Image 1: An old programme belonging to the Darlington Hippodrome. There is a dancing woman with a fan and red dress on the front.

Hello! My name is Sarah Li and I am a Scouse artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne.  I am very excited to be able to finally be able to introduce myself and to you all and what I am doing in the Darlington Hippodrome.

Image 2: Colour photograph, interior. It’s me, Sarah Li, exploring the archival material. A white non-binary person with brown hair stands in a mirrored practice room. There are large tables with boxes laid out on them. The person is wearing white gloves and looking through archival material in one of the boxes.

‘Opening the Closet Doors’ is an art and film project that I am working on with local LGBTQ+ adults referencing the archives of the Darlington Hippodrome. I have been exploring these amazing archives with the incredible and very knowledgeable historian James Davison to uncover LGBTQ+ histories, stories, shows and performers. Some of these narratives and inspirations are beginning to take shape into our creative responses that will be shown at the Darlington Hippodrome summer time 2022.

I am still very keen to learn more about Darlington, more about this beautiful theatre and in particular to hear your stories. If you are an LGBTQ+ identifying staff member (performer, technician, musician, director, cleaner, box office staff, costume designer, volunteer or in any way involved in the theatre) of the Darlington Hippodrome past or present and would be interested in having a chat with me, I would love to hear about your experience and thoughts. Please contact me at by 20th April if you would be up for chatting with me. Your information will not be shared wider without your consent!

If you are a local LGBTQ+ adult and you would like to hear more about how you could get involved in the project, please contact:

Keep your eyes peeled for more information over the coming months!

Image 3: Colour photograph, interior. Archival boxes lie on a table. Some of them are open revealing stacks of scores. 

Commissioned as part of the ‘Flourish’ programme by Creative Darlington.

Also funded by Arts Council England and County Durham Community Foundation (Dover Art Prize creative award).

This project is generously being supported by 

Darlington Hippodrome

LGBT+ NSG and SAN North East

Huge thank you to Helix Arts who have provided invaluable support alongside Creative Darlington during the R&D stage of this project.

Image credits: Sarah and Edwin Li, Darlington Hippodrome Archives