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Department of English Studies

Regional Organisations and Events

Staff and students from the Department of English Studies at Durham University participate in many of the events relating to literature and drama outside of the Department, in both the University and the City of Durham. Beyond Durham, Newcastle and Gateshead boast vibrant cultural scenes, with world-class theatres, art galleries, museums and lecture venues. Please visit our main Events page for listings of events run within and by the Department itself.

Literature in Durham

  • The student-run Durham University English Society seeks to improve the university experience of all English students and to organise a range of course-related and extra-curricular activites, such as a termly party where students can meet members of staff, weekly film nights and regular trips to the theatres in Durham and Newcastle.
  • Colpitt's Poetry has brought over three hundred quality poetry events to Durham City during the last thirty years, since its founding by poets David Burnett and Richard Caddel. With no formal philosophy, the group aims to promote the true variety and richness of contemporary poetry, to encourage international contact and to appeal to a broad audience.
  • Initiated in 1990, the annual Durham Book Festival plays host to many established and aspiring writers, with events, workshops and open mic sessions. Recent guests have included A.S. Byatt, Pat Barker, Will Self, Ian Rankin and Gillian Clarke.

Lectures and Seminars in the Northeast

  • The regional writing development agency, New Writing North, sponsor numerous workshops and activities, and organise Durham Book Festival.
  • Newcastle University's public lecture programme, Insights, has presented a number of significant speakers on literature and the arts, including the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and philosopher A.C. Grayling.
  • The Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts develops events and projects, and has featured many prominent speakers such as Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.
  • The independent library of Newcastle, the Lit and Phil, has a varied public lecture programme.


  • There are a large number of active theatre companies within Durham University. Durham Student Theatre acts as the official voice and umbrella organisation, and includes full listings of all University drama performances and auditions.
  • The centrepiece of Durham City art's programme, the Gala Theatre houses a state-of-the-art modern theatre, as well as two cinema screens. Its programme of live events attracts some of the country’s leading theatre companies, comedians, bands, musicians and dance performers.
  • Newcastle and the wider region boast several theatres. The most prominent are the Theatre Royal, a landmark venue which hosts the Royal Shakespeare Company in the North, and the recently-renovated Northern Stage, the largest producing theatre company in the North of England.


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.

English Events Newsletter

Are you interested in literature, books and culture? Subscribe to our monthly listings of English events taking place across the North East.