66 Creatives opportunity

Eden Arts are advising creatives of their £12,000 commission fund (and other opportunities they are working on for the #66 region – from west coast Cumbria to east coast at Teesmouth via Carlisle and Durham, the districts connected loosely by the A66).  

The programme includes Darlington and Eden Arts are keen to work with artists, writers, makers, creatives, podcasters. filmmakers, animators, illustrators, graphic designers, gamers, painters, poets and many more. You can find out more about aims of The 66 programme here.

To find out more about the commission fund just register at https://edenarts.typeform.com/to/QRcXKzQA (and do a quick survey on how COVID has made an impact on your practice) to receive updates on new commissions and opportunities from them and others.

Swinging music during the festive season from Hannabiell and Midnight Blue Collective

Hannabiell and Midnight Blue Collective perform in Darlington. Photograph Anna Miller Art.

Hannabiell Saunders and Midnight Blue Collective delivered 5 performances on Tuesday 22nd December 2020 and 5 more on Wednesday 23 December 2020, outdoors in Lifeline service locations across the Borough. Performances were supported by Creative Darlington and sought to bring cheer to families with upbeat Christmas carols fused with African and Latin rhythm, to safely bring live music to the doorsteps of people who might otherwise have limited opportunities to enjoy live music, and to support musicians and freelancers during these difficult times.

Hannabiell and Midnight Blue Collective perform in Darlington. Photograph Anna Miller Art.

This programme attracted many positive comments, two of which are shown below:

“Thank you so very very much you were fantastic.  Everyone really loved listening to your music in the sunshine, made us all feel a little more Christmassy.”

“What an excellent treat for the tenants today from Hannabiell and her band, there were absolutely swinging, and all tenants have enjoyed it so much great to see so many dancing and watching it was great certainly upped everyone’s spirits.”

We’re glad to back Back on Track this Spring

Darlington community interest company Tracks are starting off 2021 with some good news. They’ve been awarded just under £15k to run a series of online events between January and April 2021 by Arts Council England, and Creative Darlington is also supporting the Back on Track programme in 2021, following Tracks successful promotion of fantastic online programmes, including Darlo@Home and Hark! The Sound of Christmas last year.

Rob Irish and Sarah Wilson of Tracks

Throughout 2020 Tracks took their distinctive brand of music events online with a series of performances, many drawing thousands of viewers and audiences from around the world. The new funding for“Back On Track” will support an array of activities and performances that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

“This funding is so important to Tracks, it means that we are able to continue creating diverse, exciting, quality online events and workshops to give people missing the creative arts in the real world, a chance to engage and discover something new. It also means that we can continue to reach out to our musical community with offers of paid work, giving them some much needed support and opportunities in such uncertain times”

Rob Irish co-founder of Tracks.

Tracks project BIG Little Gigs has been running in Darlington for the last five years bringing fun live music events to a family friendly audience. As part of the funding there will be two online BIG Little Gigs events, the first will feature Leeds based Back Chat Brass plus a musical craft session with host Sarah Wilson.

Hark! The Sound of Stories will also return. These events are a celebration of music and the written word and how they so often inspire each other. During the 2020 restrictions Tracks produced two Hark events that received rave reviews. The next event will premiere online on Sunday 31st January at 7pm and there will be a writers workshop held during the afternoon.

Noisy Daughters is a project supporting women and trans women in music and will be running a series of four free online workshops covering a variety of topics within the music industry. The first of these will feature Darlington vocal coach Claire Willmer speaking about how to look after your voice as a live performer. She will be teaching warm ups, warm downs and sharing other tricks of the trade. Other workshop leaders include Liz Corney of The Cornshed Sisters and Field Music, Francoise Harvey, award winning published author and musician, and local rising star Jodie Nicholson discussing how to promote your music online. The first of the four workshops will run on Saturday 23rd January at 2pm .

There will be some live music hip-hop cyphers being created and premiered too. The films will be hosted by Rianne Thompson from BBC Introducing and will feature the cream of the North East hip-hop scene including artists from Darlington’s own hip-hop label Legitimate Anarchy.

For more details of all of the events and workshops please head to​ ​www.tracksdarlington.co.uk​ and please note there are limited spaces on all of the workshops so places must be booked in advance.

Fabulous festive music brought a smile to many faces

A big thank you to Dr. Hannabiell Sanders (Artistic, Programming Director) and Yilis del Suriel and the other musicians in the band and to Darlington’s Lifeline Services for their work bringing live music safely to different sites in Darlington borough between Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd December 2020.

Harambee Pasadia 23 December 2020

Darlington Borough Council events team worked with Harambee Pasadia earlier in the year to bring Darlington Drum Festival to the Town Centre, and their festive tour brought drum and brass interpretations of traditional tunes and original music into the earshot of many people across the Borough. Toes were tapping and hands were clapping, in Darlington, Hurworth and Middleton St. George, despite the somewhat wintry weather.

