The Friends of Darlington Civic Theatre support their local theatre as well as enjoying a host of benefits such as advance information and priority booking, ticket discounts, and social events including meet-and-greet opportunities with the stars. Soon to be named The Friends of the Hippodrome  to reflect the theatre's return to a version of its original name, the group looks forward to continuing this relationship in the new and improved venue. In this blog post, Secretary Rodney Burges tells us why he decided to name a seat at the Hippodrome.

"Over the years", writes Rodney,  "I have had the pleasure and privilege of visiting numerous theatres, some large and grand and others small and intimate. Of them all I have to say the Civic, or as we should call it by its 'new name', the Darlington Hippodrome has been my favourite because of its welcoming atmosphere engendered by the audiences that attend the shows and the thoughtfulness of all the staff.

"On a number of occasions when preparing to sit down on one’s seat for the night I have noticed that some of them have names attached to the top of the backrest.  I used to assume that the attached name was for 'one of the great and the good' being remembered or honoured.  Indeed, I would muse as to what he or she had done to deserve such an accolade.  Had they been famous in the local area, been a well known thespian or provided vast sums for the benefit of the theatre?  I never really solved that mystery.

"Obviously there has to be some gain for the theatre in the form of sponsorship which will go towards the costs of the refurbishment.  Although on the surface the price for a single seat (£200) and for a pair of seats (£375) is a tidy sum it is also good value.  If you sponsor a seat it is yours for fifteen years and in my case will probably see me out!  There is nothing to stop one clubbing together to remember a family member, pet or even an organisation.  Furthermore, it is a once in a lifetime occasion to be a 'pioneer' in a brand new Hippodrome and most probably never to be repeated.

"I and my wife have taken the plunge and sponsored a couple of seats and because we have done it early on have got the seats we like to sit on.  There are plenty of seats waiting to be given a name so why not make a shrewd investment and have at least fifteen years of 'owning' a little bit of the Darlington Hippodrome?"

Supported by renowned north east actor Stephen Tompkinson, naming a seat is a fantastic opportunity to personalise your very own seat in the beautifully restored Edwardian auditorium.  Dedicating a seat can be a very special gift or a fitting tribute to a loved one. By naming a seat you will be supporting the future of your theatre. For more information, visit the Name a Seat page on our website