THE LAUNCH of a major festival brought shoppers to a standstill today (Thursday, September 19).

The team behind the upcoming Jabberwocky Market theatrical festival brought a touch of drama to Darlington as they entertained crowds in the town’s covered market.

A market stall was transformed into a hub of creative activity for the launch, which featured performances from Hummersknott Academy pupils as well as opportunities to meet and greet artists and performers taking part in the festival.

Jabberwocky Market – which takes its name from the creature invented by Croft-born author Lewis Carroll – is a four-day celebration of theatre staged by the internationally-acclaimed Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) at venues throughout Darlington.

Festival producer Caroline Pearce said: “It is something different for the town.

“Today has been a lot of fun, there has been a lot of interest from shoppers and stall-holders, even our rehearsals were getting applause.

“Every day from now until the festival starts, we will have something going on at the covered market and that is what this is all about, connecting with the local community.

“A lot of the artists in the festival are connected to the area somehow and we want to encourage more people from the area who really love theatre to get involved, either through watching or through joining in.”

As well as featuring performances produced by the world-renowned Battersea Arts Centre, the festival seeks highlight the North-East’s wealth of artistic talent.

Darlington company OddManOut Theatre will perform troubled-teen drama Weather to Fly, while a poetry event hosted by Middlesbrough’s Smokestack Books will see North-East poets including Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby present their work.

Many other North-East artists, writers and performers will be showcased at the event, which will take place from Thursday October 3 until Sunday October 6.

Venues throughout Darlington are taking part in Jabberwocky Market, with The Forum, The Quakerhouse, Voodoo Café and Hummersknott Academy all hosting performances.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit or follow @JabbMarket on twitter.

Anyone who is interested in performing at the festival can email

Tickets are now on sale, with an option to purchase a ‘suspended ticket’ which will be donated to someone otherwise unable to attend.