AN arts festival to be staged in Darlington has received backing from the team working on a similar project in on the other side of the world.

Organisers of Darlington Arts Festival, which will be staged in May at a wide range of venues across the borough, have been in contact with officials in Darlington, Western Australia, which will hold its 50th anniversary arts festival later in the year.

The weekend-long festival, which will include arts exhibitions, entertainment, stalls and workshops, will be held in the hills a short drive from Perth.

When they heard Darlington Arts Festival was being planned, the Australian organisers offered their best wishes to their British counterparts.

Melanie Venables, secretary of the Australian Darlington Arts Festival, said: “This year is to be our 50th and this week we started the planning process that will take us through to the first weekend in November when the event will be held.

“As you can imagine, we will be trying to make this an extra special occasion and we are pleased to have had offers of support from a lot of the local community groups, which is a good start.

“Many of us on the committee have visited Darlington in the UK and wish you every success with your venture.”

John Dean, chairman of Darlington for Culture (DfC), who has sent a message of support from the Darlington Arts Festival committee to the Australian team, said: “As we prepare for our first Darlington Arts Festival, we take inspiration from the achievements of our counterparts in Australia as they prepare for their 50th.

“That is a remarkable achievement and one to be applauded and we wish them all good fortune in making it extra special.”

DfC committee member Yvonne Preston, one of the festival organisers, who spotted the link said: “It’s great to know that there are communities so far away who’s people place the same value on, and give support to, the arts and that they have been successful in their aims for so many years.”

The North East festival is being co-ordinated by Darlington for Culture (DfC), the group which speaks for arts and culture in the area, and many of the organisations and individuals supporting the event are reflected in the programme.

The festival will include more than 60 events. For more information, visit

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