An exciting event happening at the end of September 2021 in Darlington town centre.

Download the programme here.

The festival will be held in Darlington’s Town Centre and other venues from Friday 24th September to Monday 27th September. There will be a giant marquee for sellers and exhibitors Friday, Saturday and Sunday alongside a variety of locations for performances and workshops throughout the town centre.

What’s planned so far…

Stalls all weekend including in the arts marquee in the square:

  • Arts Marquee 10am-4pm with 40+ artists exhibiting and selling their pieces. FREE Entry in the market square marquee.
  • Ella Miller Art – Creator from Darlington who runs Millow Makes. Creating stationery, plushies and bespoke commissions.

Poetry meets Myriorama – Image subject to copyright

  • Poetry meets Myriorama – High Row will be turned into an open-air gallery with the mounting of a work entitled, ‘Poetry meets Myriorama’. Specially created canvases will exhibit poems written by Phil Sculthorpe and artworks created by Brian Ramsey – both Darlington residents. Darlington itself is the subject of the work – with the poems taking their inspiration from Japanese verse forms; and the artwork being in the form of a myriorama. A limited edition of sets of postcards will be given away free.
  • Say Hello to the Tribe at Guru Filming. Film-maker Mike Tweddle is creating a short film to mark 50 years of Guru trading in Darlington for release in 2022. If Guru means something special to you come down to the shop and as well as saying hello to the tribe you can record your thoughts for prosperity.

And the following programme of events:

Friday 24th

  • 10-4pm Semaphore as Metaphore with Anton Hecht in the market square. A drop-in workshop looking at semaphore and how you can make flags and learn how to use them to send words visually across distances.
  • 6pm Lampshade Making with Gillian Arnold. Discover an amazing night of craft and conversation with Gillian Arnold’s Make your own lampshade workshop, based in Darlington. Click here for tickets.
  • The Cat & The Canary at the Darlington Hippodrome. Tickets here.
  • 7:30pm Singer of the Lakes at Darlington Indoor Market. Get ready for a night of pop and classical crossovers. Free entry.
  • 7:30-11pm at the Forum. Ceiling Demons £8. Tickets HERE.  
  • 7:30pm is Under Milk Wood is a radio play by Dylan Thomas for twelve voices. Performed by Darlington Green Theatre for Darlington Arts Festival at Friends Meeting House. Free entry.

Saturday 25th

  • 11:15am-4pm Cabinet of Curiosity FREE Workshop Activity.
  • 11am Michael Jarvie – Intro to Life Writing at the Friends Meeting House. Local author Michael Jarvie, who is an associate editor at Culture Matters, will be giving a one hour talk on life writing, as well as reading from his own work and answering questions at the end of the session. £2 entry.
  • 11am Beware the Pothole poetry reading at the Friends Meeting House.
  • 12pm A Funny Thing Happened £3 at Friends Meeting House – Following on from Chrissie’s regaling, join The Word Herder for a writing workshop looking at ways in which to turn life’s challenges into lucrative writing. This session is open to all, whether you have attended the Beware the Porthole event or not.
  • 12:15pm Blueprint Press Readings is the brainchild of poets Jo Colley and Julie Hogg who will be reading short, coherent sets of poems which may also include illustrations, from published poets. Free event at Friends Meeting House.
  • 1:30pm Vane Women Press bring their unique blend of stunning poetry and wry humour to the Darlington for Culture Arts Festival, accompanied by Kathleen Bainbridge, reading from her hot-off-the-Vane Women Press publication, Inscape. Friends Meeting House. Entry £2, refundable on purchase of a book.
  • 2pm Friends Meeting House, Going Gothic Writing Workshop – What is Gothic literature? Not as old-fashioned as you might think. It’s still a very popular genre for adults, young adults and children. £3 to include take-away resources. Email to reserve a place.
  • 2pm Friends Meeting House, Alice Potter, Novelist. Be Creative – Get that Novel written! an event by Alice Potter on Saturday 25th, 2pm at the Darlington Friends Meeting House. Alice, talks about her own journey into novel writing with hints and tips on plot, setting, forming believable characters and overcoming the dreaded writers block.
  • 2pm EnPointe Dance Group. Come and watch these fantastic dancers on the market square.
  • 4pm Open Mic Night at Friends Meeting House. Have you signed up to a writing workshop at Darlington Arts Festival’s Words Day? You’re sure to write something you’d like to share with others. Or you might already have a poem or short story or piece of life writing or creative non-fiction that others would love to hear? Here’s your chance to read your work in front of an actual live audience in a friendly supportive atmosphere. If you would like to be on the list to read/perform, email to reserve a free place.
  • 3-9pm in The Quakerhouse This Has Nothing To Do With Easter’ runs 42 minutes and will play on a loop. Fascinating artwork regardless of how long you pop in for! Find out more here.
  • 3pm at The Majestic Theatre – Isabelle Mumford Mystery’s: 1920s Murder Mystery Afternoon Tea £25. Tickets here.
  • The Cat & The Canary at the Darlington Hippodrome. Tickets here.
  • 6pm Lampshade Making with Gillian Arnold. Discover an amazing night of craft and conversation with Gillian Arnold’s Make your own lampshade workshop, based in Darlington. Click here for tickets.
  • 7:30pm at The Forum is the Stereosonics £13. Tickets here.

Sunday 26th

  • APU Peruvian Pan Pipe Musicians on High Row and in the town centre.
  • Anton Hecht will be delivering a drop-in activity (flag making) at The Head of Steam.
  • Annual Stockton & Darlington Railway birthday event 10-4pm. £2 for adults and £1 for children. Drop-in semaphore workshops, mini train rides, arts & crafts, performances by the Ran Tanners and The Time Travellers.

Monday 27th

  • Glacial Plains – a new photography exhibition by Darlington Photography Association will open in the gallery at Darlington Library. This series of acrylic paintings was 18 months in the making and is intended to be a celebration of age. It aims to depict older people in a strong and positive light with a mixture of part and full-face portraits which vary in size with some of commanding scale.
  • 7:30pm Darlington Film Club at The Forum screening Belle. £3. Click here.