• Latest Grade 2 listed heritage site for our team
  • Will create better venue to attract best acts
  • Part of LA trend to restore Grade 2 property to improve revenue
  • Underlines track-record restoring heritage property

Our team of Grade 2 and heritage experts are restoring Darlington's 109-year-old theatre back to its former glory; creating a bigger and better entertainment venue.

This stage has hosted some of the biggest acts in showbiz

Big name acts

The theatre was built in 1907 and opened its doors as the New Hippodrome & Palace of Varieties. It was soon established as a premiere music hall, attracting internationally acclaimed artists such as the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Over the years more famous names have appeared, including Tommy Cooper, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rex Harrison, Dame Vera Lynn and Mickey Rooney

The tired facility now needs a major overhaul and we are going to enlarge seating capacity, improve backstage facilities, introduce a new restaurant area and a grand entrance, transform the neighbouring former fire station into a children’s theatre, and sweep away a century of add-ons and extensions.

Seating capacity will be enlarged

Procured via Scape Group under its Major Works framework for better efficiency, it follows similar projects of cultural significance we are involved in, including restoring Alexandra Palace, creating the History Centre in Plymouth and fitting out the Design Museum’s new home.

It also underlines a trend by local authorities to invest in their heritage properties and bring Grade 2 listed buildings back to full use again to increase revenue streams.

Array of improvements

When complete, the newly named Hippodrome will become a key destination for the region, with greater legroom on the seats, improved sightlines and a fully functioning 1,000 seat auditorium. Also, a new entrance will create a buzz along with better back stage areas to accommodate larger touring shows.

Little has changed in 100 years - until now!

Importantly, we’re also preserving the theatre's heritage by restoring much of its Edwardian features, with a heritage gallery offering a permanent record of the theatre’s colourful history.

In addition to the improvements, our restoration will be complemented by the creation of a 150-seat studio theatre called The Hullaballoon, funded by Arts Council England and Darlington Council. Connecting the Civic theatre to the neighbouring Edwardian former fire station, this will be a flagship theatre for children offering opportunities for collaborative working with the Civic by staging events specifically for children, young people and families.

The local paper meets our team on site

The theatre closed in May 2016 and will reopen in autumn 2017, under the new name of Darlington Hippodrome.

Bigger, better

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure:

“Residents can rest assured that, behind the scenes, work is underway to transform this wonderful venue into an even bigger player on the regional theatre stage. It will lead to a host of improvements to the iconic venue including better disabled access and larger bar area.

What’s in store for Darlington once the theatre re-opens?

  • New facilities will be added including a café-bar which will be open all day.
  • A heritage gallery will offer a permanent record of the theatre’s colourful history and will also enable local and national artists to display their works.
  • There will be improved disabled access within the theatre including a lift to all seating levels.
  • There will be improvements to the backstage areas allowing the theatre to accommodate larger touring shows and expand its range of activities involving youth and education work.
  • The two adjoining premises on Parkgate have been secured as part of the project enabling the footprint of the theatre to expand, offering vastly improved box office and public circulation spaces.
  • New heritage seating will be installed providing greater legroom and improved sightlines
  • The restoration will be complemented by the creation of The Hullaballoon (funded by Arts Council England together with Darlington Borough Council), a flagship theatre for children, next door to Darlington Civic Theatre.

Contact us


Bebe House, Dukesway, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear

NE11 0PZ

0191 482 4824