certainly recommend Rural Arts, the performances that we have hosted have all been very different, but each has been of exceptional quality. I recall feedback from an audience member who came last year to see Police Cops (previously part of the Edinburgh Fringe) and her comment was – ‘What a great night – The Fringe has come to Neasham.’ And that really sums it up – high quality performing arts on your doorstep. Go for it.‘


On Tour in Darlington

We currently have six villages registered on the ON Tour scheme in Darlington, they are… Bishopton, Heighington, Sadberge, Neasham, Middleton and Croft. We would love to welcome new villages in the area or surrounding areas to ON Tour. We also have several villages registered in Hartlepool, Stockton On Tees and Redcar and Cleveland but would like to expand our reach further.


Get involved

If you or your community are interested in getting involved with putting on professional performances in your community please get in touch with Jo from Rural Arts: jo@ruralarts.org or phone: 01845 526536


‘Tonight’s show. That’s why I’m an actor. That’s what theatre is. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself on stage as much as this evening. Proper good’.

 ( Quote from one of the actors from Box Of Tricks productions ‘Chip Shop Chips’ after performing at Hart Village Hall).

Celebration of the Centenary of Votes for Women

‘The Darlington and District National Council of Women’s event to celebrate the Centenary of Votes for Women, held at the Hullabaloo on Monday 21s May was a great success. The idea behind the event was to celebrate the Centenary but also to engage, empower and enthuse young people to get involved in democracy.   150 people of all ages and groups from across the town met to hear Chris Lloyd from The Northern Echo give a fascinating talk about the Suffragists from Darlington.  This was followed by a Question and Answer session led by Julia Breen from The Northern Echo and engaging with Jenny Raw from the National Council of Young Women, Jess Halliday from the Youth Parliament and Joss Mitchell, a pupil from Polam Hall School who very kindly stood in at the last minute and did a brilliant job.

In the afternoon we were joined by Reid Street and Corporation Road Schools who took part in craft and poetry workshops while the main audience listened to readings from the Vane Women and spent an amazing hour with Meridith Towne the Dressmaker and Costume Historian who transported us back in time to 1918.

Many organisations brought information to the day such as The Head of Steam Museum, the Soroptomists and Darlington Culture Volunteers as well as the Elections Officer to whose aim was to engage with young people.   Hayley McKay treated us to some lovely music over lunchtime and everyone enjoyed making Suffragette Crafts with Yvonne Preston from Scrapstudio Art.

All in all a great day where everyone learnt something new, made new friends and were hopefully inspired to vote


Book signing for Cold Bath Street by bestselling author A J Hartley

About the event:

Are you afraid of ghosts?


For your chance to win simply bring the flyer (attached in this email) to this special event:

Book signing in Waterstones Darlington

Thursday 12th July

10am – 12pm

Cold Bath Street is a ghost thriller set in the North of England!

Not even the dead are safe…

UCLan Publishing is a non-profit organization.

If you like to know more about the work we are doing please visit www.uclanpublishing.com and feel free to reply to this email with any questions.


Creative Fuse : Sector Update

Summer Fair at The Bridge, Sat 14 July 2018

This year’s Summer Fair at The Bridge will be held on Saturday 14th July.

If you’d like a stall to promote/sell your work or to advertise your course please get in touch with the bridge info@thebridgedarlington.org.uk

Saturday, 14 July 2018
11:00am (tbc) – 4:00pm

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts
Yarm Road,


Artist Brief, Heritage on Track

Tees Valley Arts, in collaboration with Creative Darlington and Groundwork NE & Cumbria, wish to commission an artist or group of artists to undertake a commission as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Great Place – Tees Valley initiative. The opportunity is open to artists working across any platform, including visual arts and performing arts and should respond to the themes identified below. The site for the work will be along the track bed of the original Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world’s first passenger railway, the bicentenary of which is to be celebrated in 2025. We envisage interventions along a 5-mile length of track bed in Darlington Borough, either physical, virtual or through performance.

The project will last for a total 18 months, between September 2018 and March 2020 and should be predicated on structured community involvement, particularly through local school, in the shaping of the final work to reflect the site’s railway heritage. Support will be offered by Groundwork NE & Cumbria and Tees Valley Arts in reaching local communities. Support will be offered through the project steering group in accessing information regarding the history of the railway, including through the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway.

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Opera Nova presents…

Please click here for further information

Creative Fuse NE Events and Opportunities

Creative Fuse North East (CFNE) provides opportunities for registered freelancers/sole traders, micro businesses and SMEs from the cultural sector across the region to benefit from a wide range of innovation support delivered by the region’s five universities and in partnership with the Creative, Digital and IT sector.

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Noisy Daughters – a great success

I attended an afternoon discussion event and the evening Noisy Daughters concert on Saturday 3 March 2018 and found both engaging, enjoyable and interesting. It’s great to see activity like this, programmed by tracksdarlington.co.uk/ happening here.

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