Discover Middlesbrough Festival

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15 October 2019 - 01 November 2019

An exciting free programme of events is heading to Middlesbrough Town Hall this month as part of Discover Middlesbrough Festival’s 2019 programme.

Kickstarting on Tuesday 15th October and running until Friday 1st November, visitors can enjoy a series of specially curated film screenings, exhibitions, talks, walks and performances celebrating Middlesbrough both past and present following a successful launch festival last year.

Highlights of this year’s programme includes “An Audience with Paul Frost” (Tuesday 15th October) where the popular Teesside presenter recalls his times covering memorable court cases at Middlesbrough Town Hall hosted at the newly refurbished courtroom, a series of Heritage & Refurbishment tours of the beautiful building, a spooky halloween gathering and ‘River Tees on Film’ (24th October) – which will present The North East Film’s archive of cinematic treasures portraying the famous river throughout its history.

Speaking about the forthcoming programme, Mieka Smiles, Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: “Whether you’re brand new to all things Middlesbrough or have lived in this town a lifetime – there is always more to find out.

“One place I’ve grown to love is our newly refurbished Town Hall that you can tour as part of this year’s programme. But despite its revamp it is still full of secret nooks and crannies that would delight any history fan.

There’s an absolute array of all things culture too.”

Liz Hayward, Heritage Engagement Officer at Middlesbrough Town Hall, continues: “We are very proud of the impressive, newly refurbished Town Hall venue and how accessible it now is for all our visitors.

I encourage everyone to come in and visit the Old Fire Station, the magnificent Police Courtroom and atmospheric Police Cells and learn more about our town’s heritage. You can also enjoy the Carriageway Café while you’re here.

“We are repeating some popular events such as the Courtroom Dramas based on actual historic cases, requiring audience members to join in by entering the dock to be accused of petty crimes from up to 130 years ago. We are also drawing on the expertise of local historians and speakers to increase our knowledge of past life in the town, presented in an impressive and little known about Courtroom.

It is an amazing space and houses some wonderful items such as life-size portraits several of Middlesbrough’s founding fathers – the likes of Henry Bolckow and John Vaughan – and more recent commemorations of wartime heroes and international civic links.

We are also hosting an audience with local media presenter, Paul Frost, who has agreed to come and tell us about his career in journalism which included working as a newspaper journalist in the Town Hall Courtroom – and he left evidence of this!”

Paul Frost, adds: “I’ve been asked to explain my graffiti and reveal the dark secrets of former Gazette colleagues whose names are forever engraved on the infamous bench. We never thought our vandalism would become something of a museum piece!

Yes…I’m guilty as charged! Wanton graffiti on the Press bench of Middlesbrough Magistrates Court. It’s been heavy on my conscience for more than 45 years. At last, I’ll have the chance to atone for my crime, and spill the beans about some of my colleagues in crime!”


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