GLADIATORS, GOLDILOCKS AND ‘GOLD’ HIT-MAKER ON WAY TO REVAMPED VENUE

AN exciting line-up of music, comedy and children’s shows will hit the stage of a newly renovated Bishop Auckland Town Hall when it re-opens next year.

Work began this autumn on Durham County Council’s £1.5 million refurbishment of the town hall which will transform it into a thriving cultural hub. The venue, which is due to reopen in spring 2020, is being fitted with an improved layout and modern facilities, allowing for a more enticing programme of activities and events.

In advance of the reopening, details of the spring programme have been announced, including performances from an 80s heartthrob, sell-out stand-ups and fun for all the family, with tickets on sale now.

Actor, TV personality and Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp brings the biggest and best retro hits to town on Saturday 11 April at 8pm with Back to the 80s. The former EastEnder will be spinning a host of 80s favourites in the show, which is currently selling-out venues across the UK. Early booking is recommended for what promises to be a pure ‘Gold’ night, with tickets priced at £25.

A new season of comedy kicks off with the master of one-liners, Gary Delaney. The Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo regular will perform an extended set, as part of the Town Hall’s regular Hilarity Bites comedy night, on Saturday 18 April at 7.30pm. Gary will be joined by George Egg, whose anarchic cookery shows regularly sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe, and the first ever female winner of the prestigious Comedy Store King Gong award, Karen Bayley. Tickets for the evening are £20.

Families will enjoy an enchanting retelling of a classic children’s tale, when Talegate Theatre present Goldilocks and the Three Bears on Saturday 25 April. Two performances at 2pm and 6pm, will give the traditional story a new circus-themed twist, performed as a pantomime full of pop songs, magic and puppets. Can audiences help Goldilocks and her mum, Dame Dolly Donut, save their circus and rescue the three bears from the evil ringmaster?

This musical adventure is the latest offering from the production company that also brought the fantastic ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ to Bishop Auckland in previous seasons. Tickets for Goldilocks and the Three Bears are priced at £10, £8 concessions, with a family ticket available for two adults and two children for £32.

Families will also love exploring Roman life in the market town play area which forms part of Gladiators - A Cemetery of Secrets. The free touring exhibition, designed and developed by the team behind the world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre, tells the stories of two Romans whose remains were unearthed from an ancient mass burial during excavations in a York cemetery.

From Monday 6 April to Saturday 4 July, visitors can uncover the mystery surrounding the lives and deaths of the two men, who are thought to have been gladiators. Their remains will be displayed alongside a host of exciting Roman-age finds and replica helmets and armour.

Tickets for all events are available to book from the town hall’s new-look website at www.bishopaucklandtownhall.org.uk.