Monday 04 September marked 100 days until our new venue, The Hullabaloo, specially designed for young people and their families in the North East, will open to the public.
The ambitious project is located in Darlington and is the brainchild of Theatre Hullabaloo, in partnership with Darlington Borough Council, with support from Arts Council England. It will be the only specialist theatre of its type north of London.
The Hullabaloo is being built within an Edwardian Fire Station on a site adjacent to the newly named Darlington Hippodrome. The new venue will include a 150-seat studio theatre, creative play installation space, café area, workshop/ rehearsal space, dressing rooms, toilets and external play space.
Eight years ago Miranda Thain had a vision of a brighter future in the way theatre is created for young audiences and, in just 100 days time, that vision will become a reality in the North East.
“I can’t believe that this wonderful venue for children and families that we have been dreaming about for so long will soon be a reality. In just 100 days, The Hullabaloo will be welcoming the first children through its doors and becoming that place where their imaginations can run free in a place specially designed for them.” said Miranda Thain, Creative Producer at Theatre Hullabaloo.
“The Hullabaloo truly is vision-led. We are creating a space that is child-centred, where children are respected as an audience and where brilliant artists make great theatre and great places for them to play. What better way to communicate to children about how important their creative lives are than to build such a special place just for them?”
As a national centre of theatre for young audiences the venue will be more than a place to watch a show. It will be an inspiring place to play and learn, it will present world-class performances for children, house mind-blowing creative play installations, offer a wide range of creative opportunities and classes for families, and be a focal point for creative education.
The former base for Theatre Hullabaloo, Darlington Arts Centre closed in 2012 as part of the austerity cuts by local authorities. Following the sale of the arts centre in Darlington, the council committed some of the funds to investing in a theatre aimed at young audiences and have worked with the nationally recognised and pioneering organisation Theatre Hullabaloo, the north-east’s specialist producer of theatre for young audiences based in Darlington.
Since then a lot of ambitious regeneration has happened in Darlington, and although it has been a period of austerity it has presented the opportunity for The Hullabaloo to be developed and the project has managed to thrive.
“It was a very sad day when the arts centre closed and we all feared for the cultural life of the town, but we had the ambition and tenacity to dream of creating something world-class for future generation and our colleagues in the local authority shared our vision. Our collaboration has resulted in significant additional funds from Arts Council England which has created something really special, a place for imagination, that will benefit the whole of society,” said Miranda Thain, Creative Producer at Theatre Hullabaloo. “The arts and creativity have a fundamental role to play in the growth and development of children and their understanding of an increasingly complicated world. The Hullabaloo will be a great asset, not only to Darlington but the wider region, and the whole of the UK too, giving everyone the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts.”
Work began on site in June 2016 for an 18 month build period, alongside the restoration of Darlington Hippodrome and The Hullabaloo will open to the public on December 12 2017. The first performance will be Bear and Butterfly, our own production, which is a charming tale of changing friendship for everyone aged 4 and above.
The Hullabaloo is a partnership between Theatre Hullabaloo and Darlington Borough Council. The total cost for the capital development is £2.8m and is funded mainly through grants from Arts Council England and Darlington Borough Council, alongside funding from Trusts & Foundations but there is still funding to achieve