Grant boost for South Shields youth theatre project from Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation

The man behind some of the world's most famous musicals has given his backing to a South Shields-based youth-inspired theatre programme.

The Customs House has been awarded £13,920 from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

The cash will be used to support a two-year theatre development programme for 50 people aged between 15 to 25 which will include drama workshops aimed to creating a bespoke play and mentoring.

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The venue is one of 22 organisations to receive grant funding worth a total of £630,060 from the foundation in 2018.

Fiona Martin, deputy director – learning and participation at The Customs House, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this generous grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

“It will be fantastic to be able to enrich and extend our work in developing theatre talent for promising young actors, directors and facilitators.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for the organisation to work with new, emerging regional talent, and we’re so excited to see the impact of this programme.”

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The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was set up by Lord Lloyd Webber in 1992 to promote the arts, culture and heritage for the public benefit.

Since its inception, he has been the principal provider of funding for all its charitable activities.

The latest round of grants is aimed at supporting emerging artists and the provision of music education, performing arts training and heritage skills.

Particular focus has been placed on projects that increase diversity and break down barriers to participation in the arts.

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Lord Lloyd Webber said: “This latest round of grants reflects my passion for the importance of arts education, increasing diversity on and off stage and ensuring that the next generation is equipped to champion and preserve our heritage.

“Many of the projects require matched funding and I urge other philanthropists, foundations and government to recognise the benefits and step up to support the life-enhancing effects of the arts and heritage.”

Lord Lloyd Webber, knighted in 1992, has a career spanning more than 50 years. His shows include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Evita, Cats, Starlight Express, and most recently, School of Rock.

For more details about theatre opportunities for young people at The Customs House, call Fiona Martin on 427 8188 or email: [email protected].