During May half-term families are invited to explore the beautiful coastal surroundings of Crimdon Dene at a free pirate-themed arts activity trail on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June 2016, 10am – 4pm.


Pirates of Crimdon Dene – The Treasure of Many Happy Returns is imaginatively based around a fictional tale about pirates who would return every year to this coastal hide-away to show-off their bounty and share stories of daring-do on the high seas. Over the two days visitors will be led along coastal pathways down into the leafy Dene to discover a pirate world full of hands-on activities and entertainment, including story-telling, arts & crafts, a treasure hunt, workshops, comedy walkabouts from The Bread and Butter Theatre Company, a pirate talent show with Circurama and a live theatre experience by Dodgy Clutch Theatre Company.


The Heritage Coast Partnership commissioned East Durham Creates, a cultural programme which aims to get more people involved in arts and creative activity, to produce an outdoor event to feature as part of their Reach for the Beach Outdoor Festival (Saturday 28 to Sunday 5 June). This new event has been devised especially for the people who live here, using a fun and artistic pirate theme to appeal to family audiences. The idea of ‘Many Happy Returns’ harks back to Crimdon Dene’s former days as a popular resort for many East Durham communities and hopes to stimulate the same effect with current residents.


The Crimdon area has a long colourful past of fun and escapism, due to its rise as a popular holiday destination from the 1930s up until its decline in the 1980s, as foreign travel increased. In its hey-day, miners and their families would flock from nearby towns and villages, on account of its affordability for low-income workers.  It became famous for its annual gatherings, which attracted hundreds of visitors, who enjoyed highlights such as the Miss Crimdon beauty queen contest.


Nikki Locke, Head of East Durham Creates said:

“Working in partnership with the Heritage Coast and creating something for local families to enjoy in the stunning Dene really is a wonderful thing. We’re also delighted to be involving local artists and workshop leaders to help us deliver this magical experience.”


Niall Benson, Heritage Coast Officer added:


“Crimdon Dene is one of the treasures on the Heritage Coast and this buccaneering two days of adventure is a great way to set about exploring more of our Heritage Coast gems. East Durham Creates have put together a cracking event and I for one am looking forward to meeting Mr Sparrow and his mates.”




Media contact

Kate Earnshaw, Communications Manager, East Durham Creates
kateearnshaw@hotmail.co.uk / 07867 317972
Standard work days are Tuesday and Thursday


Notes to editors

Images – available to download here


Pirates of Crimdon Dene
The Treasure of Many Happy Returns

Friday 3 & Saturday 4 June, 2016, 10am – 4pm

Ahoy there matey! Have you heard the tall tale about the pirates of Crimdon Dene? There’s whispers over the waves they are coming back and looking for new recruits to help find their lost treasure!
Follow their trail along the coastal pathway down into the leafy Dene to discover a pirate world full of hands-on arts activities and entertainment, including:

• A creative treasure hunt along the Dene
• Make and do craft activities with local artists
• Workshops and The Pirate Talent Show with Circurama
• Gump and Pearl show by Dodgy Clutch Theatre Company
• Comedy walkabouts from The Bread and Butter Theatre Company and more
• Music, storytelling and live performances

Come along in your best pirate costume and spend the day with us at this FREE event. We promise magic, fun and long lasting memories for the whole family!

Find out more at www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk/pirates/or www.facebook.com/eastdurhamcreates


Limited parking available. Plan your public transport journey at jplanner.travelinenortheast.info This is an outdoor event and requires suitable footwear. There will be great value food stalls or bring your own picnic!

Commissioned by Heritage Coast Partnership as part of Reach for the Beach Outdoor Festival. Created and presented by East Durham Creates www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk/ 0191 518 5073

East Durham Creates is an Arts Council England-supported project, working across the East Durham area and aiming to get more people involved in arts and creative activity. We are working with residents to deliver an ambitious arts programme – every element of which will be community-led in some way, and totally distinctive to the area – inspired by East Durham the place and by the people who live there.
East Durham Creates will offer new experiences to inspire and delight. It will build on and support the vibrant existing arts activity in the area, and develop skills through the arts, helping to bring about long-term, lasting change.


The East Durham Creates team are collaborating with groups and residents to explore what the arts and creativity can offer local communities, testing out lots of different approaches to see what works (and what doesn’t) – and doing all we can to help sustain activity beyond our Arts Council England grant.

East Durham Creates is one of 21 Creative People and Places projects nationally, funded by Arts Council England. It is managed by Beamish, Forma Arts, and East Durham Trust working in partnership and supported by Durham County Council via East Durham Area Action Partnership and Culture and Sport Services. www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk

East Durham Creates is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England. Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live. There are 21 independent projects, each located in an area where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts. www.creativepeopleplaces.org.uk


Heritage Coast Partnership

Our Heritage Coast comprises over 14 kilometres of the natural, undeveloped and restored sections of coastline of East Durham and South Sunderland. The definition of Heritage Coast covers most beautiful coastline of England and Wales and forms part of the family of protected landscapes that includes National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Heritage Coast Partnership consists of Durham County Council, City of Sunderland, Natural England, Environment Agency, National Trust, Northumbrian Water, Durham Wildlife Trust, Groundwork, Hartlepool Borough Council and community representation from Ryhope Community Association, Seaham Town Council and the Regeneration Partnerships of Blackhall, Horden and Easington Colliery


Reach for the Beach

This is the first ever Heritage Coast outdoor festival, with over forty events over the Spring Half Term break, 28 May to 5 June. From kayak tasting to a half marathon, rockpool rambles and mini-beast hunts, all aiming to celebrate the best of our Heritage Coast.



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