Award winning designer shares skills with Jarrow youngsters ahead of panto season

An award winning designer has been sharing his creative skills with youngsters as he looks ahead to this year’s festive panto.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 5:00 am

Paul Shriek along with colleague Matt Fox visited Dunn Street Primary School in Jarrow to work with pupils from years three and four on costume ideas for character Arbuthnot in Snow White.

This will be the 10th year Paul has been involved with the Custom’s House annual pantomime - seven of which has been alongside designer Matt.

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Paul, who won the best costume category in the Great British Panto Awards, for his work on the Lambton Worm, said: “It was a joy to escape into the world of pantomime with the children from Dunn Street Primary School.

“The excited, enthusiastic response to the interactive telling of the story of Snow White was vivid and very lively.

“We had an amazing couple of hours of drawing and writing as research to help us create a catalogue of drawings and images for us to include in the development of our bespoke, digital fabric print for a costume for Arbuthnot to wear in this year’s pantomime.”

He added: “The children were an inspiration to us both, all were engaged with the activity and all produced work that we could reference.

Matt Dunn with children from Dunn Street Primary School.

“We cannot wait to return to the school and show them how their initial drawings have been the resource to produce our fabric to make the costume from for the much-loved character Arbuthnot.”

Arbuthnot is played by David John Hopper, who has also been nominated for a Great British Pantomime Award this year, for best comic. Charlie Raine, who played signing sheep Cutlet in Beauty and the Beast, has been nominated for best pantomime animal.

Darren Hymers, teacher at Dunn Street Primary School, said: “We love continuing our fantastic links with The Customs House and everything we do together enhances our curriculum.

“We were privileged to work with both Paul and Matt, who are experts in their fields.

“The children always comment about the fantastic costumes and set design at the pantomime and they were all thrilled to think that their creativity has helped Paul and Matt.

“The children were really engaged during the whole day and both Paul and Matt were fantastic at putting the children at ease and helping to get the children’s ideas on to paper.

“It is a highlight of our school year to bring the whole school to The Customs House for panto and this year will be even more special to think that our designs will be up on the stage – oh yes they will!”

Snow White runs from Wednesday, November 27, 2019, to Sunday, January 5, 2020. It was the first panto to be performed at The Customs House and is being revived to round off its 25th anniversary celebrations.

A third of tickets have already been snapped up for Snow White and several shows have already sold out. Priced from £9.99, they are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at