A NEW contemporary dance piece was rehearsed on location for the first time on Thursday in preparation to celebrate the 195th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

The piece which is in two sections titled 1825: Arrival and 1825: Plate Layers was choreographed by Debbie Harbin and will be performed by Joe Delaney, Olivia Paddison, Ellen Spence, Michaela Wate and Darrien Wright.

The new contemporary dance was commissioned by Darlington Borough Council and was to have been premiered in front of a live audience on Sunday – the anniversary of the first journey by a steam locomotive to run on a public railway on 27 September 1825.

While the live performance has had to be postponed due to restrictions around Covid-19, the piece will be filmed on location this weekend to be released on the Head of Steam’s social media channels as part of the anniversary celebrations.

Choreographer Debbie Harbin who leads regular dance sessions at Darlington Hippodrome said “It’s been uplifting to focus on the anticipation and excitement amongst people 195 years ago and how strange it must have felt to have never seen a passenger train before. Industry drastically changed our lives and it was a real pivotal point for workers.

"We hope to bring out the passion this town has for its heritage within these performance pieces."

Councillor Andy Keir, said: “Celebrating this historic occasion in such an exciting and creative manner underlines the talents and vision of the people of Darlington. This marks the start of the countdown to the 200th anniversary celebrations and the ambitious plans for the future of our railway heritage.”