Castle hosts three balls each academic year. Ladies’ Night runs in November, Halfway Hall in February, and June Ball on the last Tuesday of the Easter term. Each ball has its own character, with unique significance to each year group.
All three balls take place in the Castle, our very own UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the rooms which are usually under lock and key are open for the students to explore. The balls include a champagne reception followed by a three or four course meal. The decorations are made by students to match a chosen theme. The guests are entertained by a variety of performers- live bands, solo artists, comedians, d.j.s, and dance groups- with professional photographers to capture students’ memories throughout the night.
Held in Michaelmas Term, Ladies’ Night is the first ball of the academic year for students of University College. This ball celebrates freshers starting their first year at Durham and finalists starting their final year; of course, second years and MCR students are still welcome to attend. Ladies’ Night is very much a University College tradition: its title refers to the practice of female students inviting their dates for the night. Previous themes have included Brothers’ Grimm Fairytales, Celestial Odyssey, and The Yule Ball.
Held in Epiphany Term, Halfway Hall is at the halfway point in a three-year degree and thus celebrates second year students’ time spent at Castle, looking back at the first days and looking forward to the last. As most second years live out, this ball also serves as a special occasion for them to gather in the halls they called home the year before. As with Ladies’ Night, other year groups are welcome to attend. Previous themes include Marie Antoinette: Let Them Eat Cake and Into the Woods.
The June Ball
Held in Easter Term, The June Ball is the largest of University College’s annual balls. The ball hosts around 900 undergraduates, postgraduates and teaching staff during the 12-hour white-tie event. The June Ball is renowned across the country having featured in Tatler’s Bystander, The Guardian’s ‘Top 100 things to do before you die’, and Mastercard’s ‘Top Events Money Can’t Buy’.
If you would like to know more about the planning and preparation for any of these balls, please find further information on the Ents Committee and the June Ball Committee. Or if you would like to get involved, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick Greenman, Ball Chair 2021-22).