Globe-trotting storyteller Tony Wilson is coming home to weave stories from around the world with song and dance in a new family show in South Shields.
The former primary school teacher and lecturer in early years development has been a professional storyteller for almost 20 years - working all over over the world, picking up traditional folk tales from places like China, Korea, South America and India.
Now he is set to appear in Once Upon a Storytime, which runs at The Customs House from August 28 to 31, as a mysterious storyteller who opens up his magical curiosity shop to share his fantastical adventures.
The show also stars David John Hopper, who is best known for his role as Arbuthnot in The Customs House panto, who will also be directing the show.
Tony, 65, from South Shields, said: “It is a very interactive show and there will be songs for people to join in with and stories that are going to be acted out by Hopper and the rest of the cast, some that are familiar and some that are not so familiar.”
Tony spends much of his time touring schools, but is used to theatre settings and large crowds, having performed in front of hundreds at the Lowry Theatre in Salford, Berwick Playhouse and Alnwick Festival.
In 2013, he won the British Award for Storytelling Excellence.
He is a regular at The Lit & Phil in Newcastle, where he does much of his research for storytelling projects, but his greatest inspiration comes from his family, who instilled a love of stories in him from a young age.
He said: “I was very lucky that my parents, sister and grandparents all told me stories when I was little and I have got three grand-daughters and I tell them stories all the time.
“I have had some great teachers in my own family and now it’s just second nature.”
As well as selecting some of his favourite stories to include in Once Upon a Storytime, Tony has also penned some tales of his own for the show.
Once Upon a Storytime is aimed at under-10s.
Performances are at 11am and 2pm, with a 6pm show on Friday, August 31.
Tickets, priced £8, are available from the box office on 0191 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.