Orgs we've worked with

We’ve had the pleasure of working with a large number of organisations, linking with Darlington and further afield. These include

Arts Council England,   blimey! Artist Network,   Darlington Borough Council,   Darlington Community Carnival,   Darlington Hippodrome,   Darlington Dance Festival Association,   Darlington for Culture,   Darlington Partnership,   Equal Arts,  Festival of Thrift,  Flying Cloud Theatre Company,   Heritage Lottery Fund,   Hilarity Bites Comedy Club,   Luxi, Battersea Arts Centre and Jabberwocky Markets,   Middlesbrough Art Weekender,   Navigator North,   OddManOutTeesside University,  The Hullabaloo,   The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts,   The Forum Music Centre and Humantics CIC, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form.

Click on the above links to find out more about each individual organisation and how Creative Darlington have worked with them.

If you haven’t worked with us yet and love culture in Darlington, get in touch


blimey! visual arts collective set up in April 2007.  Creative Darlington supported a blimey! programme of talks by guest artists, including Nick Kennedy, Theresa Easton, Nicky Peacock and Tony Charles.  blimey! members actively supported projects, like the Art Lending Library, either led by or involving Creative Darlington.

Darlington Borough Council

Darlington Borough Council allocate a budget to Creative Darlington, employ the Creative Darlington Manager post and attend board meetings.  Darlington Borough Council support delivery of the Creative Darlington vision through service and venues including The Community Arts Project , Crown Street Library (within which Crown Street Art Gallery is based), Darlington Hippodrome and the Head of Steam Railway Museum.


Darlington Community Carnival is run by volunteers. Creative Darlington supported Darlington Community Carnival in 2014 and Darlington Borough Council events service provides ongoing support in kind to the event.

Darlington Hippodrome, formerly Darlington Civic Theatre, first opened its doors on Monday 2 September 1907 as the New Hippodrome & Palace of Varieties under the leadership of Signor Rino Pepi, an internationally renowned ‘protean’ or quick change artist.  It is a much-loved venue and the source of profound civic pride.  Darlington Hippodrome’s Director is on the Creative Darlington board and Creative Darlington has offered support to commission services to support audience development and to inform their business planning.

Darlington Dance Fest

Darlington loves to dance and stages an annual Dance Festival organised by Darlington Dance Festival Association (DDFA).  Creative Darlington has supported DDFA in securing support through fundraising.


Darlington for Culture was established in 2010 to help protect and promote arts and culture in the town and became a co-operative in Spring 2011.  They represent their members on the Creative Darlington board, and have coordinated an annual Darlington Arts Festival since 2013.  Both Creative Darlington and Darlington for Culture worked with Darlington Borough Council to progress public consultation around how any capital receipt from sale of the Arts Centre site would best support the arts and community of Darlington going forward.  Creative Darlington backed Darlington for Culture in designing their website and in promoting their membership offer.


Darlington Partnership allocated invaluable support and expertise to assist the transition of arts activity in Darlington following the closure of Darlington Arts Centre in 2012, and is represented on Creative Darlington’s board.

Equal Arts

Equal Arts mission is to improve the quality of people’s lives by helping older people participate in high quality arts activity.  Equal Arts have worked on various projects in Darlington and Creative Darlington has offered them our support to develop a creative ageing programme here.

Around 30,000 people attended the first Festival of Thrift in 2013, 35,000 visitors in 2014 and 40,000 visitors in 2015. The first three festivals received support from Arts Council England, Creative Darlington and Darlington Borough Council, and were held at Lingfield Point.  In 2016 the Festival of Thrift relocated to Kirkleatham in Redcar and Cleveland borough.

Flying Cloud

Creative Darlington supported co-ordination and promotion of free workshops by Flying Cloud Theatre Company in Darlington which ran alongside their new play ‘The Book’.  Flying Cloud Theatre Company worked with Darlington residents to explore issues within the production.

The Book Workshops (June-July 2014) from Turtle Key Arts on Vimeo.

Hilarity Bites

Hilarity Bites Comedy Club started in Darlington in 2007 and brings the best of the UK and International comedy scene to venues throughout County Durham, Tyneside, Teesside and North Yorkshire.  Hilarity Bites produced over 13 hours’ worth of free comedy in Darlington Comedy Festival 2014 with support from Creative Darlington and we also helped in financing their festival marketing.

Luxi is an independent produce-led company that exists to brighten lives through creative endeavour and stories. They produce multidisciplinary performances and projects and collaborate with artists who share their passions.

