Darlington Hippodrome (formerly Darlington Civic Theatre) is currently undergoing a £12 million restoration, reopening in autumn 2017.
The theatre was formally opened as the New Hippodrome and Palace of Varieties on Monday 2 September 1907. Signor Rino Pepi, the enigmatic managing director of the theatre presented a programme headed by Marie Loftus, ‘the greatest of all comediennes’, and, over the years, many stars have trodden the boards here, including Anna Pavlova, Tommy Cooper, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rex Harrison, Dame Vera Lynn, Sir Anthony Sher, Janet Suzman and more recently Hollywood stars Mickey Rooney, Linda Grey and Dirk Benedict.
Today, the theatre remains a credit to the town of Darlington and is a treasured landmark, a well-respected and sought after venue for national touring companies and is firmly rooted in the local community, supporting many local amateur arts groups to bring their work to packed houses.
"Darlington Civic Theatre is a beautiful Edwardian Theatre. The theatre attracts the biggest names in the theatre world and is a sought after venue for national touring. The current programme features musicals, comedy, opera, dance, quality drama, young people's theatre and pantomime. It is a much-loved venue and the source of profound civic pride. The theatre has been involved with The Touring Consortium Theatre Company since the outset, giving us the opportunity to bring quality drama to Darlington, shape the innovative education programme which has accompanied all of the work produced by the Touring Consortium Theatre Company and to derive the benefits of that work in helping to stretch the tastes of existing audiences and to build new audiences."