HUNDREDS of talented people – aged from five upwards – took part in a long-running performing arts festival in Darlington.

The Darlington Festival for Performing Arts took place at Hummersknott Academy on two consecutive weekends earlier this month.

About 300 competitors took part in a wide range of classes across music, speech and drama disciplines.

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The festival was first held in 1932 and previous competitors include Sacriston-born actress Wendy Craig.

Music classes were held on Saturday, March 1, with drama competitions the following week.

Linda Lawson, secretary of the organising committee, said: “We quite often find the music weekend is busier than the speech and drama classes.

“We had quite a few choirs taking part, which really boosts the numbers.

“We were quite busy on both weekends, but there is still room for improvement.

“The appeal of the festival is right across the board, we had competitors aged as young as five or six, all the way up to adults."

Trevor Daynes, co-ordinator of the music classes, added: “People come from all over the North-East to take part, there is a great deal of talent out there.”

Among those to enjoy success at the festival were youngsters from the Viveca Bradshaw singing academy and Voiceworks choir, both in Darlington, as well as Singing Sue’s Vocal Academy, in Billingham, which claimed 23 first places in various classes.