The festival from 28 September – 3 October 2016 was special because the original funding had only been for six seasons and here we were launching a new three year programme of activity, and this time we were working in loads more partnerships.
The season began back at The Forum, where we had launched season one in 2013, this time featuring a core show, DenMarked by Conrad Murray, followed by popular local band, Weekend Sun, in partnership with new collective Tracks.
Alongside the main shows, every day of the festival featured an opportunity to have a 5 minute headphone encounter with the International Archive of Things Left Unsaid, recorded using binaural beat technology to induce calming brainwaves in the listener.
On Friday evening, The Trouble with Compassion by Kirsten Luckins, a conversational performance about kindness was at Polam Hall, was followed by the ever popular Scratch Night which we handed over to OddManOut Theatre to present a plethora of new writing-in-progress to an audience for feedback and discussion. The Jabberbar was back helping the festival feel, providing thirsty theatre lovers with refreshments throughout the weekend.
Saturday saw the beginning of two extremely fun and creative days, as the Jabbering Fun Palace began. Starting with Big Little Gigs featuring beatbox master, Conrad Murray and his cru. Later in the day artist Rhiannon Armstrong’s Can I Help You which involved her walking around the town centre lending a hand to those who needed it; whilst at Be Premiere hair salon another event was taking place, Ask A Hairdresser, in which the public were invited to come in, sit down and ask a hairdresser ANYTHING.
Both shows on the Saturday evening were moving and powerful epics in their own right, Labels a story of migration and social stereotyping and The 56 a true life story of community spirit in the event of a tragedy.
Concluding a fantastic weekend, the Panel Discussion was hosted by Steve Gilroy, exploring the themes, of Truth and Compassion; whilst children and families tried out our Story Café and Jabber(breakfast)Bar.
Sunday afternoon offered the relaxing experiences at the Quaker Meeting House, including a Perfect Day with Kirsten Luckins, and the Public Self Care System with Rhiannon Armstrong, gently easing audiences, artist and our team back into the real world.
Season six was the first time we ran a series of events instead of a festival and it was a brilliant way to welcome in our 4th year of Jabberwocky Markets.
In March we hosted Second Hand Dance’s show, Grass at Darlington’s Cattle Market with a big event for children and families.
Later that month came Touretteshero with Backstage in Biscuit Land at Teesside University’s Darlington campus, The Forge.
In April we presented a work-in-progress of a brand new play, Empire of the Rats, by Van Badham, directed by Selma Dimitrijevic and produced for Jabberwocky Market by Luxi.
Our last major event of the season was Sean Mahoney’s Until You Hear That Bell presented first at Darlington Boxing and Martial Arts Academy and then at the Dolphin Centre.
Each event included two performances of the main show, the Jabberbar and Gift Shop and activities for audiences. Later in the spring we started to take Jabberwocky Markets to other events and venues around the town and thanks to new funding we will be doing more of that for the next three years.
The fifth season was a festival from 1-4 October 2015 with an incredible line up and more brilliant new venues, including Crown Street Library and Inside Out nightclub. Featuring:
The Jabbervan returned, this time it was slightly newer and a lot more silver, again painted and decorated with our own bare hands. It doubled up as the Jabberbar and was a great success, it'll certainly not be the last you see of it.
The Festival Launch show included wonderful performances from locally based, well known artists; Mush, Kate Fox and Flex Dance whilst Scratch Night also took place at Polam’s Liddiard Theatre and featured dance pieces from Yuvel Soria and Celeste Hay, theatre company Less Is More Productions and theatre collective, Fun in the Oven.
Our Fun Palace included free events Ask A Scientist at Voodoo Cafe with Durham University’s, Dr Lorraine Coghill and Physical Literature on High Row with Darlington based artist, Kirsten Yates. We supported the launch of a great new event, Kids Gigs in Crown Street Library (now known as Big Little Gigs), a music concert for 0-10 year olds. And featured it all in our new freesheet, the Jabberzine.
Jabbering Theatre Club came back after THIS IS HOW WE DIE in the basement of Inside Out nightclub with Maddy Costa and also our customary Panel Discussion took place in Be Premiere hair salon, where we considered what it means to be World Class, the Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre, David Jubb, businessman Haani Hasnain, Bill Vince from Arts Council and chaired again by Maddy Costa.
