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Preview: Jabberwocky Market Festival in Darlington

Festival of Theatre
Returns to Darlington

Jabberwocky Market Festival
Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 October 2014

It’s one of the biggest dates in Darlington’s cultural calendar and this year promises to be its best yet.

Jabberwocky Market makes a welcome return to venues in and around
Darlington from Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 October 2014for another four days of performances, workshops, talks and fun activities for audiences of all ages. 

Presenting cutting edge, world-class theatre rarely performed in the North East, Jabberwocky Market also features performances from local artists and musicians. The festival showcases an amazing array of talent, including some very close to home. 

The festival hub will open at
Darlington’s Covered Market from Thursday 18 September and will feature performances and events leading up to the official start of Jabberwocky Market on Thursday 2 October.

Solas Fae
Local dancer-choreographer Debbie Waistell opens this year’s festival with the premiere of her latest show for children and families, Solas Fae (Thursday 2 October - Cattle Market).  A story of love, loss and Christmas and inspired by traditional legends, this captivating performance takes place at the Cattle Market.    

Photo: Josh Hawkins Photography UK
of the gracefool collective
Jabberwocky Market’s popular Scratch night returns to Darlington’s Voodoo Café for one night only (Friday 3 October - Voodoo Cafe). This informal and sociable evening of theatre invites audiences to enjoy excerpts of five new shows. Those that want to are welcome to give feedback and chat to the creators and actors after the performance. 

Ballad of the Burning Star
Audiences in Darlington will have the opportunity to enjoy the politically charged, Ballad of the Burning Star (Saturday 4 October - Liddiard Theatre at Polam School) as part of Jabberwocky Market. This semi-autobiographical and timely production tells the story of an Israeli man brought up in a Jewish settlement build on occupied Palestinian territories. Told with biting wit and passion, this cabaret performance featuring drag, original songs and physical storytelling was heralded a success on its debut and has since gone on to win universal acclaim. The Observer called it ‘Brilliant… Breathlessly inventive’.

Photo: Selma Dimitrijevic
Darlington-born actor and playwright Gary Kitching brings his brand new show to Jabberwocky Market after a successful season at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Dead to Me (Saturday 4 October – Voodoo Café), is a dark, yet funny tale of a man named Steven and his visit to a local psychic. He quickly discovers, sometimes the dead can be easier to deal with. 


The Incredible Book Eating Boy

Children aged 4+ will have the opportunity to enjoy a live adaptation of Oliver Jeffers award- winning book, The Incredible Book Eating Boy.  Performed for just two people at a time, this intimate performance of the much-loved book transports audiences inside the bedroom of Henry, The Incredible Book Eating Boy. Watch as Henry discovers there’s a downside to his never-ending appetite for eating books.

Another event for families and children aged 8+ is Fish/Girl, a brand new adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. On a stormy night in a seaside town, a local girl finds a stranded Mer Prince and helps him back into the water. Her feelings so strong for the creature, she follows it into the unknown. Audiences are invited to provide feedback on this unfinished work when it appears at Jabberwocky Market.

Folk in a Box

A music performance like no other, Folk in a Box (Saturday 4 October - Market Place) is just that – a one on one folk music venue in a wooden box. Created by Emily Barker and Dom Coyote, audience members enter, one at a time, through a small door to experience one song, from one musician. Its simplicity makes it so special. Having travelled across the world and back again, it’s now coming to Darlington as part of Jabberwocky Market and will feature local folk musicians.

Another exciting element of this year’s Jabberwocky Market is the appearance of a pop-up
Fun Palace (Saturday 4 October - Market Place).  A global celebration of arts, science and learning, more than 100 Fun Palaces will appear across the UK and the world on Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 October in celebration of theatre director Joan Littlewood’s centenary, who together with architect Cedric Price, devised Fun Palaces.  These pop-up spaces can be anything the public wants them to be. It’s a fun environment for the people of Darlington to get creative.

Theatre Ad Infinitum –
Ballad of the Burning Star
Photo: Alex Brenner
In addition to all the live performances and workshops, Jabberwocky Market will also be hosting a panel discussion looking at ‘How social conflict affects the development of theatre’. Stella Hall, artistic director of
Darlington’s Festival of Thrift, will chair the discussion with panel members including Nir Paldi, artistic director of Theatre Ad Infinitum (Ballad of a Burning Star). Additional panelists from across the world will join the discussion via Skpe.

Created especially for the people of
Darlington, Jabberwocky Market is designed and run by theatre producers from the town, in partnership with internationally acclaimed partners and performances. The festival hub will open from Thursday 18 September with performances taking place everyday.

Jabberwocky Market is part of the Collaborative Touring Network, seven producers from across the UK coming together to present inspiring performances from Battersea Arts Centre and local producers to a new generation of theatre-goers. Jabberwocky Market is also supported by Creative Darlington, Darlington Borough Council, Darlington for Culture and local people and businesses. 

On the web



This autumn’s Jabberwocky Market runs from Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 October. For details of all the events and performances at this year’s festival, and to book tickets, please visit

Pay it forward tickets will be returning this year. Simply purchase an additional ticket and the ‘PAY IT FORWARD’ ticket will be made available to someone that couldn’t otherwise attend. Audiences will also be invited to ‘pay what you can’ at select performances throughout the festival. 


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