New show about South Shields' Laygate community set to move audiences at The Customs House

A new show telling the stories of those who lived in South Shields’ multicultural Laygate community during the 60s will be performed at The Customs House this September.

Our Laygate: A Multicultural Story of Seafarers, Family and Community is a new drama opening at The Customs House in South Shields on Wednesday, September 8.

Written by playwright Ann Ahmed, with additional text by Natasha Haws and Mina Anwar, Our Laygate tells the story of a family living in Laygate during the 60s.

Writer Ann Ahmed, who grew up in Laygate, said: “I wanted to write a play about how well the Laygate community comes together to support each other, and how proud I am of that.

A new drama called Our Laygate will be performed at The Customs House in South Shields next month.

"We were poor, but they were some of the happiest times of my life, and I’m sure Mina will do a great job dramatising that.”

The new show centres around mother, Maggie Ibrahim, and her three children, who are weighed down with poverty and prejudice whilst waiting for their husband and father, David Ali to return home after a two-year absence working on the ships.

The tight-knit multicultural community are preparing to be rehoused by the council as their homes are set to be demolished, but with no news of David’s return and the regeneration of the town looming, the dear friends and neighbours of Laygate try to enjoy their last weeks together and share their hopes and fears for the future.

Director Mina Anwar said: “I’m thrilled to be back at The Customs House directing this brand-new play.


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The cast of the new show called Our Laygate which will be performed at The Customs House in September.

"This is a fascinating story to bring to the stage.

"It’s been a joy to work with Ann on this multicultural story about a community who have rarely had their stories told.”

The cast includes Natasha Atkinson, Mahsa Hammat Bahary, Melissa Sert and Soroosh Lavasani.


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Akeesha Adamus, Jerome Ngonadi, Sarah Boulter, and Christina Berriman Dawson are also starring in the show.

The Customs House Executive Director, Ray Spencer, said: “It must have been three years ago when I had a call from Anne Ahmed wanting to talk about an idea she had to tell the story of her childhood community; Laygate.

"It’s been a journey of discovery for everyone connected to this production.

"A wonderful cast will bring to life a rich tapestry of characters under the direction of our dear friend and talented director Mina Anwar, who has worked so closely with Ann to shape the final script and bring the story to the stage.


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"It is a story of its time that still resonates today.

"I am proud that The Customs House has once again made space to tell a story of our people and place.

"Thanks to all the companies and individuals who have given financial help to support this project.”

Our Laygate opens at The Customs House on Wednesday, September 8 and runs until Saturday, September 11.


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Tickets for the show are priced from £15.50 and are available from the box office by calling: 0191 454 1234 or online

Our Laygate is sponsored by PGS Law, Parker, Vic Young and supported by Arts Council England and South Tyneside Council.

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