Little Ones at Jabberwocky Market

Cardboard Costume Making Workshop with Kate Eccles. Photo by Rich Kenworthy

In past seasons of Jabberwocky Market for families and children we have made cardboard costumes with Kate Eccles, danced with bugs as part of Second Hand Dance’s show Grass at the Cattle Market and in a tent in the Dolphin Centre we experienced Neverland from Tom Penn and Battersea Arts Centre.

Grass the event. Photo by Rich Kenworthy

This year we have BIG Little Gigs, Almost Always Muddy and exciting activities as part of Fun Palaces but more about that later…

This season’s Pop Up Theatre

This season the show Ross & Rachel will be popping up at the Roundabout, Market Place it is a show about what happens when a couple who is always meant to be together, get together and stay together.

The Castle Builder will pop up at the Liddiard Theatre at Polam Hall School it tells the true story of an inmate at a Norwegian psychiatric institute who over five years builds a castle, the show then spirals out into other tales of people building extraordinary structures. And that is not all whilst the show is on an invited maker will be constructing and will be sharing what they have made at the climax of the show.

Go to to purchase tickets & for more information.

Pop Up Theatre

For our Jabberwocky Markets we gather people together to experience stories and theatre in sometimes surprising venues.

Be Premiere, Photo by Richard Kenworthy
Jabberwocky Market 2013, Photo by Hugh Mortimer

This can include venues that feel like a traditional theatre like the Liddiard Theatre at Polam Hall School but we also like to shake things up like having the show Early Doors about a pub in the Hole in the Wall, and the show In Good Hands about hairdressing in Be Premiere. We have also popped up in empty shop units, Darlington Cattle Market, the Quaker Meeting House and the Darlington Boxing and Martial Arts Academy.

The Quaker Meeting House, Photo by Richard Kenworthy

This year we will be popping up at familiar places and a new venue at the Roundabout!

Behind-the-Artists at Jabberwocky Market: Kirsten Luckins

Kirsten Luckins_Jabberwocky Market

1. What does it mean to you to be sharing your story here at the Jabberwocky Market? 
In my experience as a punter, Jabberwocky Market is a really well-curated mixture of genuinely exciting theatre, including lots of work that incorporates or blurs boundaries with other forms of performance. It means a lot to be included on a high-quality programme. My piece is structured around poetry, so it is doubly exciting to be positioned among theatre-makers. 
2. It has been said, “People come to the theatre to see themselves.” How are you aiming to connect with people? What are you hoping they’ll take away from your show?
I’m very much here to entertain! My performance style is direct and conversational, and my show ‘The Trouble With Compassion’ is chock full of jokes at my own expense. It’s also got a fair few fun bits of audience participation – nothing scary, nothing that singles people out! But we do take a break half way through to listen to Motown and draw bad stick-figure portraits of one another! I hope people will go away feeling like they’ve laughed, and thought a little bit about how to be compassionate towards themselves and others. I don’t expect profound revelations, but I am often surprised by people who talk to me afterwards about how they’ve recognised their own behaviours  in my poems and stories.
3. What would you like us to know about you? 
You should know that there is a collection of poetry that goes alongside this show, that I’d love people to buy when the come to see me! It’s my first full collection, so it’s a big deal for me – probably less impressive for non-poets 🙂
4. How has your upbringing shaped who you are today? How have you incorporated it into your art?
I do make a joke at one point in the show about my middle-class guilt – in fact, there’s a whole poem about it, which is only partly joking. I think I’ve been brought up to be both sociable and honest, and I think this show relies on both of these qualities. <
5. What advice would you give young artists?
Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, because there are many more of them now than there were when I was younger. I grew up pre-internet, so I’m constantly amazed and grateful at how easy it is now to find out about groups, networks, classes, performances and all those wonderful things. I’d also say that even if you think you know what kind of artist you are, for example a poet, you should never dismiss the chance to learn other disciplines. It will all influence and inform your future work, so be interested in it all.

*FOR FUN* You’re on “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here” and you get to the final three. You’ve been eating beans & rice for weeks. You order your dream meal. ANY Starter, Main, Dessert, & a Drink. What do you order? 
Oh heck – probably a roast chicken dinner, with pear and chocolate pudding afterwards. I don’t drink, so that’s irrelevant, and I don’t want to spoil my appetite with a starter…
The Trouble with Compassion
Date: Friday, September 30, 2016
Time: 7:30pm (60 mins)
Location: Liddiard Theatre
Tickets: £10 / £7 (£12 on door)
Visit to purchase tickets & for more information.
Want more on Kirsten? Visit her site at

Pay It Forward

It’s a long time now since the concept of paying it forward became a screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-08-56-42thing. The Hollywood film from 2000 captured the zeitgeist of doing something lovely for someone else, with the possibility that sometime in the future you had some credit in the karma bank.  Read loads more about it on wikipedia – a site that you could say benefits from just this kind of support.

