I was gifted two tickets to this event in exchange for my honest review. This is no way affects my opinions on the event.
It is no secret that I love Darlington Hippodrome. I’m a frequent visitor and work with the wonderful team there regularly. When they offered me an opportunity to come along and check out their Archive Tour and Queen Tea, I leapt at the chance. I took my nana along with me and we had a wonderful afternoon exploring the history of the theatre.
The tour begins with a little bit about the history of the theatre. It has been around for well over 100 years so there is plenty to share in this department. While I loved hearing all about this, I really adored hearing about all of the details they have chosen to honour and remember with the most recent renovations. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for all of the details with every visit from now on in! I particularly loved the use of new technology to honour this as the moving videos really brought the history to life.
From there, we were lucky enough to be taken behind the scenes of the theatre which was a real treat. From the dressing room to backstage, we were truly allowed to peak behind the curtains and find out about everything that is usually a secret to an audience!
My favourite part of this section of the afternoon was seeing the back of the safety curtain however. If you look closely, you can see remnants from some of the past shows, including these not so subtle reminders of recent pantos at the theatre.
After this, we were also shown some of the historical displays that are open to the public. These detail everything from the history of pantomime itself, famous figures who have visited the Hippodrome and some fantastic modern art that is inspired by the history of the theatre.
Just look at this recreation costume from a local student!
My absolute favourite part of the whole event however was seeing the items from the archives. We saw everything from some of the old programmes…
To the notebooks of Signor Pepi himself!
Let me tell you: reading through this was not a moment that I am going to forget in a hurry. It was a real treat and something I would highly recommend any lover of history or theatre does if they can!
Finally, we returned to the ground floor for our ‘Queen Tea’. With fresh scones, jam and cream, this was a lovely pick me up after building our step count on our tour. I chose to have mine with a pot of tea because it felt like the moment for a traditional cream tea if ever there was one.
Both my nana and I agreed that this was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and a treat we would like to replicate in the future. It was a real delight to see behind the curtain and to have the exceptionally welcoming and knowledgeable Hippodrome staff on hand for a couple of hours. If this sounds like your cup of tea, it is not to late to book your tickets for Tuesday or Wednesday (or to keep an eye out for any tour dates later in the year). If you would like any more information, you can check out the details here.
Thank you so much for having us Darlington Hippodrome!