People could get involved in workshops including Tea with the Munitionettes at Age UK by Fun in the Oven Theatre, and Teacher's Masterclass at the Quaker Meeting House with Danny Braverman FRSA.
The fourth season was a successful festival 26-29 March 2015, for the first time being based all in one venue as our main theatre, the Quaker Meeting House. The line up included:
Gloriator by Spitz & Co
The Frights by Alphabetti Theatre
Lorraine and Alan by Bucket Club
Scratch moved across the road to Quaker Meeting House and featured extracts of Wasted by Nicola Cameron, of The Palace of Varieties by Chris Stewart and of Fat-Free, Sugar-Free, Child-Free by Byrnes and Lofthouse.
1:1 Surgeries with industry coach and expert, Chris Grady
Cardboard Costume Making Workshop with Kate Eccles
No 47 Project brought an interactive vintage bus experience into the town centre.
Our panel discussion looked at why we tour theatre and the benefits for artists and audiences; chaired by our young advisor, Ayla Huseyinoglu, the panel included Katie Duffy, Touring Producer at Battersea Arts Centre, Amy Golding, Artistic Director of Curious Monkey Theatre of Newcastle and Bucket Club.
This season, instead of the festival hub, we launched the popular Jabbervan as a hub for tickets and information.
The third season took place over the weekend of 2-5 October 2014 featuring
Fish/ Girl: What the little mermaid found out about the world by Make/Shift Projects
Solas Fae by The D Project
Folk in a Box by Emily Barker & Dom Coyote
Ballad of the Burning Star by Theatre Ad Infinitum
Dead to me by Gary Kitching & Co with Greyscale
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Bootworks theatre
Our popular Scratch night returned with performances of To Get To The Other Side by Lost the Plot Theatre, an extract of A Christmas Carol by Chris Foot-Wood and Empire of the Rats by Van Badham and Carl Kennedy for Jabberwocky Jam.
Fun Palaces took over Darlington's Market Square with an Arts Assault Course of events.
We held a panel discussion on 'How Social Conflict Affects the Development of Theatre' chaired by Stella Hall FRSA, Artistic director of Festival of Thrift and featuring Nir Paldi from Theatre Ad Infinitum.
The Festival Hub was in our usual location at Darlington Indoor Market and events took place in the Cattle Market, Voodoo Cafe, Liddiard Theatre at Polam Hall, Darlington Crown Street Library and Darlington Market Place.
The second season happened from 15-18 May 2014 featuring
Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone by Greyscale,
Shame by John Berkavitch,
Team of the Decades by Will Dickie,
97 Years by Jo Hellier,
Major Tom by Victoria Melody
a rehearsed reading of Dear Mister Kaiser
We held a panel discussion on The Power of Personal Stories in Theatre chaired by Lynda Winstanley, Director of Darlington Civic Theatre, and featuring Jo Hellier, Will Dickie and John Berkavitch.
Workshops took place including community groups looking at their own stories with Flying Cloud Theatre, and professional performers working with Will Dickie on physical theatre techniques.
The Festival Hub was again in the Indoor Market, and events took place in Mercure Kings Hotel, Voodoo Cafe, Quaker Meeting House, Key Fitness Studio and a whole range of shows and events happened in spaces around the wonderful Civic Theatre.
The first season was a festival that ran 3-6 October 2013 featuring
Paper Cinema's Odyssey,
Polarbear's Mouth Open, Story Jump Out and
a workshop from Made in China,
along with performances from The Letter Room,
Peter Groom Dance Theatre,
Mark Robinson, Andy Willoughby, Bob Beagrie,
Odd Man Out and loads more.
A panel discussion on the topic of Epic in the Everyday was chaired by Katy Milne, Director of Creativity from Greenfield Arts and featuring the teams from Made in China and Flying Cloud Theatre.
Workshops took place led by Hannah Bruce, Odd Man Out Theatre, Flying Cloud Theatre and Made in China.
We launched a Hub in the Indoor Market and presented short shows there from local youth dance and theatre, community groups and professional performances.
The rest of the festival happened in great venues around Darlington including The Forum Music Centre, Voodoo Cafe, Quaker Meeting House, Hummersknott Academy and the Darlo Savoury Cafe.