Then a few years later the world got Suspended Coffees – some genius realised the joy a free coffee could bring to someone who couldn’t afford it, a little bit of joy in a modern world where hot drinks are a ubiquitous luxury for the majority.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-08-58-07 screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-08-57-55




As part of Jabberwocky Market we have always been determind to find ways to make our events accessible to everyone, and we believe to our core that theatre can bring the world to our back door, explain life’s mysteries and be really fun to attend. We want to give that opportunity to anyone who wants to give it a try and one of the ways we can make this happen is the Pay It Forward tickets.

If you want to give it a go, just click our ticketing page, buy one or more PIF tickets for the concession rate of just £7 each, and we’ll do the rest.

If you would like to claim one of our PIF tickets, get in touch in one of the ways listed below, otherwise, we work with charities in Darlington to distribute the tickets.

Contact us on:
07583 655018
in person at the Jabbervan (town centre from 23-29 September)


Blogger gets her hands dirty making a theatre

Well hello there my dear Jabberwockies, your resident blogger Gemma Hirst  is back this year hoping to fill you in on the latest goings with the Jabberwocky Market events this season.

Gemma & Debi getting into the Cattle Market_Photo Jade Byrne
This is me in the pink scarf, with another volunteer, Debi. Photo by Jade Byrne

For those of who you may not know me, I am a third year journalism student at Sunderland University and Culture Editor of Kettle Magazine. I used to perform but now I prefer to be on this side of the stage reviewing theatre.

Usually working behind a laptop, I decided to get my hands dirty and go to the Jabberwocky Market to help turn the Cattle Market into a suitable performance space.

It was my first time in Darlington and I was looking forward to the work that had to be done. Arriving in the afternoon, I finally met Caroline and Jade (after only conversing via email) and they introduced me to the rest of the team who would be turning this place into a fabulous venue.

No messing around the Jabberwocky volunteers like to get to work straight away. The first task on the agenda was to clean and sweep out the auction ring (theatre and auditorium) to make sure it was spik and span, after a good measure of sweeping and elbow grease the place looked fit for Shakespeare.

RA & PPB getting in to Cattle Market_Photo by  Jade Byrne
Richard, Paul and Gwyl technically creating the theatre. Photo by Jade Byrne

We here at Jabberwocky want to make sure you feel as comfy as possible when you experience a show with us, so we turned the animal pens into a cafe like sitting area- decorating it with cardboard grass, flowers, plastic bugs and of course lots and lots of bunting for you guys to relax and talk about the fun shows that we have at Jabberwocky Market.

I had not realised how hard it is to turn an everyday cattle market into a theatre, well done to the team of volunteers who managed to make it look Jabberwocky ready.

For more information on Jabberwocky Market:

Boy and wasp dancing_Image Rich Kenworthy
The finished result. This boy loved the dancing wasps.
Image by Rich Kenworthy


Announcing events for spring 2016

jms6 show collage

Sorry for the break in updates, we’ve been working on a load of new ideas for Jabberwocky Markets in 2016 and they’re really exciting, so we’ll start to tell you now.

This is the line up for shows this spring.  Each show will sit within a bespoke event, so make sure you arrive early and plan to stay after the end of the show; we’ll bring along the Jabbervan and loads of things to see and do that complement the themes.

For details click onto our official site and from there you can book your tickets (most are on sale now, the others will be in the next few days).  The first show happens in 6 weeks, on 12th March.  It’s called Grass and has it’s own minisite with activities for children.

12 March   Grass
19-20 March  Backstage in Biscuit Land
1 April   Empire of the Rats
23-24 April  Until You Hear That Bell

Coming next…

The ink is barely dry on the last Jabberwocky Market, but we already have some news about what’s happening next.

From 2016 onwards you will see a slight change.  Jabberwocky Market Festival will continue, once a year in early October, with all the things we know and love – a Scratch Night, a launch party, panel discussion and a load of brilliant shows.  As well as that, throughout the year there will be all sorts of Jabberwocky Markets – one-off alternative theatre events, each featuring one show in a surprising venue with loads of related fun stuff.

Backstage in Biscuitland

One such Jabberwocky Market event is going to feature the tourettes hero herself, Jess Thom, bringing the much lauded Backstage in Biscuit Land to a Darlington venue near you on 19 & 20 March, 2016.  We’ll tell you more as soon as we can.  In the meantime, have a watch of this video:

And one more thing.  You can see Backstage in Biscuit Land on BBC4 on Saturday 15 November (9-11pm) as part of Live from Television Centre, alongside loads of other shows from our friends at Battersea Arts Centre.  Set your telly to watch and record – it will be awesome.

Award-winning theatre events in Darlington