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New professional theatre training in Darlington

Published: 2 April 2019

In November 2016, while Darlington Hippodrome was undergoing massive restoration, the theatre offered local people the chance to perform in a large-scale production of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities in the town’s Central Hall where Dickens actually read on 21 September 1858 and again in the autumn of 1861 as part of his reading tours of the county.

Then, in February 2018, Anywhere, an immersive piece of theatre, explored the newly renovated Hippodrome, told by the characters that trod the boards throughout the history of the theatre. It was created in partnership with local contemporary theatre company ODDMANOUT and performed by the community company who were behind A Tale of Two Cities.

Now the Hippodrome and ODDMANOUT will create a new theatre training opportunity, The Foundry, which will build upon the desire shown by local performers who were involved in the two previous projects to develop their skills and expand their experience. Following a successful bid to Arts Council England and with support from Creative Darlington, The Foundry will open its doors in 2019 to allow local performers to embark on a 36-week programme of professional training and workshops.

“We are thrilled to be working with Darlington Hippodrome to offer a new training opportunity to local talent at The Foundry,” said Scott Young from ODDMANOUT. “It has always been our ambition to make the company's work as open and accessible as possible. The Foundry is the next phase of our work in achieving this. We want to be part of emerging artists' journeys as they forge their careers and grow as theatre-makers, and to be able to do this in our home town of Darlington is an exciting time in our organisation’s growth.

“The Foundry will be a bespoke training programme, establishing a strong and talented community company (16+) of theatre-makers to learn, grow and work alongside us as we strive to change the face of theatre practice in the region.”

The Foundry will meet on Tuesday evenings at the Hippodrome for three 12-week terms. Full details of how to apply, fees and the training programme can be found on the Hippodrome web site.

Peter Lathan