Customs House panto designer in running for top award

Poison Pen (Georgia Nicholson) Picture by Ian Benny
Poison Pen (Georgia Nicholson) Picture by Ian Benny

One of the driving forces behind the famous South Shields annual panto has been named as one of the best custume designers in the UK.

Renowned fashion, costume and set designer Paul Shriek is one of the nominees for best costume design in this year’s Great British Pantomime Awards 2018.

Matt Fox and Paul Shriek with The Customs House cast. Picture by Ian Benny

Matt Fox and Paul Shriek with The Customs House cast. Picture by Ian Benny

Paul, who is based in Newcastle, has been the creative force behind the costume and stage designs for South Shields’ Customs House pantomime for nine seasons, will travel to London’s Wimbledon Theatre in April for the awards ceremony - where he’ll be facing competition from four other nominees is his category, including the mighty force of The London Palladium.

Shriek works with long-time collaborator Matt Fox in their company Fox and Shriek.

Paul said: “Our collaboration on The Customs House pantomime has gone from strength to strength in the last nine years.

“After a 38 year career making ‘frocks’ and drawing, this is now a lifestyle I enjoy every day. With the help and support of Matt Fox and our special team, I am thrilled to have been shortlisted To be nominated alongside the biggest and the best has left me speechless, something that many would say is a first!”

Paul Shriek

Paul Shriek

Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, said: “Fox and Shriek have that rare gift of visioning truly innovative dreams and ideas.

“The Customs House panto has won the North East Theatre Guide’s accolade of being the ‘most entertaining’ in the region for three years in a row, and audiences are always amazed at the standard of costumes and set. It’s great that Paul has achieved this nomination, which is a real feat in itself.”

Paul has also enjoyed success as a designer with a variety of theatre companies including the National Dance Company of Wales. Co-founding Artistic Director Ann Sholem described Paul’s work:

Judges saw well in excess of 200 shows with up to six judges seeing each show.

Dame Bella Ballcock (Ray Spencer)

Dame Bella Ballcock (Ray Spencer)

The winners will be announced on Sunday, April 15, at London’s Wimbledon Theatre.

Arbuthnot (David John Hopper)

Arbuthnot (David John Hopper)