Apologies for the quality of the photograph, but the music was great!

Creative Darlington funded the tour as part of our work to champion cultural engagement by supporting events, festivals and targeted programmes.

Hark! The Sound of Christmas hits the spot securing 4,700 views so far

Lisette Auton reading an original short story commissioned for Hark! The Sound of Christmas inside Darlington Library
Andy McAdam was commissioned to create an animation to accompany a reading of E. E. Cummings poem ‘Little Tree’ as part of Hark! The Sound of Christmas
Relief print by Merlyn Griffiths from The Littlest Falcon, commissioned for Hark! The Sound of Christmas
Hark! The Sound of Christmas programme

Creative Darlington’s delighted to hear that 4,700+ people to date have sampled Hark! The Sound of Christmas programme, first shared online on Sunday 20 December 2020, with a special Gig in a Box offer reaching c 200 people across Darlington. All this without a baked potato in sight.

Somewhat unsurprisingly given Tracks track record, Hark! The Sound of Christmas helped brighten the festive season for many people, given the comments the screening has secured to date.

Thank you Tracks this was amazing. We love the calm you brought to our home today”

“Our 6 year old is belting out Silent night this is amazing”

“Oh wow I love this poem about the choir and human connection – how fitting”

“This is the perfect evening. Needed this. Thank you Tracks xx”

The Bookshop Band’s internationally lauded music was featured alongside music by Bejamin Amos and Oui Bee in the Hark! The Sound of Christmas programme

Hark! The Sound of Christmas was backed by Darlington Borough Council’s events service, while Creative Darlington supported the commission of three fantastic local artists Lisette Auton, Merlyn Griffiths from The Littlest Falcon and Andy McAdam. A big thank you to all who helped make this happen, it was a cracker!.

Hark! The Sound of Christmas Gig in a Box – thanks to those who helped create and share these with people in Darlington

Are you a creative industry SME or freelancer that’s looking to harness financial resources and support?

The Creative Fuse Bounce Back programme, delivered by Edale (a business advisory firm and financial professionals), offers four masterclasses to eligible individuals or companies (1. financial healthcheck, 2. getting financially fit, 3. becoming a financial guru, 4. getting going and applying), plus one-to-one mentoring support from industry experts covering investment, grant applications and securing funding from a wide range of sources.

The typical timing of the masterclasses with run from 10am – 1pm (including activities and breaks). The programme will run with two cohorts from January – March 2021. Places are limited and will be offered on a first come, first serve basis so please apply early to avoid disappointment.

Those eligible to apply must be:

  • A creative practitioner, freelancer, SME or incorporated non-profit organisation
  • Have evidence of trading with a business bank account
  • Have a business address located in the Tees Valley
  • Actively considering applying for funding / finance

Further information on Bounce Back and a link to apply is at https://thedigitalcity.com/services/creative-fuse-tees-valley/bounce-back-funding-harnessing-financial-resources-and-support/

Grand Constructions New in Town in 2021

About Grand Constructions

Grand Constructions is a participatory arts project that will use arts, making and design to explore the architectural and industrial heritage of the North East of England. The project is a collaboration between designer maker Caroline Collinge and architect Edmond Salter of Cabinet of Curiosity Studio and has been commissioned by Creative Darlington as part of our New in Town programme to support original creative projects informed by place and local heritage.

Grand Constructions planned by Cabinet of Curiosity Studio

Grand Constructions aims to invite children aged 6-11 years to start thinking about their surroundings and the built environment. The project will involve children and families in creating paper architecture through engagement activities accessible in person and virtually. Engagement activities will include: a virtual design studio featuring talks, downloadable resources, workshops and live demonstrations; outreach workshops in the community; and a pop-up exhibition of paper architecture in Darlington town Centre. The project will begin in March 2021 and will run until November 2021.

Funding and support in kind for the Grand Constructions project has been provided by Arts Council England, Creative Darlington and Head of Steam Darlington Railway Museum.

Cabinet of Curiosity Studio last worked here in 2019 at a community event in Red Hall and in Darlington Market, and delivering one of the Viewpoints suite of new works commissioned by the fantastic Festival of Thrift. Viewpoints featured temporary sculptures, installations and artworks about clean air that were displayed across the Tees Valley.

Cabinet of Curiosity Studio created an installation called Green House that was inspired by Victorian garden architecture and Japanese design. The installation combined contemporary fabrication techniques with Japanese crafts and contained a living environment of house plants that possess air cleaning properties.

Cabinet of Curiosity Green House commissioned by Festival of Thrift on display in Darlington Market in 2019

About Cabinet of Curiosity Studio

Cabinet of Curiosity Studio was founded in 2010 by costume and theatre designer Caroline Collinge and architect Edmond Salter. The studio brings expertise in the paper arts and crafts to make installations, exhibitions, costumes and illustrations for commission. Their striking paper-based artwork has been shown across the UK and internationally in a variety of settings that include museums, theatres, libraries, heritage sites, outdoor festivals, arts venues and public spaces.

