Darlington Jazz Festival Returns for an Eighth Year

Darlington Jazz Festival Returns for an Eighth Year

Darlington Jazz Festival makes its return for the eighth year this May and organisers have been working in partnership with Darlington Food and Drink Festival to ensure that the bank holiday weekend offers something for everyone.

The jazz festival kicks off on Friday 3 rd May with an ‘After Dark’ Session which once again will be located upstairs at The Voodoo Cafe on Skinnergate. The charismatic Darlington born- London based trumpeter and composer Matt Roberts, who has recently wowed crowds at
sold out gigs with his BigISH Band at the London Jazz Festival and Ronnie Scott’s, will lead his very own sextet playing the music of Blue Mitchell. This gig was a sell out last year, so get there early and take in the jazz lounge atmosphere of the Voodoo Café, before experiencing top class performers pushing jazz to the limit!

Saturday will see local talented musicians playing in various ensembles as they converge on the Joseph Pease performance area to provide an outdoor festival atmosphere. The Northern Monkey Brass Band will be on hand to bring a flavour of New Orleans groove to the proceedings.

Friends of the festival Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club are meeting during the festival at St Augustine’s Parish Hall on Saturday afternoon where the New Century Orchestra are joined by special guests’ trumpeter Enrico Tomasso and drummer Nick Ward. Five times winner of
a British Jazz award, Enrico is considered to be one of the country’s top jazz trumpeters.

Jazz at The Quaker House during the afternoon will feature top class North-East jazz combos including the Josh Arcoleo Quartet, the Milne Glendinning Band and Not Now Charlie. It’s free to enter and the atmosphere is always amazing.

On the evening of Saturday 4 th May, the festival moves into Darlington Market Square for its headline event. Leading drummer Sebastiaan de Krom brings his quintet to the festival marquee for a night that is not to be missed. Sebastiaan graduated with a dual degree from Berklee College of Music and went on to study a Masters degree at New England Conservatory. In 1995 he won the prestigious Buddy Rich award and from 1997 to 1999 was the drummer for the renowned Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Performance Programme. Sebastiaan has performed with artists such as Herbie Hancock and John Scofield, and played regular sessions for Jamie Cullum from 2001 to 2008. The Sebastiaan de Krom Quintet features names well known on the National jazz scene including Martin Shaw (Trumpet), Brandon Allen (Saxophones), Gareth Williams (Piano) and Steve Watts (Bass).

On Sunday morning festival goers can enjoy a relaxed brunch at Hash Bar to the gentle sounds of Gypsy Jazz with Emma Fisk and Dave Harris and Strings Attached. Sunday will once again see various ensembles including the best of Darlington’s young musicians converging on the Joseph Pease performance area to provide an outdoor festival atmosphere.

St Cuthbert’s Church provides the venue for Sunday afternoon’s activities with music from Triptych and Darlington choirs with guest Aga Serugo-Lugo. Paul Edis’s Triptych Trio brings a diverse repertoire and extensive experience to create new interpretations of old standards alongside new compositions, often with a subtle rhythmic twist. Their melodic, lyrical style
will be ideally suited to the venue’s atmosphere. As a clarinettist, saxophonist and singer, Aga Serugo-Lugo has had the opportunity to explore many different styles including classical, jazz, soul, and funk. Professionally, his style of choice is jazz, which Aga has played
across London with an eclectic mix of groups. Aga has done much work with Sing-up, the national singing strategy, allowing him to work with a variety of age groups and diverse levels of ability.

The Festival concludes on Sunday Night with a grand finale and party atmosphere as the Durham Alumni Big Band welcome you to go back in time and celebrate those who were “Born in the 1980’s”. Matt Roberts directs the DA Big Band in a fun nostalgic gig featuring popular themes from his childhood. The Durham Alumni Big Band was formed in 2007 and
features top musicians from the North-East and surrounding regions. Former winners of the Great North Big Band Festival they have worked with top jazz artists including Al Wood, Dave O’Higgins, Dennis Rollins, Mark Nightingale, Julian Siegel and many more.

