PREPARATIONS are under way for a multi-venue arts festival, with organisers announcing the first details of events being staged as part of it.

Darlington Arts Festival, in May, will include more than 60 events, with more still to be added.

Organisers are promising a celebration of Darlington’s cultural and artistic talent.

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Co-ordinators Darlington for Culture (DfC) will work with Darlington Borough Council for the market place showcase event on Sunday, May 19.

The event, which will run between 10am and 3pm, will include an arts showcase designed to celebrate the variety of cultural activities on offer as part of the Darlington Arts Festival.

It will include stalls, workshops and entertainment, including music and dancing.

Other attractions forming part of the festival line-up include:

* A month-long literary festival based at Café Create and other venues, featuring readings, writing workshops and a book launch;

* A film festival to be run by Darlington Film Club, which is based at The Forum Music Centre, in Borough Road. This includes a screening of Clive Barker’s 1990 cult fantasy horror film Nightbreed, which has been restored by Russell Cherrington, Mr Cherrington and guests will take part in a question-and-answer session at The Forum, on Wednesday, May 8;

* A series of music events, including an appearance of the Northern Sinfonia Strings on Saturday, May 11, at Central Hall;

* A Lewis Carroll-inspired writing competition, with the challenge of writing a 1,500-word story entitled ‘The Riddle’.

John Dean, chairman of DfC, said: “The festival promises to be an exciting celebration of what this borough has to offer and is a terrific illustration of the work being done by individuals, groups, venues and businesses.

“There‘s a real momentum behind the festival and we are excited by the enthusiasm and creativity which people are showing.”

Yvonne Preston, DfC committee member and one of the organisers, added: “This is a chance for people to get involved in a showcase opportunity that is not to be missed.”

Creative Darlington and Darlington Borough Council are among the organisations supporting the festival.

Businesses and groups who would like a stall at the market showcase event, priced £20, should email listing what they are selling, as well as contact details.

For more information about the festival, visit