THE future of the arts in Darlington will be debated at an event on Tuesday (May 27) as part of the town's second arts festival.

Entitled The Future for Arts and Culture in Darlington: The Festival Debate, the event takes place at The Forum Music Centre, in Borough Road, at 6.30pm.

Organised by Darlington for Culture (DfC) and supported by Creative Darlington, this is a free event, and anyone is welcome to come along on the night.

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Peter Barron, editor of The Northern Echo, will chair the debate, with an expert panel comprising DfC chairman John Dean, Allison McKay from The Forum, Miranda Thain from Theatre Hullabaloo and Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for the arts.

There will also be full audience involvement, so the discussion promises to be a lively one.

Mr Dean said: “We hope that this will be a thought-provoking debate. It takes place at a time when public subsidies are being radically cut back and arts organisations are taking an ever-more proactive approach to planning and programming.

"These are times of drastic change and we hope that our debate will reflect the challenges being thrown down.”

DfC secretary Matt Roche, who has organised the event, added: "It feels like the important role of arts and culture in our town is increasingly understood.

"However, despite collective efforts to support the arts to flourish, the conditions for this remain fragile and their are many challenges ahead.

"By coming along and taking part in the debate local people can demonstrate how important they feel culture is to Darlington and offer their own opinion about the future."