Shaune Eland, Darlington Jazz Festival organiser, said:
‘The enjoyment of the festival has grown year on year for performers and audiences alike, and we hope that this year will be no different. We’re excited that we have been able to team up with Darlington Food and Drink Festival and offer something special to suit all tastes.’

Darlington Jazz Festival runs from Friday 3 rd May to Sunday 5 th May 2019. Full details of the festival line up and ticket information can be found
at http://www.darlingtonjazzfestival.co.uk/

Darlington Food & Drink Festival runs from Friday 3rd to Monday 6th May 2019. Full details of the festival line up and events over the Bank holiday can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1120122881474278/

Local History Month – May 2019 programme

A fabulous programme of exhibitions and events runs from Wednesday 1 to Friday 31 May 2019 .  During Local History Month, amongst a packed programme, printmaker and artist Adrian Moule is leading Trace Lines activity on Saturday 11 May 2019 with a bookable workshop for adults running 9.30am – 11.30am and a drop in session open to all ages running 12 noon – 3pm, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.  Adrian is leading the fantastic Trace Lines programme including activity in Darlington Library and around Darlington.  Sessions held in Darlington Library this March produced some fantastic work and they and those in the Town Centre in April were very popular and stimulated conversation about Darlington.


In Local History Month he will invite participants to creatively explore the Darlington bear in print.  I’m also looking forward to A Talk on Story Collecting and Paper Cutting by Dover Art Prize winning artist Bethan Maddock in the gallery at Darlington Library on Saturday 18 May at 1.30pm.  There will be opportunities to learn more about Bethan’s practice and to share thoughts around the heritage of Darlington.

The full Local History Month programme includes free exhibitions, and a mix of drop in and bookable events, including  great talks.  To book and for more information please call 01325 349630, or visit the Centre for Local Studies, Crown Street Library, Darlington, DL1 1ND or go online at www2.darlington.gov.uk

The Unseen Beautiful

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates

April sees Creative Darlington collaborating with Lens Think to bring a second call out for 2019. This call out will invite you to submit images through Instagram of the ‘Unseen Beautiful’ in and around Darlington.

We are particularly interested in the ’Unseen Beautiful’ to celebrate Darlington, our beautiful surroundings and everyday things that you think showcase our town through a different perspective.

Photo Credit: Joanne Coates

Photographs will be collected through Instagram throughout April. Anyone can log on and get tagging their photographs with @creative_dton and the hashtag #unseenbeautifuldarlo. Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer – we are keen to see your perspective on Darlington and what beauty you see in the everyday aspects of our town.

A Pop Up exhibition at Crown Street Art Gallery will feature the call out photographs, alongside the work of professional photographer and Lens Think founder Joanne Coates.

Photo Credit : Joanne Coates


Sat 18th May until Wed 29th May. (Gallery Opening Times Apply). The exhibition will also be proudly associated with Darlington Arts Festival.


Crown Street Gallery will also play host to three collaborative image making workshops in May. Work alongside artist and graphic designer Nicola Golightly and Photographer Joanne Coates on storytelling using images and words. The chance to create your own story about Darlington! The resulting artwork will grow throughout the lifespan of the exhibition. Workshops will be taking place on the following dates

Wed 22nd May 11am – 2pm

Tue 28th May 11am – 2pm

Wed 29th May 11am – 3pm

Workshops are free to attend, materials will be provided. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


Audiences will have the opportunity to vote (online and in the gallery) for their favourite photograph. The winner will be announced by Stephen Wiper (Creative Darlington Manager) on Wednesday 29th May as part of the Celebration and Closing Event. The winner will receive a day long photography workshop, led by professional photographer and Lens Think founder, Joanne Coates.

Closing Event 5.30pm – 6.30pm Wed 29th May.

This call out is supported by Creative Darlington, in collaboration with Lens Think, Joanne Coates and Nicola Golightly. This project also forms part of the Darlington Arts Festival 2019.

Story Collecting and Paper Cutting – Artist Talk by Bethan Maddocks

A talk by winner of the Dover Prize 2019; artist Bethan Maddocks. The Dover prize is a bursary providing artists with time to think, research, reflect and experiment with new ideas and create work to be premiered in Darlington in 2021.

