Darlington Civic Theatre
9.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays.
The New Hippodrome and Palace of Varieties was formally opened on Monday 2nd September 1907. Its first Managing Director was Signor Rino Pepi, an Italian ex patriot who was originally a quick-change artist and impersonator whose love of theatre took him into a management career. The theatre was designed by G Gordon Hoskins and built by Owen and Ward of Birmingham, a firm specialising in theatre building. It is constructed from local Middlesbrough red brick with terracotta dressings. Above the Parkgate entrance is a 64ft. high pyramid-roofed tower (housing a water tank) which gives the theatre's distinctive appearance. The ornamental canopy is a replica of the original iron and glass structure, which was destroyed by a traffic accident in the 1960's.
The theatre flourished during the 20 years Signor Pepi ran it but following his death in November 1927, its future became uncertain. Competition from cinema became a real threat and a succession of different managers struggled to balance the books. Indeed at one stage the theatre was equipped with a film projection box at the rear of the upper circle. In 1966 after much hard work and enthusiasm from members of the community, especially Darlington Operatic Society, the Borough Council of Darlington assumed full financial, administrative and artistic responsibility for the theatre on behalf of the town. The "New Hippodrome" became officially known as Darlington Civic Theatre.
Darlington Civic Theatre
Tel: 01325 486 555Visit Darlington Civic Theatre website
Darlington Civic Theatre has two bars – Signor Pepi’s Bar and The Conservatory Bar (with disabled access). Signor Pepi’s Bar is open for pre-show and interval drinks. The Conservatory is also open for pre show and interval drinks, sandwiches and light snacks are also available.
There is level access from Borough Road into the Stalls and the Conservatory Bar. There are double yellow lines at this entrance, but it is usually possible to stop and set down passengers. Unfortunately, the theatre has no lift. Wheelchair users and blind people may bring a companion free of charge. Wheelchair spaces are charged at concessionary rate (for performances where concessions are available. There is an adapted toilet suitable for wheelchair users, and people with mobility difficulties, on the ground floor at the rear of the stalls. There is an infra-red system in the auditorium at the Civic Theatre which requires a special receiver, available free from Front of House staff. Please remember to ask at the time of booking. Audio loop available. Performances which are sign language interpreted are marking in the organisation’s What’s On diary. If you are attending a performance because it is sign language interpreted, please let the Box Office staff know when booking so that they can give you seats in the best place. Copies of the season brochure are available in audiocassette version, large print format of Braille. Please ask at the Box Office. Performances which are audio described are marked in the season brochure. Headsets are available from the Front of House staff. Please arrange in advance with Box Office staff. Touch tours of the set may be arranged one hour before the audio described performance. If you would like a touch tour please let the Box Office know at least two days in advance when booking your tickets. Guide dogs welcome. At some performances programmes are now available in Braille.
By phone: 01325 486 555 Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 8.00pm. Tickets may be reserved, to be paid within three working days, or paid for at the time of booking via Mastercard, Visa or Switch cards. In person: Civic Theatre Box Office Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 8.00pm and on Sundays two hours before the performance. By post: Write to Darlington Arts Centre and Civic Theatre, Parkgate, Darlington, DL1 1RR. If you are sending cheques or postal orders as payment for tickets please cross them and make them payable to Darlington Civic Theatre. If you would like your tickets posted please add 60p to the total cost or enclose a stamped addressed envelope. Please include a daytime phone number.
By car: Approaching from the South From the A1, take the A66(M) exit. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit toward the Town Centre which takes you past the Blackwell Grange Hotel on your left. At the Sainsburys roundabout take the 4th exit which leads onto the Darlington Ring Road. At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit, still continuing on the Ring Road and move into the right hand lane. At the next roundabout turn right onto Parkgate and the Civic Theatre is located approx. 200 yards on your left. Approaching from the North From the A1, take the A167 exit which is signposted for Darlington. Follow the road into town (approx 2 miles) until you reach a large roundabout. Take the first exit, which is onto the Darlington Ring Road. Go straight over at the next roundabout (2nd exit). At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit into Parkgate and the Civic Theatre is located approx. 200 yards on your left. Approaching from the East Follow the A66(M), the new road which connects to the A1(M). Go straight over at the 1st roundabout. At the next roundabout, take the third exit towards Darlington. Continue for approx. a mile. At the roundabout, turn left onto Parkgate; go past the entrance to Darlington Railway Station on your left and the Civic Theatre is located approx. 300 yards on your right. Car Parking - The nearest car park is opposite the Health Centre in Park Place. From Parkgate, turn right immediately opposite the Civic Theatre. This car park is free after 6.00pm and is covered by the Town Centre CCTV cameras. By train: Darlington BR - the Civic Theatre is a 2-minute walk from the station.