From gladiatorial combat to Roman mosaic crafts, Bishop Auckland Town Hall has a horde of activities to keep youngsters entertained throughout the summer school holidays.

Children aged five and over can enjoy an exciting Roman Gladiator experience at the Durham County Council-run venue, inspired by its current exhibition by The JORVIK Group – Gladiator: A Cemetery of Secrets.

Youngsters are invited to join ancient Roman, Petronia (actress Shelley O’Brien), for a tour of the exhibition, followed by a fun drama session. They’ll learn simple mime and movement skills to safely act out battles with wild beasts, chariot races, elephant processions, Roman banquets and more.

Dance fans can discover how to throw some Roman shapes, learning the era’s best moves which they can perform to the music of the time, and children can even pick up a few words of Latin along the way.

Crafters can join artist Carrie Dennison to create their own Roman treasures, from Gladiator helmets and mosaics to clay pencil pots and hand-printed Roman standard banners.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, the council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “Our summer holiday activities are a great way to get children’s imaginations going this summer. The sessions are a chance to immerse themselves in an exciting world of Gladiators and Romans, having fun whilst also learning about this wonderful period in history.

If children would like to really get into character, they are welcome to come dressed up as a gladiator, emperor, goddess or even a wild animal. And they can continue the adventure at home too, with the crafts they make in our arts activities.

I’d like to thank Bishop Auckland Town Council for its kind contribution of £2,000, which has allowed us to organise these fantastic events.

“Offering inspiring activities for children and young people is at the heart of our cultural programme and a driving force behind County Durham’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025. I would urge you to back our campaign by using the hashtag #Durham2025 so that we can create even more enriching opportunities like the Gladiator: A Cemetery of Secrets exhibition.

Summer activities cost £1 per child and take place on Thursday 5, 12 and 19 of August.

Spaces for each 90-minute session are limited and must be booked in advance by calling 03000 269 524 or emailing [email protected]

Children must be accompanied by an adult, who is advised to wear a face mask.

Gladiator: A Cemetery of Secrets is a free exhibition, on display in Bishop Auckland Town Hall’s gallery space until Saturday 28 August. It offers an exciting opportunity to explore Roman life in Britain through archaeological relics, a Roman market square and replica armour and artefacts.

Further information about the exhibition can be found at

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