South Tyneside drama club stages comeback after cash crisis

TYNE TRAVELLERS .... members of The Vision get ready for their new play at The Customs House.
TYNE TRAVELLERS .... members of The Vision get ready for their new play at The Customs House.

A ONCE under-threat drama group is staging a comeback.

Earlier this year, the Vision Drama Group suffered a £10,000 funding cut as part of South Tyneside Council’s efforts to balance its books.

The club, made up of about 30 members, including some with learning and physical disabilities, were inundated with support after the Gazette published an appeal for help to keep going.

And now, it is set to take to the stage this weekend at the Customs House in South Shields with a new show called Tyne Travellers.

The show is written by Sandie Malia and Jeff Bianchi, leaders of the club, based at the town’s St Jude’s Parish Hall.

Sandie, also directing the production, said: “It promises to be a great night, and the group is very excited as we didn’t think we would manage to afford to perform there this year after all the problems with our funding being cut.

“But due to the group working really hard to raise funds by arranging a disco, an auction and a sponsored walk, they have managed to get the money to hire props, costumes, and stage sets and they’re ready to hit the boards.

“Two of the group, without my knowledge, met with Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, and asked if he would agree to the Vision performing there, and a deal was struck.

“The Vision would get the Customs House free of charge and the venue would keep the ticket money.”

She added: “Now we want as many people as possible to come along and watch us perform, so we can show Ray it was all worthwhile.”

Tyne Travellers is on at the Mill Dam venue on Sunday at 7pm.

Tickets for the show cost £5. To book, go to or call the Customs House’s box office on 454 1234.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki