NEW SEASON: The Meraki Duo
NEW SEASON: The Meraki Duo

THE decision to open Barnard Castle’s arts centre on a Sunday for a series of afternoon concerts has been hailed such a success a new season of performances has been lined up for the new year.

The Witham usually remains closed on a Sunday and Monday but has opened for several special events and fundraisers during its autumn season.

Officials say baroque duo Pellingmans’ Saraband, the Aquarius String Quartet and County Durham pianist Stephen Raine were well received by visitors.

In addition, The Witham hosted a Sunday afternoon tea dance and opened on a Sunday evening for the visit of the Pitmen Poets as part of the group's farewell tour.

Programming and marketing manager Sarah Gent said: “We have been delighted with the positive feedback about daytime concerts.

“People have told us how much daytime concerts matter, especially to older residents of Teesdale who would struggle to attend live music events in the evening during the colder months.”

Three more Sunday afternoon concerts have been included in the New Year programme of events at The Witham.

First up is the Meraki Duo, on Sunday, January 12.

Formed in 2013 by former students of the Royal Northern College of Music Meera Maharaj and James Girling, the programme will include pieces by Schubert, Rodrigo, Richard Rodgers and Burt Bacharach.

Then on Sunday, February 9, in something of a coup for the centre, acclaimed pianist Melvyn Tan will give a recital. Expect Brahms and Beethoven in the programme.

Finally, on Sunday, April 5, pianist Ingrid Sawyers and cellist Alexandra Mackenzie will play favourites from the cello repertoire ranging from Vivaldi, Schumann and Saint Saens to solo piano music by Debussy and Gershwin.

All concerts will start at 2.30pm and tickets for each are £12 (£10 for U16s).

Anyone booking tickets for all three performances.will received a £2 discount on each ticket.

For more details go to or call the box office on 01833 631107.