Homegrown talent set to star in South Shields summer programme

Andrew Finnigan as Lecky and Chris Connel as Uncle Freddie
Andrew Finnigan as Lecky and Chris Connel as Uncle Freddie

Homegrown talent is to take centre stage in South Shields this summer.

Comedy show My Uncle Freddie, based on the original BBC Radio Four series, is among the highlights of the summer programme at The Customs House.

Peter Mitchell.

Peter Mitchell.

It will be brought to the stage for the first time by Jarrow writer Alex Ferguson, of The Customs House Academy.

The story is set in 1930s Jarrow and is based on the adventures of 10-year-old Lecky and his family.

Uncle Freddie – which runs from Tuesday, July 17 to Saturday, July 21 – will be played by Chris Connel, while The Customs House Youth Theatre alum Andrew Finnigan, from South Shields, takes on the role of his nephew.

The first stage adaptation of iconic TV drama When The Boat Comes In will run from Thursday, August 15 to Saturday, August 25.

I hope people will attend in large numbers to celebrate work made by our own, about our own

Ray Spencer

The show will explore the struggles of life on Tyneside during the inter-war years, and has been written by Peter Mitchell, the son of the original creator, South Shields-born James Mitchell.

It has been specially commissioned by The Customs House to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War

Other North East tales being told on stage include Woven Bones, about the 2013 discovery in Durham of the remains of the long-lost ‘Scottish Soldiers’ from the 1650 Battle of Dunbar.

The third annual South Tyneside Comedy Festival runs from Friday, July 27, to Saturday, August 4, featuring the likes of Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy, Paul Sinha, Justin Moorhouse, Steffen Peddie, festival director Jason Cook and Johnny Vegas.

Woven Bones

Woven Bones

Family entertainment includes Arbuthnot and Puddles’ Pirate Adventure, from Tuesday, July 24 to Thursday, July 26, The Customs House Summer School production of The Addams Family, from Friday, August 10, to Sunday, August 12, and Once Upon a Storytime, from Tuesday, August 26, to Friday, August 31.

Music includes Encore for Charity, an annual fundraising performance in aid of the Rotary Club of Jarrow with Harton, on Thursday, July 12, Bee Gees tribute Stayin’ Alive, on Friday, July 13, and Little Mix tribute Little Mix Magic on Sunday, September 2.

The Customs House’s executive director, Ray Spencer, said: “The word iconic is often overused, but this season has a fair smattering of icons and world premieres.

“When The Boat Comes In resonates with so many people of a certain vintage, who were gripped by the unfolding fortunes of the central characters every Sunday night.

Johnny Vegas.

Johnny Vegas.

“The funny and heart-warming BBC Radio 4 series My Uncle Freddie ran for six seasons and won the comedy/light entertainment (radio) category in the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 1996.

“I hope people will attend in large numbers to celebrate work made by our own, about our own.”

To book tickets, call 0191 454 1234.

Arbuthnot and Puddles

Arbuthnot and Puddles

The Addams Family.

The Addams Family.

Encore.

Encore.

Stayin' Alive

Stayin' Alive

Little Mix Magic.

Little Mix Magic.