ARC’s artistic policy is to provide creative activity and cultural experiences that are contemporary and relevant. We want to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. We want to look forward, to excite you about the future.

Co-design is a key principle of our creative programme. This means we work proactively with artists and communities to develop work that is relevant to and resonates with our local communities. This doesn’t necessarily mean work that is about, or made specifically for Stockton and the Tees Valley, but we that present work that our local communities can connect to, and that helps us understand the world we live in.

Ideas may come from artists or communities but in many cases the work will involve both. Our co-designed programme therefore incorporates artist-led, community-led and co-created work. This forms our core programme, which is enhanced by our presented work (music, comedy, film and some of our performances for families).

By communities, we mean communities of place, interest, identity, need and action, and we also think of artists we work with as a ‘community’.

The work we create is for our local communities, but also for communities like ours. They exist all over the country, in areas where there are high proportions of people facing inequalities and barriers to engaging with culture, usually as a result of either their protected characteristics or socio-economic status.

Core Programme

We are currently in the process of working to shift our programming model to a more community-led and community-responsive way of working. From 2023 we will be commissioning artists to make work in response to provocations developed with our communities. Details of commissioning opportunities will be shared via our website and social media channels, or if you are an artist making performance work, you can sign up to our ARCADE newsletter here to be sure of hearing about them.

This doesn’t mean that there won’t be opportunities for artist-led work, but we’ll be looking for it to align closely with our community priorities.

We prefer to work with artists and companies during the development of work, as this enables us to find ways of engaging audiences alongside the creative process, before presenting the final show. This means we are unlikely to be interested in booking a finished, touring piece of work.

We are not interested in work based around classic texts or adaptations, or that has historical themes, as the vast majority of our programme is set in the modern day.

Ultimately, we present work we are passionate about, so there are exceptions to everything.

We select artists and companies to work with based on the content and style of their work as well as their practice. We identify people to work with by attending festivals and showcases, meeting artists, watching recorded footage, listening to recommendations and seeing as many performances as we can, either in person or online. We also run open calls for specific projects and commissions, and are introduced to artists by our partners.

ARC Getaways are another way we get to know new artists.

Our core programme is usually planned around 12-24 months ahead. If you are interested in being part of our programme, please email details to Annabel Turpin at the earliest stage of developing your work.

If you are an artist making performance work, you can find out more about asking for support here.

Disabled-led Work

ARC is committed to sharing the exciting, diverse, and intersectional work of disabled artists in our programme and ensuring that our activities are accessible to disabled participants and audiences.

From 2015 – 2018, in partnership with Little Cog, we delivered Cultural Shift, a strategic programme of activity delivering new and increased opportunities for disabled people in the arts. 

Download the Cultural Shift final report for more information.

Part of the legacy of Cultural Shift is an ongoing commitment to ensure our cultural landscape is vibrant and representative of the people living and working in our communities.

Within ARC’s artistic policy, we have worked with Little Cog to develop a specific policy around disability work. Our aims are to:

· Provide space and a platform for the voices of disabled artists and disabled-led companies

· Support work which champions changing perceptions of disability and disabled people

· Ensure the work we programme and commission does not perpetuate negative stereotypes and myths around disability and disabled people (read more about that here)

· Increase our dialogue with companies and enhance partnerships.

If you are a disabled artist or are approaching us about work that considers please watch our short film for more information. 

We are conscious of the ethics of who tells the stories of disabled people and expect that work with a disability focus is disabled-led and that artists creating work about disability are disabled people. We expect disabled people to fill the roles of disabled characters and we also to encourage artists and companies to cast disabled people in roles where disability is not necessarily a focus of the production.

The work of disabled artists and participants in our programme may or may not have a disability focus, although we are ensuring that the work is disabled-led. You can read the full policy here.

Presented Programme


ARC’s family programme is mainly focussed on work for under 7s. We present theatre, dance and puppetry performances on Saturdays approximately once a month.

We co-commission a Christmas show for under 7s with the Albany in Deptford, and a February half term show with The Civic in Barnsley. Details of these opportunities will appear here on our opportunities page.

See current opportunities.

Our family shows are usually booked at least 12 months ahead. If you are interested in being part of this programme, please email details to Annabel Turpin.


ARC’s programme encompasses a wide range of music including rock, pop, soul, jazz, folk and indie. The Point is an ideal space for music, with a seated capacity of up to 400 and a standing capacity of 550.

If you are an agent or musician looking to perform at ARC please email details to Annabel Turpin.

Comedy and light entertainment

ARC has a fabulous reputation for comedy amongst audiences and comedians alike. Some of the best comedians around knock on our door wanting to perform here. 

You can see everything comedic at ARC:

  • aspiring newcomers at our seasonal Beat the Gong events, where the audience gets to judge whether new acts get ‘gonged off
  • circuit regulars at our monthly Catch 22 Comedy Club nights
  • stand up favourites such as Chris Ramsey, Marcus Brigstocke and Jenny Éclair
  • comedy legends like Lee Evans and Jack Dee, who have chosen ARC as a great venue to try out new material

If you are an agent or established comedian looking to perform at ARC, please email Annabel Turpin.

If you are interested in performing at our Catch 22 Comedy Club, please email Peter Vincent. Download the Catch 22 booking policy. 

If you are a newcomer interested in performing at Beat the Gong, please email Peter Vincent.


ARC’s film programme features a range of mainstream, arthouse and family films, independent and world cinema. We regularly host post-show discussions and Q&A sessions with guests. We also screen live broadcasts such as National Theatre Live and other productions.

Regular film screenings run Wednesday – Saturday, with matinee and evening screenings. One-off screenings take place on Monday nights, either as private hires or collaborations. 

If you are an independent filmmaker interested in screening your film at ARC, please email Parissa Zarifi.

If you are interested in hiring the cinema for a private screening, please email Parissa Zarifi.


ARC’s exhibition programme, which is shown in the second floor Gallery, allows us to represent our local communities visually. We exhibit work by local artists and community groups, as well as exhibitions developed by local curators. 

The programme is booked at least 12 months in advance. If you are interested in exhibiting, please email [email protected]

Creative Learning

We provide lots of opportunities for people to take part in creative activities, including children, young people, adults, disabled and older people. Explore our creative learning programme here.

If you are a creative practitioner interested in sharing your skills with others, please email [email protected]

Community-led Events

We work with lots of different local people and organisations to help them stage their own creative events and activities. 

If you have an idea for an event or activity and want to talk to us about presenting or running it at ARC, please contact Chloe Lawrence

Strategic Projects

As part of ARC’s regional and national work, we manage strategic development projects that benefit the wider cultural sector. 

Find out about our current strategic projects.