THE sun might still be hiding behind the clouds, but the Customs House is hoping its line-up will heat things up.
The Mill Dam theatre in South Shields is welcoming a host of stars and shows this summer.
The season will also see the opening of the Harton Quays Amphitheatre, just outside the venue, with three dramas taking place in the open-air space.
I Love South Tyneside, a new play about the borough’s history, will be on from July 25 to 28 and a new adaptation of Dracula and Cuddy and His Mates, about the childhood escapades of saints Cuthbert, Bede and Godric, takes place on August 9 and 10.
And the borough’s own alternative music festival – the Bernicia – will strike up on August 4.
Folk stars The Unthanks will be hitting the stage on Saturday, June 15, as part of the Festival of the North East, in which the Customs House is a partner.
And local writers Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood’s Dirty Dusting is set to return on October 22 and 23.
This season promises some real drama, starting with Murder, Marple and Me, a one-woman Edinburgh Festival show written by South Shields’s very own Philip Meeks, from May 14 to 16.
June will see legendary British farce Charley’s Aunt from June 5 to 8, new comedy Miss Crispy 1988 on June 17 and 18, The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare on June 21 and local writer Dick Curran’s drama company at the venue from June 24 to 25.
There are plenty of stars gracing the stage throughout the summer including Anita Harris on June 20, Showaddywaddy on May 11, The Manfreds on June 19 and Joe Longthorne on July 3.
An Evening with the Stars of Strictly Come Dancing returns after its sold-out April show, on June 16.
The family-friendly season kicks off with IronClad on May 4.
Films Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Avengers Assemble will be showing, and kids will be able to have their picture taken with the man himself.
Grease is the word as the Customs House Theatre Summer School perform their production from August 16 to 18, and the youngsters of Starset Theatre are set to perform West End smash Miss Saigon from July 20 to 21.
Music is a huge part of the season, with Roll Out the Barrel on July 10, Shake Ya Tail Feather on June 9, Matthew Ford’s Swing Legends on July 13 and Youss Band on May 26.
Pink Floyd tribute act Shine On will perform on May 25, followed by The Stones on July 12, the ELO Experience on July 18 and And Finally Phil Collins on August 24.
Ray said: “With winter behind us, it’s time to warm up with our summer season.
“Whether you’re looking to enjoy all of Shakespeare, a bit of Strictly, the new Bernicia music festival or established favourites – we have a season to savour.”
Tickets for all shows are on sale now.
To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call the box office on 454 1234.Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki