Awards can wait for South Shields director as show goes on

Fiona Martin at work with young actors.
Fiona Martin at work with young actors.

South Tyneside theatre director Fiona Martin is giving up the chance of receiving a prestigious award and a seat at the glittering ceremony - to see her young charges though their latest performance.

Fiona - deputy director for learning and participation at The Customs House in South Shields - has been shortlisted and invited to attend the Creative & Cultural Skills Awards in Manchester on April 16.

Fiona Martin.

Fiona Martin.

But that is also the opening night of The Customs House Youth Theatre’s latest production.

Instead of attending the ceremony, Fiona has chosen to lead the group through a performance of The Ceasefire Babies - part of National Theatre Connections.

Fiona is one of three people shortlisted for the Theatre Skills Award.

She said: “It was lovely to be nominated, so when I was told I’d been shortlisted I was stunned. It shines a light on the hard work and dedication of our Customs House Youth Theatre members. They are exceptional.”

The Theatre Skills Award recognises inspirational mentors and managers in the performing arts who have shown an outstanding commitment to training the next generation of talent.

Fiona said: “Ceasefire Babies, also known as the Good Friday Agreement generation, are those too young to remember the worst of the terror after the Provisional IRA ceasefire.

“It’s a powerful piece, full of challenges, but I felt this important part of recent British and Irish history could be performed with maturity and sensitivity by the young cast.”

The Customs House Youth Theatre gives young people aged between 10 and 21 the chance to develop their theatre and performance skills and achieve an Explore, Bronze, Silver or Gold Arts Award.

It has a junior and senior section based at The Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields, and a satellite group working with Year 10 BTEC Performing Arts pupils at Jarrow School in Field Terrace, Jarrow.

The Ceasefire Babies will be performed at The Customs House on Monday, April 16, and Tuesday, April 17, at 7.30pm, before moving to Northern Stage in Newcastle in May.

Tickets are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk on a ‘pay what you decide’ basis.