Thoughts On... Darlington Civic Theatre

Thoughts On... Darlington Civic Theatre

13 November 2015

This week Brave New World is playing at Darlington Civic Theatre. The Civic has touched generations of theatregoers with national tours, pantomimes and variety, as well as supporting many local amateur arts groups to bring their work to packed houses. In honour of Brave New World's home this week, our young reporters asked audience members: what does the Civic mean to you and how can it attract new audiences?

Darlington CivicWe asked our young reporters to randomly interview audience members at the opening night of Brave New World. We wanted to find out more about the audience there and their relationship with the theatre. People were very vocal of their support for theatre and sustaining drama audiences. We've picked out the responses we think are the most interesting to Darlington and the theatre industry at large.

Thoughts on... the Darlington Civic Theatre

"I always find a trip to the Darlington Civic very inspiring. It inspires me to promote culture to a wider audience and it also inspires me to be more creative! The theatre itself is gorgeous and it is part of Darlington's rich heritage with an even brighter future ahead of it!"  - Grace Wakes 

“It’s brilliant, I love it! We love the theatre generally and we particularly love coming here I think the Civic is very important because we haven’t got a theatre anywhere else in the region”

"We have been coming to the Civic Theatre since 1966, and even more so since the Globe Theatre in Stockton closed down; I remember watching Buddy Holly perform there. Though the types of shows here at the Civic have changed over the years, we are regular patrons and it is very important to the area." Brian and Audrey Heppenstall 

“It’s a really really nice theatre it’s got a really cool aesthetic this theatre is amazing it’s one of my favourite things about Darlington”

Thoughts on... attracting new audiences 

I think a lot of people our age don't think it's for them, it's not the cool thing to go to the theatre which is a shame because nobody really understands when you say 'I saw a really great play', they're say 'oh right, that's boring'.

I think that's very much the case, it's the experience of theatre and getting them in in the first place. I remember a production last year and there were a lot of kids coming who had never come to the theatre before and they were all saying 'this was amazing, I want to come to the theatre again'. I felt quite privileged to see the effect on young people that wouldn't have thought of coming to the theatre. 

I think having performances that are a bit more cutting edge which break down that barrier helps. I think people have the idea that theatre is quite old fashioned, and when you come and see new interesting staging which uses music, which uses choreography, doesn't have the old-fashioned sets where someone goes in a door and comes out a door 

I think at the minute having theatre showings at the Odeon is really good because it's cheaper and people will be more likely to watch. I know it's not quite the same as seeing it in a live theatre, but it will get people interested and potentially get them into theatre. Our English teachers were encouraging people who often wouldn't have gone, and they did go and watch it. They also have popular actors which definitely drive young people in.  

I think perhaps schools can bring children more often and let them discover it themselves. If they enjoy it then it’s something they’ll continue to want to experience.