From New Year to Valentine’s Day: Durham and the Arts

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Living in a market city, it’s easy to forget sometimes that beauty is all around us. Absorbed in studying and textbooks, it’s easy to ignore what’s right in front of me. The bells chiming in the distance are from a Norman cathedral that is one of the oldest in England and boasts not only impressive architecture but an exhibition on the treasures of the city. If you wander up past the colleges perched on the hill outside the city centre there is a beautiful oriental garden just waiting to be explored.

I’ve made it one of my New Year’s Resolutions to make the most of the artistic opportunities available here in Durham. If you’re looking for things to do or places to explore, then look no further!

One of the most exciting events coming up before Valentines Day is the Durham Drama Festival (10th-13th February), featuring performances written and produced by students. Last year I attended an evening performance as part of the Drama Festival and had an amazing time there seeing three hour long shows and walking through the city with the rest of the audience. It was a great experience seeing some really innovative shows and one I’m eager to repeat.

If you are a student here in Durham then I’d suggest attending the Refreshers Fair at the start of term (18th January) to find out about more about the societies available to join. The arts are very well represented here, from the Creative Writing Society and the Photography Society to choirs and orchestras.
During my time at Durham some of my most enjoyable evenings have been spent with the Creative Writing Society in lecture rooms and the student union writing and getting to know each other. If you haven’t already found a writing group, or a similar group for your own interest, I’d definitely recommend coming along to one of the societies and seeing what you think.

There are, of course, plenty of things to do and see over the next few weeks regardless of whether you are a student here. If you’re in the mood for musical entertainment you might want to attend a performance by Orchestra North East (29th January, Gala Durham) or attend a more unusual concert by a capella extraordinaires The Northern Lights (31st January, Gala Durham). For a more active experience, you could visit the Oriental Museum and take part in a workshop to make your own cup and saucer by hand (28th January, Oriental Museum).

For many of us 2016 couldn’t end too soon and I’m hopeful that this year will be both a more creative and more cheerful experience. As well as some more specific novel writing resolutions, one of my aims for the New Year is to make the most of everything there is to see and do here in Durham. In less than six months I’ll be leaving the city after three years here and I plan to make the most of every minute. Stay tuned for more posts, coming soon, about my experience of the arts here in Durham!

[Originally written for publication on Arts Award Voice at ArtsAwardVoice.Com]

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