Bethan is an artist and story collector; her work explores social history and the stories of people and place. She makes large, interactive paper sculpture and works with communities to develop research on themes such as the Newcastle witch-trials, the prehistoric forests of Northumberland and the north’s socialist history. Over the next two years Bethan will explore Darlington’s history, architecture, archives and historical characters to make work embedded with tales of Darlington. The talk will be an opportunity to hear about Bethan’s work whilst participants will also be invited to informally discuss and share stories of people and places of interest that Bethan could explore during her bursary.

Saturday 18 May 2019, doors open 1.15pm, starts 1.30pm, running time 1 hr
Venue: Darlington Library, Crown Street, Darlington, Gallery space
This is a free event, tickets are not required but capacity limited [no age restrictions



Darlington Hippodrome is to team up with ODDMANOUT Theatre Company to create a dynamic new community theatre company called Foundry.

Darlington Hippodrome is to strengthen links with local theatre production company ODDMANOUT to create a dynamic new community theatre company to be called The Foundry.

During the 18 month restoration of the Hippodrome the theatre and ODDMANOUT worked closely together on two major projects alongside performers from the local community creating a full-scale production of the Charles Dickens classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and an immersive theatre experience titled ‘Anywhere’ which took place around the new Hippodrome building taking audiences on a 50 minute tour of the new venue and introducing characters that shaped the history of the theatre.

Following a successful bid to Arts Council England and support from Creative Darlington The Foundry will build upon the desire shown by local performers who were involved in the two previous projects. The Foundry will open it’s doors in 2019 to regional performers to embark on a 36 week programme of professional training and workshops across a range of dynamic contemporary theatre practice developed by ODDMANOUT through it’s work across the globe over the last five years.

Scott Young from ODDMANOUT Theatre Company said “We are thrilled to be working with Darlington Hippodrome to offer a bespoke new training opportunity to local talent at The Foundry. It has always been our ambition to make the company’s work as open and accessible as possible, The Foundry is the next phase of our work in achieving this. We want to be part of emerging artists’ journey as they forge their careers and grow as theatre makers, and to be able to do this in our home town of Darlington is an exciting time in our organisations growth.”

The Foundry will meet on Tuesday evenings at the Hippodrome for three 12 week terms. To find out more about The Foundry and how to get involved please visit the Hippodrome website www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk


The project has been supported by Arts Council, Creative Darlington & Darlington Hippodrome.

New boards, new bulbs, new exhibition

We’ve had an end of year refresh of the Crown Street Art Gallery space at Darlington Library following a successful year. Creative Darlington programmed 7 exhibitions between 31 March 2018 and 18 March 2019 securing 19,969 visits, an increase on 18,219 visits secured for 7 exhibitions in 2017/18.   Group exhibitions by the Community Arts Project, Darlington Society of Arts and Gilkes Street Artists and solo exhibitions by Alison Hill and Stephen Bainbridge were shared in 2018/19 alongside an exhibition of work from the Borough Art Collection this spring.

In late March and early April 2019 we have fitted new bulbs and boards in the gallery and repainted the exhibition space, to make sure all the brilliant exhibitions available are shared in great space.  Expert technicians Ian and Bobb fitted and painted new boards Monday to Thursday and a brilliant new exhibition was installed on Friday, the first of 11 planned exhibitions or short programmes of activity in 2019/20.   

Beyond Graduation, is on display at Crown Street Art Gallery until Thursday 16 May 2019 with more information at https://www.darlington.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/creative-darlington/crown-street-art-gallery/current-and-upcoming-exhibitions/ 

This is followed by the Unseen Beautiful in May http://creativedarlington.org.uk/the-unseen-beautiful/ , for which there is a current call out.

There’s lots of great activity all over Darlington in the coming months, including additional events in the gallery during Darlington Arts Festival 2019.  Darlington Arts Festival 2019 is themed ‘Follow Your Art’ and further details are available at http://www.darlingtonforculture.org/darlington-arts-festival-2019/ .  

Hope to see you in the gallery soon!

