A POPULAR festival of theatre is set to return to venues around Darlington next month.

The Jabberwocky Market will make its third appearance in Darlington from October 2 for four days of performances, workshops, talks and activities for audiences of all ages.

The theatrical event, which is designed and run by theatre producers from the town, is organised with internationally acclaimed partners and performers and features venues including the Civic Theatre, Voodoo Cafe and the Quaker Meeting House.

The festival hub will open to the public at Darlington’s Covered Market from Thursday, September 18, which will play host to a series of performances and events ahead of the official start of Jabberwocky Market.

The festival aims to bring high-calibre theatre and performance art not usually seen outside of London and Edinburgh to a wider audience in a relaxed setting.

The festival will open with Darlington-based dancer-choreographer Debbie Waistell, who will premiere of her latest show for children and families, Solas Fae, at the town’s cattle market.

Audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy the politically charged, Ballad of

the Burning Star, a semi-autobiographical story of an Israeli man brought up in a Jewish settlement built on occupied Palestinian territories, which will be performed at Polam Hall School on Saturday, October 4.

Darlington-born actor and playwright Gary Kitching will also bring his new show Dead to Me to Jabberwocky Market after a successful season at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with a performance at Voodoo Cafe.

A new addition to the Jabberwocky Market is the appearance of a pop-up Fun Palace in the Market Place on October 4, one of 100 Fun Palaces that will appear around the world on the same day to celebrate arts, science and learning.

There will also be a panel discussion looking at how social conflict affects the development of theatre, chaired by Stella Hall, artistic director of Darlington’s Festival of Thrift, with panel members including Nir Paldi, artistic director of Ballad of a Burning Star.

They will be joined by additional panelists from across the world to join the discussion via Skype.

For details of all the events and performances at this year’s festival, and to book tickets, visit jabberwockymarket.org.uk