Stay at Home Stories

Have you ever fancied making a short film? Or are you trying to find a fun way to keep your family entertained?

Creative Darlington and Undivided Pictures are looking for short films featuring ‘Lockdown’ as the theme to enter our competition, with the winner to receive £100 worth of vouchers to Darlington Hippodrome. 

As long as you stick to government guidelines then you can be as creative as you want. We’d love to see a mixture of drama, comedy, dance, song or anything that you think will be entertaining. Please ensure the films are under four minutes and include a maximum of four characters.

The competition was created by Susie Potter and Dalton Deverell whose creative roots both started in Darlington.

“We think now is the perfect time for people to flex their creative muscles and we’re excited to see the entries”

“Short films can make a welcome break to your everyday and we’re hoping people enjoy the experience of creating the content”

They might be shot on your phone, or laptop using one of the group apps like Zoom, whatever you think works best for your film. We’re looking for zero budget masterpieces so please check with whoever pays the bill if you’re using someone else account. Don’t worry too much about the editing- just send us your finished version and we can always spruce it up a bit in post production! We recommend using WeTransfer to send your film, as it’s free and will allow you to send over a bigger file.

We have a panel of judges who will whittle the entries down to the top 5 and then it will be put to a public vote.

Questions and entries to be sent to

This call out is open to those who live or work in Darlington

Submit your films from 6th May.

Open call closes 12 noon Friday 22nd May 2020.

Darlo@Home Programme Extended

Tracks​ in partnership with ​Creative Darlington ​and​ Darlington Borough Council ​are pleased to announce an additional series of live streamed gigs, bringing a further selection of regional artists to your home in this time of national lockdown.

With measures being extended we felt it was important to carry forward our series of live stream gigs so the people of Darlington and beyond can continue filling their housebound calendars with events to look forward to and enjoy, whilst also helping to keep artists’ platforms of expression alive.

After Nadedja’s already scheduled performance on Friday 24th, the second run of Facebook live stream sessions welcomes Claire Tustin from Lullaboogaloo to perform a special family gig on Saturday 25th for BIG Little Gigs, with the weekend run being completed by local favourite Chris Davison on Sunday 26th.

The next set of three kicks off on Thursday 30th with George Boomsma, Caitlin Morrow the day after, and the whole series is rounded off on Saturday 2nd with another Silly Song Singalong with BIG Little Gigs’ own Sarah Wilson at 2pm.

“We’d never run any online gigs before these, and we’ve been really pleased with people’s responses. It’s been so nice having that communication between artist and audience. It’s also been great to offer some support to local musicians who are struggling during lockdown”


Friday 24th @ 7pm
Born in the North-East of Brazil but now making the North East of England her home, Nadedja’s beautiful music combines her soulful, soaring vocals with piano and acoustic guitar-infused melodies, showcasing her honest, raw and heartfelt lyrics drawn from her experiences. Her debut single, ‘Fire’, was selected as track of the week on BBC Introducing and has been featured on BBC Sounds podcast, ‘The Next Episode’.

BIG Little Gigs featuring Claire Tustin from Lullaboogaloo

Saturday 25th April @ 2pm

Join Claire as she live streams her songs for small children. Sing along and have a boogie whilst she sings about mini-beasts, dancing animals, grandmas on roller skates and springtime. If you send her a message mid-gig, she might put your favourite animal into a song! Deely boppers, animal onesies and rabbit ears welcome

Chris Davison

Sunday 26th April @ 7pm
Stalwart of the local music scene, multi instrumentalist and band member of Weekend Sun, Astoma and many more, Chris will be performing a mixture of originals with a few covers thrown in for good measure, all powered by his menagerie of electronic augmentations. Send him some love and he may even do a request or two.

George Boomsma

Thursday 30th April @ 7pm

George Boomsma is a progressive folk musician from Northallerton. His effortless vocals and sensitive guitar playing are achingly beautiful and have received national airplay on Radio 1 and BBC 6Music. This will be a beautiful laid back performance, something special to soothe our souls in these uncertain times.

Caitlin Morrow

Friday 1st May @ 7pm
Sweet songs and heartfelt lyrics, Caitlin’s adorable acoustics will have you smiling all stream long, as her delicate voice leads you through some outstanding originals.

BIG Little Gigs: Silly Song Singalong with Sarah Wilson

Saturday 2nd May @ 2pm
Sarah and her trusty ukulele are back with even more silly songs to share with you and your little ones. Grab your shakers and cardboard guitars and join her for songs about friendship, jungles, poems and more!

To access any of the FREE ​darlo@home​ live stream gigs simply tune in to the Tracks Facebook page at the times above, sit back and enjoy!

Our Facebook link:

Open call for artists, creative practitioners and the curious.

