South Shields theatre honours Lindsay Kemp for his influence on the arts

Lindsay Kemp is interviewed by BBC Look North's Jeff Brown. Picture by Kevin Ho.

Lindsay Kemp is interviewed by BBC Look North's Jeff Brown. Picture by Kevin Ho.

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A South Tynesider who influenced the world of dance and drama was honoured by his home town theatre.

Lindsay Kemp was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the Customs House Academy at a special ceremony on Thursday night.

Lindsay Kemp is presented his award by the Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Alan Smith. Picture by Kevin Ho.

Lindsay Kemp is presented his award by the Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Alan Smith. Picture by Kevin Ho.

Lindsay, who taught the likes of David Bowie and Kate Bush to dance as part of his illustrious career, has been back in the borough this week.

The 78-year-old, who grew up in Talbot Road, West Harton, put on a show at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, on Tuesday night and has led workshops with youngsters during his visit, which was organised by the Cultural Spring.

Fans and invited guests enjoyed a three-course meal at the awards night before Lindsay was interviewed by BBC Look North’s Jeff Brown.

Talking about his life and career, he gave the audience a glimpse into his exciting past.

Lindsay Kemp with David Bowie.

Lindsay Kemp with David Bowie.

He was then presented with his award by the theatre’s chair of the board of trustees, Grahame Wright, and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Alan Smith.

He said: “It’s a great honour and I’m overwhelmed by the love that was in the room. I feel happy and grateful.

“I hope I’ll be back in South Shields soon, it will be difficult to leave. I’d love to come back to perform.”

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, added: “This was an exceptional opportunity for us to honour someone who has had such a long and distinguished career and made such an impact in the arts, yet someone who has never forgotten his roots back in Talbot Road.”

Lindsay Kemp was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the Customs House Academy. Picture by Kevin Ho.

Lindsay Kemp was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the Customs House Academy. Picture by Kevin Ho.

Among the audience members was Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England.

He said: “It’s great to have someone who has had such an amazing career to come back to where they were born and inspire the next generation.

“While Lindsay’s been here he’s been working with young people in schools and in the community .

“One of the great things we have here in South Shields is the Customs House and it’s great that Ray and the team are doing so much to celebrate the arts and the people who’ve come from here and gone on to do great things.

Lindsay Kemp his handed his Honorary Fellowship of the Customs House Academy by the theatre's chair of the board of trustees, Grahame Wright. Picture by Kevin Ho.

Lindsay Kemp his handed his Honorary Fellowship of the Customs House Academy by the theatre's chair of the board of trustees, Grahame Wright. Picture by Kevin Ho.

“The Arts Council is also very proud of Cultural Spring and the work its doing.”

Some of Lindsay’s artwork is on display at the Customs House and can be purchased.