One of the aims of Durham Big Sing is to celebrate the wealth of group singing our region has to offer. At several points during the day all the event participants will become the audience when we present performances from North East choirs. The short performances will showcase a vibrant mix of musical styles, vocal abilities and geographical locations. All choirs are invited but not required to perform, at present we have 15 choirs planning on taking part.

Stage Performances

The day is split into a morning and afternoon session. Both sessions will include two massed singing workshops and interspersed between the workshops there will be short performances from choirs on stage. We know that it will be a real treat for everyone attending to hear choirs from across our region. Performing on a professional stage in front of hundreds will also be a fantastic experience for our choirs.

Gala Theatre Stage, Durham Big Sing, The Singing Elf
Gala Theatre Stage
Durham Market Place
Durham Market Place - a Busking in the City location

Busking in the City

During the lunch hour 1-2pm we will fill the City with song, with choirs giving short informal performances in the Market Place and other outdoor locations near the Gala Theatre. Each choir will be allocated a time slot and location which will be published in the event programme given to all participants on arrival during morning registration.

To assist the smooth running of the Busking in the City lunch hour we recommend singers bring along their own packed lunch so that they can eat whilst listening to choirs perform. Although there are a number of shops, cafes and restaurants nearby, there is limited time as the afternoon session will start back at Gala at 2pm.

The Busking in the City hour is an exciting part of our future plans for Durham Big Sing. Next year we aspire to organise a two day 'festival-style' event in which we can fill the City with song over a full weekend and involve lots more choirs. Including this brief taster will allow us to demonstrate it's value to future funders.

Wet Weather Plan

We hope to keep all our Busking in the City performances outside so that the public can also enjoy them. If it's overcast or cool we will still be outside so please bring appropriate outer layers for British weather! In the event of wet weather, a reduced programme will be split between the Town Hall located in the Market Place and the Gala Stalls Bar. In order to ensure that all choirs get chance to perform on the day, those not already performing on stage will be prioritised for wet weather slots. Half of the event participants will be invited to watch performances in the Town Hall whilst enjoying their picnics and the rest will remain at the Gala. This does mean that if the wet weather plan is in place, not all singers will have access to watch all choirs, you will be asked during booking if you have any preferences and will be told your allocation during registration on arrival. Whilst we can't control the weather, our wet plan does allow all singers the chance to take a break from the auditorium and still listen to some choirs.

Durham Town Hall
Durham Town Hall - wet weather plan venue

Requesting a performance slot

In order to perform, choirs must book their tickets as a group and state their preferences during booking. All slots will be allocated in advance and no choirs will be able to perform at any point during the day without a pre-arranged slot. We will discuss your requirements with your group leader and try to offer slots that suit the needs of your choir and the availability of your choir leader. Slots will be allocated at the discretion of the organiser and can only be offered once your booking is complete and deposits are paid.

All choirs are invited to take part in Busking in the City as we have multiple outdoor locations available. There are a limited number of stage slots and we aim to programme a wide variety of musical styles, vocal abilities and geographical locations. In order to give as many singers as possible the opportunity to sing on stage, the larger choirs will be prioritised for stage slots for this first event. In future we hope to expand the event to offer the opportunity to more choirs.


  • On stage in the Gala’s main auditorium
  • Event participants will be the audience
  • Limited number of 4 - 8 minutes slots
  • Electric piano, professional accompanist & PA
    for backing tracks is available at no extra cost

In order to offer a varied programme, choirs will be asked to state what genre of music they'd like to perform during booking. We will speak with your choir leader to agree with them the pieces you will perform after you have completed your booking.


  • In several outdoor spaces nearby to the Gala
  • Limited number of indoor slots in the Gala Stalls Bar
  • During lunch break 1 - 2pm
  • Slots of 5 - 20 minutes available for all choirs
    (including those choir performing on stage)
  • A cappella only - no access to power
  • Friends, family or other singers without a ticket are welcome to join us in the outdoors spaces for this hour in the City. (Please note that event ticket holders only will be accommodated if the Wet Weather Plan is used.)

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