Digital Pop-up Theatre on The Bishop Line

Digital Pop-up Theatre on The Bishop Line
23 March 2018

Launching to the public on Saturday 31st March, OUR LINE is a story of a modern day project to find out more about the family members of the past and how the railways changed the lives of families in the area. It’s inspired by the fond memories and family legends collected from local people.

In summer 2017, a team from Hannah Bruce & Co and commissioners, Luxi, spent time travelling the route and chatting to local people about their lives and family memories, and those brilliant stories went into the creation of a script. Hannah and her collaborators mixed it into an audio story which is now timed to start on Darlington Station, then accompany audience members onto the train and finish neatly as they pull into Bishop Auckland at the end of the line.

Passengers and audiences can register for the experience on the website where they can find instructions on what they need and how to download the app which will countdown to their chosen performance time, and how to meet the Jabberwocky Market stewards at Banktop Station. It’s free to take part for anyone who gets a valid train ticket for the journey; people do need a smart phone or tablet and some headphones.

At the end, people can alight to explore Bishop Auckland or stay on the train which returns 5 minutes later to Darlington (along with the steward) and we have found that after the show, people enjoy the return journey in a new way.

This is a pilot collaboration between Luxi, Northern Rail, The Bishop Line. Luxi commissioned Hannah Bruce & Co to create the piece and University of York have provided essential support to enable its creation.

Caroline Pearce, Director of Luxi and Producer of Jabberwocky Market pop-up theatre events, said:

“Years ago I came across a project in New York City called the A Train Plays, in which a group of actors and theatre creative boarded the Subway to create and perform a brand new play by the time the train returned to the start of its circular route. I found the idea inspiring and often think about how the feeling of being on a train can be like being an audience, how the changing view out of the window can change your mood and affect what you’re doing or seeing and it makes me think of different ways that theatre can be made for, and told in, the confines of a train carriage.

If this pilot is a success we are excited to explore different ways to develop theatre on trains.”

Robert Whitehouse, Community Rail Officer for The Bishop Line said:

These days you get music on trains, comedy on trains, snow trains, curry trains and Santa trains, we had been wondering about theatre on trains when we met Caroline from Luxi and started talking about how we could do that together. This headphone show isn’t what we first imagined in that conversation, but it’s a brilliant way to see The Bishop Line and we hope our passengers all get to try it.”

Northern Rail have supported the project through their community programme Seed fund for new initiatives.

Hannah Bruce, lead artist said:

“I particularly enjoyed meeting people along the Bishop Line who have such wonderful stories to tell about the past and present. Sound is a fantastic tool for triggering the imagination, and I feel as though Our Line almost allows me to meet past generations, who still influence the lives and landscape of people living along The Bishop Line today. For me, this is a story about how different generations imagine each other, and the landscape through the train window provides a filmic location for that story.”



Dates:                   Our Line runs on Thursdays and Saturdays between Saturday 31st March to Saturday 28th April,

Times:                   Meeting at 10:35am, 12:35pm and 6:05pm each day

Location:               Platform 4, Darlington Station (Banktop)

Tickets:                Free to book at

Install our web app.