Mayor of South Tyneside meets Oz counterpart on special visit to young performers at The Customs House in South Shields

Young performers got two very special visitors as they prepare to put on a magical show.

Members of The Customs House Summer School in South Shields are working hard preparing for their production of the Wizard of Oz.

And they were thrilled to get two special guests joining them at rehearsal, in the form Mayor of South Shields Pat Hay and Mayoress Jean Copp.

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The summer school cast took the dignitaries on a jaunt down the yellow brick road, treating them to an exquisitely choreographed Jitter Bug, and a stunning solo rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, sung by 16-year-old Liv Young, who plays Dorothy in the show.

The Customs House Summer School perform for Mayor of South Shields Pat Hay and Mayoress Jean Copp.

Councillor Hay said she was delighted with the performance, chatting with the cast, offering encouragement to the young performers, and posing for photographs.

She also got to meet her Oz counterpart in the form of the ‘Munchkin Mayor’ – played by 11-year-old Grace Frank – offering some solidly sage advice from one Mayor to another: “Be assertive, be aware of what’s going on around you and enjoy it.”

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Cllr Hay added: “I really enjoyed my visit today, it’s lovely to see young people performing and taking an interest in performing arts, and what was particularly interesting was that there was a lot of girls involved, there’s some amazing talent on display “

The Customs House Summer School offers young people the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals as part of a theatre show during the holidays.

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The Customs House Summer School with Mayor of South Shields Pat Hay and Mayoress Jean Copp

Their latest production The Wizard of Oz, featuring performers aged seven to 16, follows several spectacular summer shows including The Addams Family, We Will Rock You, and High School Musical.

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The Customs House Summer School Producer, Gareth Hunter, said: “It was a fantastic experience for the cast to perform for the Mayor today.

"We are honoured that she has taken time out of her busy schedule to visit us. Her encouragement and advice really is an inspiration to the young performers. “

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The Wizard Of Oz is at The Customs House from Friday, August 12 to Sunday, August 14.

Councillor Pat Hay and Grace Frank
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Tickets are priced from £13 and available online at , from the box office in person, or on (0191) 454 1234.