The much-loved Civic Theatre was formally opened as the New Hippodrome and Palace of Varieties on Monday 2 September 1907. Signor Rino Pepi, the enigmatic managing director of the theatre presented a programme headed by Marie Loftus, ‘the greatest of all comediennes’, and, over the years, many stars have trodden the boards here, including Anna Pavlova, Tommy Cooper, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rex Harrison, Dame Vera Lynn, Sir Anthony Sher, Janet Suzman and more recently Hollywood stars Mickey Rooney, Linda Grey and Dirk Benedict.

Today the Civic Theatre remains a credit to the town of Darlington and is a treasured landmark, a well-respected and sought after venue for national touring companies and is firmly rooted in our local community, supporting many local amateur arts groups to bring their work to packed houses.