Through Jabberwocky Markets (their award-winning pop-up theatre events and festival) they partnered with Battersea Arts Centre to present inspiring, world-class theatre performances in sometimes surprising places across Darlington.

jm14 line

Photo Credit Richard Kenworthy

The Middlesbrough Art Weekender (MAW) showcases a wide selection of international and local artists across multiple venues. With a strong DIY ethos, MAW works in collaboration with local artists, galleries and institutions as well as creating new cultural space in slack and empty spaces across Middlesbrough and beyond. Creative Darlington worked in collaboration with Middlesbrough Art Weekender in 2018 to commission artist Lydia Catterall to host an artist picnic in the town’s market, encouraging conversation, questioning and sharing as part of extended Art Weekender activity.   In 2019 we supported a MAW led residency programme with Lady Kitt at Darlington Library.

Navigator North

Formed in 2010 Navigator North exists to initiate, facilitate and promote opportunities for visual artists and to further their creative practice.  They initiate activities to raise the public awareness of artists, artworks and creative practice, stimulating dialogue, interaction and engagement between artists and the public. Creative Darlington worked with Navigator North in developing or promoting a number of events in Darlington, including their first Trash & Treasure event and fantastic activity within their Art Space working with Salford Zine Library


ODDMANOUT formed in 2007 to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe festival and has continued to produce work and toured productions since then.  They aim to support new writing and make theatre that promises to ‘challenge and surprise’.  The company has a core artistic team of Katy Weir and Scott Young (a Darlington resident) and also has a growing collective of artists and theatre makers with whom they work.  Creative Darlington supported ODDMANOUT in developing and touring new work and leading participatory workshops in Darlington and has also allocated time limited support to their organisational development.  In 2020 they successfully led the It’s All Happening Here! programme in Darlington with our support.
Teesside Uni

Creative Darlington has worked with Teesside University to support the development of artists and their business practice.  Teesside University is a distinctive can do University  which contains a School of Arts & Media and operates a campus in Darlington.  Teesside University is represented on the Creative Darlington board and works closely with Darlington Borough Council in a number of areas.

Theatre Hullabaloo is a pioneering theatre company creating quality work for young audiences. The only National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England based in the borough of Darlington, they have worked extensively in the area and with Darlington Borough Council. Theatre Hullabaloo believe that creativity should be part of everybody’s childhood, and that young people have an entitlement to access theatre of the highest quality and greatest artistic challenge. To achieve this, the organisation collaborates with artists from all over the world that are working at the forefront of their artform, developing ideas with young people, to create excellent and inventive theatre.

The Hullabaloo, Darlington. Photo Credit Mark Savage

In December 2018, Theatre Hullabaloo celebrated the one-year anniversary of their flagship theatre venue for children and young people in Darlington. Children are at the heart of The Hullabaloo – the only venue of its kind north of London, located on Borough Road – with local schools and nurseries instrumental even in the design process of the £2.7m project. The Hullabaloo was officially opened by Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England and Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon in 2017. Since then, its pioneering Creative Play space, funded by the Gillian Dickinson Trust and free to the public, has had over 12,000 children and their grown-ups through its doors.

Theatre Hullabaloo are represented on the Creative Darlington board. The Creative Darlington report committed to reinforcing specialist practice in children and young people’s arts, with emphasis on the performing arts and aimed for this specialism to be a beacon, attracting national recognition to the arts in Darlington. Creative Darlington has supported the sustainable development of Theatre Hullabaloo, as one of the borough’s key arts assets.

Creative Darlington allocated financial support to develop Theatre Hullabaloo’s successful application to Arts Council England’s strategic large-scale capital programme, which secured an offer of £1.5 million, which with support from Darlington Borough Council and other funders supported the creation of The Hullabaloo, which opened in December 2017, new theatre space developing work for children and young people in Darlington.

The Bridge
The Bridge

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts, is a facility which houses visual arts services, courses, workshops and exhibitions and opened in July 2012.  Creative Darlington manages the Council budget allocated to support repairs and maintenance of and supplies and services to the Bridge Centre for Visual Arts building.

The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts is an independent charity with a mission to provide a vibrant community led venue to support artists and encourage visual arts involvement for Darlington. With support from Creative Darlington The Bridge Centre for Visual Arts has –

• Provided facilities for many different arts groups, arts services and artists
• Agreed a constitution
• Staged regular exhibitions
• Promoted ticketed arts courses
• Housed the Open Art Studio, a social prescription project focused on enhancing mental health and wellbeing
• Developed branding, signage and a website
• Worked with other visual arts organisations, e.g. Navigator North
• Been repainted
• Developed a paved outdoor area to accommodate social activity and events


The Forum Music Centre is owned and managed by Humantics CIC, a Social Enterprise registered as a Community Interest Company.  The Forum Music Centre houses a broad programme of arts and entertainment, events and training, including a number of groups and activities which relocated there following the closure of Darlington Arts Centre.   They offer rehearsal, recording, performance and social spaces, programming capacity and a range of technical support.

Creative Darlington has worked with Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College art and design courses on a number of programmes in recent years.  Students contributed to the Collections project with artist Sara Cooper through activity at the Head of Steam Railway Museum.  Two exhibitions of student work have been shared at the gallery in Crown Street library.