ArtsSpark Youth Theatre and Youth Dance

ArtsSpark Youth Theatre and Youth Dance classes provide a fun creative environment for young people aged five and over to participate in quality theatre and dance activities leading to regular performance opportunities across the region. Led by professional practitioners, sessions focus on developing excellent performance skills and technique as well as building teamwork, trust, and communication skills, building confidence and self esteem.

Our sessions take place at Hummersknott Academy, a secondary school located to the west of Darlington. Hummersknott Academy provides excellent workshop and performance spaces for our sessions, with plenty of free parking. The children and young people who take part also have access to opportunities at the Civic Theatre, including discounted theatre tickets, the chance to take part in workshops from visiting theatre companies and performance opportunities at the Civic Theatre.

Recent opportunities have included:

Performances opportunities at various Festivals and events regionally and nationally including:

  • East Midlands Regional Youth Theatre Festival
  • Darlington Civic Theatre
  • The Arc in Stockton
  • Dance City Newcastle
  • Middlesbrough Theatre
  • Middlesbrough Town Hall

They have also performed alongside the professionals in recent Civic Theatre shows such as

  • To Sir, With Love
  • Goodnight Mr Tom
  • Jiving With The Swing Kings
  • The Good Old Days of Musical Hall and Variety
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Theatre Hullabaloo's Spirit's of the Sea (voiceover opportunity)

Workshop opportunities with professional Theatre and Dance companies:

  • Duka Dance (a South African based Dance Company),
  • Balletboyz
  • Pilot Theatre Company
  • The Touring Consortium Theatre Company
  • Frantic Assembly
  • Blind Summit
  • The Suggestibles
  • Ian Stapleton (Stage Combat)
  • Angel Exit Theatre


Youth Theatre sessions

We have a number of Youth Theatre sessions available tailored for specific age groups exploring a range of theatre techniques and styles. Our sessions start with warm up games and exercises, to engage the creative energy of the group and develop strong focus and teamwork, essential to theatre making. The sessions then move on to explore specific skills and theatre styles such as trust work, characterisation, text, devising, physical theatre, improvisation and much more!

5-7 year olds (school years 1-2) – Thursdays – 4.30-5.30pm (£27.50 per term)
7-10 year olds (school years 3-5) – Thursdays – 5.30-7.00pm
10-13 year olds (school years 6-8) – Thursdays - 5.00-6.30pm
13+ years (school years 9+) – Wednesdays - 7.15-8.45pm

Youth Dance Sessions:

Mix It Up Dance
Mondays 4.30-5.30pm - Ages 7-11 (£27.50 per term)

This fun, energetic dance class introduces children to lots of different dance styles, from musical theatre to contemporary to street dance, whilst developing a strong foundation of skills and techniques. It stretches the creative imaginations of the children and encourages them to develop their own choreography. This is a fantastic class for children new to dance, or those who just can't stop moving! Led by Debbie Waistell.

Contemporary Dance
Wednesdays 4.30-6.30pm - ages 11-14 
Wednesdays 6.30-8.30pm - ages 14-18

This energetic class with Debbie Waistell will teach you all the basic dance skills and techniques you need to get creative, and have a go at choreographing your own work. A great class for those that want to develop strong dance skills with a possible view to a career in dance. All abilities welcome.

Term Dates Spring 2017

Term starts:  16 January 2017 (Contemporary dance starts the week of 11 January) 
Half term: 20 February 2017
Last week of term: 27 March 2017


How do I join?

All courses are priced at £37.50 per term, unless otherwise stated. New starters are invited to attend the first session prior to paying so they can try before they buy, after which full payment for the term will be required. Concessionary rates are available for young people in possession the Healthy Darlington Everyone Card, providing a 25% discount. Young people who attend more than one course per term, will receive a 25% discount on their second course.

If you would like to join, please have a read over our Information Pack first. This explains what young people can expect from our sessions, and what we expect from our participants. There is no audition process, and you don't need to have any previous experience. All you need is commitment, enthusiasm, and energy! Please contact the Box Office on 01325 486555 to check availability and reserve your place for the term. You will also need to fill in a booking form - available from the first session.

Sessions take place at Hummersknott Academy located at: Edinburgh Drive, Darlington, Co Durham DL3 8AR

For further information, please contact Lyndsey Middleton, Audience Development and Participation Officer, on 01325 405510 or

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01325 486555

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