Hark! The Sound Of Christmas is streaming online on Sunday 20 December, beginning 7pm

HARK! is traditionally a celebration of music inspired by literature – and Tracks think no holiday embodies that concept like Christmas. HARK! The Sound of Christmas is hosted by Fran Harvey, and features beautiful live music performed by a variety of regional and national artists, readings from ​A Christmas Carol ​ and festive poems, and specially commissioned work from regional artists. This programme has been backed by Darlington Borough Council and Creative Darlington.

The streaming event is accompanied by a ‘gig in a box’ featuring a programme with original linocut artwork from Darlington artist The Littlest Falcon and lyrics so audience members can sing along, as well as a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake, and a few other goodies. The Gig in a Box is free to all, subject to availability. Tracks will create and deliver these boxes to audience members, as well as have some stock available for collection from the library. They are also reaching out to organisations such as Food For Thought to distribute some of the boxes to the elderly, socially isolated and people on lower incomes.

Hark! The Sound of Christmas will include performances from…

The Bookshop Band​ is internationally renowned folk duo Ben Please and Beth Porter. Based out of Mr B’s Bookshop in Bath, the Bookshop Band writes and performs enchanting music inspired by books by hundreds of authors from Shakespeare to Philip Pullman. They have released 13 studio albums featuring many of the authors they have worked with, and are usually found performing in bookshops. For HARK! they will be performing a specially selected set of songs based on festive and wintery tales, as well as a couple of Christmas classics.

The Bookshop Band

Benjamin Amos​, of North Eastern super-band Nel Unlit, graces us with tunes from his latest solo album, Christmas folk feast ​Joy. Ben performs three beautifully arranged Christmas songs, filmed in some very special locations.

Songstress ​Oui Bee​ returns exclusively for HARK!. After a hiatus, local singer-songwriter Oui Bee is bringing her hauntingly beautiful vocals back to celebrate Christmas.

The evening also includes specially commissioned work from local writer performance artist Lisette Auton, animation from artist Andrew McAdam, as well as readings of festive poems and ​A Christmas Carol.

Sarah Wilson of Tracks Darlington says: ‘It’s great to have been given this opportunity to create something really magical and original for this special time of year, especially with 2020 having been such a tricky time for people. It’s great to have the opportunity to work with local artists to create something for everyone to enjoy.’

Hark! The Sound of Christmas Gig in a Box

So here’s an invitation to enjoy Hark! The Sound of Christmas beaming directly into your home via the magic of the internet, and hosted from the majestic Crown Street Library.

Tracks advise the event is suitable for ages 13+. The live stream starts at 7pm on Sunday 20 December and is free to view, with a donation link available.


Get creative to help keep the Loco in Darlo and you could win a family pass to The Head of Steam Railway Museum plus a family ticket* to see Cinderella at Darlington Hippodrome in Christmas 2021!

Due to COVID-19 restrictions The Head of Steam Railway Museum has been unable to distribute their Keep The Loco In Darlo posters far and wide for everyone to display in windows across Darlington. So you have an opportunity to get creative and design your own masterpiece to show your support for the campaign with the chance to win some super prizes.

To enter the competition simply download and colour in the template from the Head of Steam website or design your own Keep The Loco In Darlo poster and display it in your front window. Take a photo of your poster on display and post it on your social media profile tagging Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum and using the hashtag #KeepTheLocoInDarlo.

A winner will be picked in early 2021!  To download the colouring page visit www.head-of-steam.co.uk/keep-the-loco-in-darlo/activities-for-children/

To add your support to the campaign visit: www.darlington.gov.uk/keep-the-loco-in-darlo

*Family ticket comprises 4 tickets – Minimum 1 adult and 1 U16. Only available on performances between 10.12.21 – 16.12.21 

‘It’s All Happening Here!’ sharing at Cornerstone Arts CANCELLED

Following the announcement of the second lockdown coming into place on Thursday 5 November 2020 ODDMANOUT theatre company and Creative Darlington have cancelled the sharing of work from the ‘It’s All Happening Here!’ programme and an exhibition of  Darlington Wonders planned inside Cornerstone Arts.  While this decision is sadly unavoidable ODDMANOUT are taking steps to ensure the creative work from ‘It’s All Happening Here!’ will be accessible online, and over 20 Darlington Wonders are currently accessible online.

‘ODDMANOUT are disappointed that due to the new restrictions we have to cancel ‘It’s All Happening Here’ due to take place at Cornerstone Arts, Darlington on the 5th/6th/7th of November. We will be doing our best to move all of the content online to ensure the hard work of all our artistic community is not wasted.’