See Tickets


News: A year of ingenuity for Darlington Hippodrome.




Moving forward, looking back: a year of ingenuity for Darlington Hippodrome.


On Monday 16th March 2020, Darlington Hippodrome temporarily closed its doors following official government guidance that advised people should avoid public buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


It's been a demanding and unpredictable year since then, but thanks to the theatre’s dedicated staff and most importantly, their loyal customers, there has been plenty to smile about and take part in over the last year.


The regular online Hippodrome Pub Quiz (without the pub!) has been the smash hit of the year. Marketing Officer Julian Cound has excelled as the genial host of the regular brain workouts. Julian has helmed 67 trivia streams which have seen over 4200 quizzers take part!


It’s been a challenge to keep active whilst we’ve been in lockdown but with the help of dance partners The D Project, the theatre has put on over 50 dance fitness sessions for adults. The Monday Movers session for the over 65s has proven particularly popular. The kids have been alright too with 130 youth theatre and dance sessions taking place onstage (when restrictions allowed) and online.


Senior House Manager Andy Hutchinson-Clish took us on a virtual tour around the Hippodrome’s usually off-limits backstage areas and led viewers on a virtual ghost tour (the theatre has so many ghosts this required two videos!). These videos have racked up over 10,400 views.


The Hippodrome’s two charities of the year, St Teresa’s Hospice and Darlington Samaritans, have been the recipients of the continued generosity of the theatre’s following. Over the last year, participants in our Hippodrome Pub Quiz have donated £315 to Darlington Samaritans. In early December 2020, a group of staff (and a few dogs) ran the St Teresa’s Hospice Santa Fun Run dressed as Santas, raising an incredible £1290 to help the hospice continue the vital work they do.


And it’s not just external charities that have experienced the kindness of the theatre-going public - a staggering £20,000 has been donated to the theatre by customers.


People have also been able to enjoy classic cinema screenings, book clubs, artist masterclasses, literary livestreams, a digital careers fair, and life drawing sessions.


There is hope on the horizon for the return of live events and the Hippodrome team are working hard to continue their innovative programme of online events whilst planning an exciting programme of public events both inside and outside the theatre.


Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for local services said “The theatre has faced a tough year but managed to keep the public engaged with an exciting and regular programme of events and activities. The generosity of the public towards the theatre’s chosen charities and the theatre itself has been heart-warming and commendable. There is some light at the end of the tunnel and I’m sure we all can’t wait until we’re able to enjoy the Hippodrome again in person.”


Keep up to date with what’s going on at the theatre by following them on social media:


Facebook: DarlingtonHippodrome

Twitter: @DarlingtonHipp

Instagram: @DarlingtonHippodrome


Find out what’s on:

Getting your event into print - Our observations

 Getting your event into print

Our observations

Why do some press releases appear in print or online almost immediately and others get delayed or not appear at all? This is by no means an authoritative guide. Hell no. But we are on the receiving end of an awful lot of publicity material so we get to see the good, the bad and the ugly. If you will humour us for a moment we will go through our observations.

We have all missed live shows over the past year. The email box has also been eerily quiet. Fortunately things will be reopening soon. When it does start the creatives out there will need an audience and so they’ll need to publicise their event. Many people are doing it themselves. Given the costs this is understandable. There are some things that you can do which will help the word go out.

We spotted many of these back in our radio days. As our show was on the air we could see the press releases and announcements coming in the station’s email inbox. Some were very well made and easy to  use, others were awfully cryptic. 

Now you might say “I have given you the information, surely you now need to use this to write your own story”. Fair point but then you should not be surprised when the local paper ignores your event. Most newspapers now have very small staff teams and they, like us, prefer copy that can drop straight in, with little adjustment. We know this is the case, as we have read many a press release in our newspapers, and on their websites, that we have also received and which have been copied verbatim by the local press. We do it too. It is a time thing.

This is not an exhaustive list. It isn’t a definitive list. It may be a pretentious list. Who knows?

  1. Please don’t send a secure PDF. Your press release does not need to be secure. The whole point is that you want the recipient to be able to copy it. We are not fans of PDF press releases. A normal doc is preferred.

  2. Do include at least one image with your release. This could be a link to a folder in the cloud (Dropbox, OneDrive etc). Images make a story fly. We like images. Images help circulation figures. More people will see your story if there is an image.

  3. Please give your photographer credit. We like to give credit to all creatives involved.


  5. Start the press release with clear information about your event. Who, where, when etc.

  6. Include some quotes from those involved. Why are you doing this show? How do you feel about it? Please don’t just ask if we would like to interview the team. 

  7. At the end of your release it is an idea to have a brief summary for listings. We know that you’ve probably said it already but it does make life easier and increases the chance of a listing. Ideally: what, where (including address if it is not a regular venue), when, starting time, ticket price, ticket purchasing details.

  8. You’d be surprised how many releases we get that neither feature a ticket link nor a website address for readers to follow up their interest. The benefit of writing an online article is that you can send the potential customer to the direct ticket page with a single click. The fewer clicks that the customer has to press between reading the article and landing on the ticket page the better - they are more likely to buy tickets.

  9. In addition to a direct ticket link you will want to give a link to a more general page - your website and/or social media channel(s). Please give a working link rather than just @thisismyusername.

  10. Despite what we said in point 6: do state if anyone is available for interview. Also do say if there is a publicity photography/filming opportunity, or if press tickets are available for a review. If you offer press tickets then please ensure the review gets a listing of the cast and creatives (this could be a copy of the programme, though it doesn’t have to be).

  11. Write the main text of the press release as you’d expect to read it in the newspaper. If you write it in first person then someone has to go through it and change the text. This takes time and reduces the chance of publication. The publicitists who effectively write the article in the third person are the ones we spot in the papers.

  12. Keep dates simple and in full. Monday 17th June 2021 is preferred to Mon 17 Jun or Monday the 17th June. Why do people put “the” in dates on press releases? We have never fathomed that one out.

  13. Don’t send the press release out last minute. In normal times we are often out reviewing (or doing the day job) most nights and so we need time to plan when we are putting previews out. There is not much we can do if you send it to us the night before and we are out covering another show. 

  14. Do get to know us. The north east is a small place. We are nice people. We want culture in the north east to succeed. We are not a faceless mega-corp. We also have family and day jobs that sometimes turn into night jobs and that can mean we don’t get to see your event. Sorry about that. Hopefully we will get to see you next time. 

We’ll never forget the publicity person hired in by a smaller theatre that wrote us a snotty message suggesting that we had missed the press night for their panto as we must have gone to the big panto in Newcastle. In actual fact it was a parent’s evening at school that night, and we had sent out wonderful guest reviewers to both the small theatre and the big show in town. 

We have written this to help people. Hopefully it will work and you’ll sell out even if you did all of the publicity yourself.