The Auxiliary have teamed up with Creative Darlington for our next round of ABODE, an artist-in-own-residence programme. For this project we will be offering five mini-grants of £200, with the hope that it encourages artists to develop new skills and to consider new approaches to their creative practices. 

The open call is simple. Select a free open source programme from the list below, download it, install it and start learning, experimenting, succeeding, failing and creating.   

There is a lot to play with here, whether its creating music in Pure Data, 3D sculptures in Blender, crazy visuals in VVVV or even turning your Skype into something fun with the green screen function of OBS… the possibilities are truly endless. 

At the end of quarantine, we will invite everyone to share the work with The Auxiliary and the wider community. Along the way we will also encourage artists to send in what they are working on and share it online. 

The four programmes to choose from are Blender, VVVV, Pure Data and OBS Studio. 

Blender is a 3D computer graphics software tool-set used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics, interactive 3D applications, and computer games.

VVVV is a general purpose toolkit with a special focus on real-time video synthesis and programming large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video

Pure Data (Pd) is a visual programming language for creating interactive computer music and multimedia works.

Open Broadcast Studio 

OBS Studio is a free and open-source software suite for recording and live streaming. OBS provides real-time source and device capture, scene composition, encoding, recording, and broadcasting.

During this residency, we will host a number of live Q&A sessions with experts in the aforementioned programmes, taking inquiries about the programmes. Even if not successful with receiving a grant the Q&A will be open to the public and we do encourage everyone to explore the above programs as they provide a wealth of exciting possibilities.

Apply By: 28th April, 2020

Open to DL postcodes only.

Single A4 Page Application emailed to 

Please include the following:

1. Artistic Practice Description.

2. Which programme who will work with.

3. Rough idea of the project’s ambition.

4. Links to previous work.

5. Website.

Creative Darlington is a partnership of organisations and stakeholders who share a passion to strengthen and sustain a vibrant cultural offer for Darlington. Our work is focused on arts and heritage and informed by the principles that the culture should be available to everyone, bring people together and champion inclusion and social cohesion. We value excellence, by which we mean striving to be the best of which we are collectively capable and finding ingenious ways to take things forward. 

To find out more about Creative Darlington see

blimey! Lucretia Documentary Film

Creative Darlington have worked in partnership with long standing Darlington based, all female artist collective blimey! to further explore their collective practice and create work which considers themes presented in Guido Reni’s baroque painting ‘The Death of Lucretia’.

More information about the project, exhibition and artists can be found here

Unfortunately the current exhibition at The Bowes Museum is not currently accessible due to Covid-19, but you can still watch the project documentary film to further understand the context and the artists’ responses to this.

The film and photography featured within the blimey! Lucretia exhibition at The Bowes Museum document the Piercing Lucretia events. This series of events took place in a number of venues and engaged with various audiences. These included the opening night of the Guido Reni – The Power and The Virtue exhibition at The Bowes Museum which launched the project, Crown Street Art Gallery at Crown Street Library, Darlington and Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington.

The project included collaborative events with Lust For Life Drawing, Nasty Women North East and Eliot Smith Dance. A diverse range of participants at each event offered opportunities for a range of creative responses to be made. This included artists, writers, local and international students and the public. Participants and these interactions were recorded to share this creative process.

Click the following link to watch the documentary film.

Film & Photography Credit : Joanne Coates

Keep an ear out, enjoy great music at home

Tracks​ in partnership with ​Creative Darlington and Darlington Borough Council ​are pleased to announce a series of live streamed gigs, bringing a fine selection of regional artists to your home in this time of national lockdown.

We’re excited to welcome Anna Leigh Stainton, Jamie Farrell and Nadedja plus a special BIG Little Gigs Silly Singalong Session, all of which will be beamed straight to your screens via Facebook live over the next three weeks. Send them your heart & applause emoji, or pop in your song requests for the full virtual gig experience, right from your living room!

Rob Irish of Tracks commented:

“Staying connected has never been so difficult, and so important.
Locked away in our homes, it can be easy to lose our connection to the outside world, and to each other. It’s especially tough for artists, whose livelihoods have been swept suddenly from beneath their feet. Hosting gigs like these is a really great way of supporting them, keeping audience interaction alive, and giving gig-goers a little piece of live music experience they’re missing at the moment.

We want these gigs to feel personal, like the next best thing to having the artist right there with you, so comment, chat, applaud, and fill our virtual venue with the buzz of social connection.”

To access any of our FREE ​darlo@home​ live stream gigs simply tune in to Tracks Facebook page at the following times, sit back and enjoy!

FRIDAY 10/04 @ 7PM: Anna Leigh Stainton
SATURDAY 11/04 @ 2PM: BIG Little Gigs “Silly Song Singalong” FRIDAY 17/04 @ 7PM: Jamie Farrell
FRIDAY 24/04 @ 7PM: Nadedja

Find further information on

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.