Get involved in Pictures in Print at Crown Street Library – Saturday 16th and Saturday 23rd March, free activity running 12 noon – 3pm

Why not pop into Pictures in Print, explore printmaking and make your own print to take away?  This free activity is on offer with drop in sessions taking place from 12 noon to 3pm on Saturday 16th March 2019 and Saturday 23 March 2019 in the gallery at Crown Steet Library.  Activity will be led by artist Adrian Moule, with all equipment and materials provided.   You can come along for a short spell or have a go at making a few different prints, with materials, gloves and aprons on hand.  Pictures in Print is open to all ages, but children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Crown Street Call Out – Artists Selected

Thank you to everyone who responded to our Crown Street Call Out. We had a fantastic response, with over 120 applications. Following a meeting of the selection panel, we are pleased to announce the following artists have been selected

Phil Gatenby

Stuart Langley

Brian Lee

Aimee Suggitt

Jenni Thirlwell

The artists’ selected works will be installed in and around the Crown Street Gallery, Darlington in the coming weeks. These works will also be accompanied by profiles of the artists and their creative practices through the Creative Darlington Website. We look forward to telling you more soon, so watch this space!

Heritage on Track

Darlington has a significant role in railway heritage, with the bi-centenary of the first railway passenger journey on Locomotion No. 1 on the Stockton & Darlington railway in 1825 fast approaching in 2025, two active railway stations, Bank Top and North Road, the Head of Steam railway museum  and a number of key buildings and sites, including the track-bed of the Stockton & Darlington railway running through the borough.  The railways, both in Darlington and worldwide, have been a rich source of inspiration for creative practice and exploration, helping people travel and explore, meet new people, exchange ideas, visit new places, as regular commuters or on journeys home. Click the box below to find out more about the current programme ‘Heritage on Track’. 

Heritage on Track is engaging people in local heritage of international significance in the lead up to 2025, the bi-centenary of the first railway passenger journey on Locomotion No. 1 on 27 September 1825 on the Stockton & Darlington railway. The programme is creatively exploring the importance of both rail and local heritage within particular communities in Darlington which are based in close proximity to the track bed of the Stockton & Darlington railway (Red Hall, communities around North Road, and Middleton St George).  The project is managed by Darlington Borough Council, with Groundwork NE & Cumbria leading the community programme and Tees Valley Arts leading the Creative programme.  Heritage on Track is one element of the Great Place Tees Valley programme.

Film created by Laura Degnan

Heritage on Track is delivered by Groundwork NE & Cumbria and  Tees Valley Arts on behalf of Creative Darlington and is part of Great Place Tees Valley. This project is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Crown Street Call Out – Deadline Approaching!

Creative Darlington have the pleasure of launching an opportunity for artists. We are seeking submissions from visual artists of works to be installed in and around the Crown Street Gallery, Darlington. Art forms can include drawing, painting, illustration, poetry, photography or design.

We are looking for contemporary, visually captivating works which will demonstrate the creative brilliance of the creative communities in and around Darlington and the wider Tees Valley.

Artworks can be pre-existing works. We do not see this as a commission for the creation of new work.

4 artists works will be selected. Successful artists will receive £150. Their work will be printed and shown as part of an external site specific showcase around the Crown Street Gallery in Darlington. Works should be suitable for reproduction in print. The final artworks will form a collection of banners and window vinyl, which animate the exterior of Crown Street Gallery, sparking people’s curiosity and highlighting the creativity in the region.

Successful artists will also be profiled through the Creative Darlington website and marketing material.


Artists can submit up to 3 works. Applications should be done through Curator Space here and should include

  • a brief artist statement
  • a short paragraph describing the submitted work(s) (200words max per artwork)
  • works should be submitted as a jpeg image.

Creative Darlington are interested in showcasing creative talent from in and around Darlington and the wider Tees Valley. We would like to know the location of artists applying for this opportunity, but submissions will not be judged solely on this. We welcome applications from artists across the UK.


Application deadline 12 noon, 28 February.

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection panel w/c 4thMarch

Selected artists will be notified via email by Fri 8thMarch.



Further information on sites for installed works can be found here