Lindsay Kemp hopes to entertain and inspire people when he comes home to South Shields

The man who taught David Bowie to dance says he is is hoping to inspire and entertain people when he comes back to his home town of South Shields.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:33 pm
Lindsay Kemp is coming home to South Shields.

Lindsay Kemp will be at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, on Tuesday, September 20.

The choreographer and performer will be telling the audience all about his life and career.

Lindsay Kemp during a live performance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Lindsay was born to South Shields parents in the Wirral on Merseyside in 1938, but when his sailor father was lost at sea in 1940, his mother brought him back to her hometown, and lived in Talbot Road, West Harton.

He saw his first pantomime at the Sunderland Empire at the age of four, and was hooked on theatre and performance.

Lindsay, 78, said: “I’m so excited to come back to South Shields, I haven’t been for years so I’m really looking forward to meeting up with old friends and hopefully making some new ones too.

“I’m really looking forward to the show and to the workshops I’m doing at Whitburn Academy – all organised by the Cultural Spring.

Lindsay Kemp with David Bowie.

“I’m dying to come and see the Customs House as well. When I was in South Shields we didn’t have a theatre or anything like that, there wasn’t a lot of cultural activity.

“Even though it was very badly bombed in the war, I remember it being beautiful in South Shields, it had a poetry and a beauty.”

Lindsay last visited the town in the 1960s.

He said: “I took my mother there for a holiday and it rained all week. She was a bit upset to see that the house she grew up in was gone and replaced with blocks of flats and that all her neighbours had moved on.

Lindsay Kemp during a live performance.

“I’m sure it’s changed a lot more since then and I’m excited to see it.”

He added: “One of my favourite things to do as a child was go on the ferry over to North Shields. I also loved playing in the church yard in St Hilda’s and down the Mill Dam amongst the old ship wreckages.

“I wish I could stay in South Shields longer but I have to get back to Italy for rehearsals of an opera I’m directing.”

Lindsay formed his own dance company in the early 60s and first attracted attention with an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in 1968.

Lindsay Kemp with David Bowie.

Numerous acclaimed performances followed. By this point, he’d already met 19-year-old David Bowie.

The singer later turned to Lindsay to choreograph the stage show of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

He also worked with Kate Bush.

He said: “I first met David Bowie in the 1960s and we worked a lot together. He was my student and I later became his co-star in Ziggy Stardust.

“I’ll be talking all about our time together – and about Kate Bush too – in my show. I want lots of questions from the audience as well, not just saved until the end, but all the way through – I want it to be like a conversation.

“I’m going to be very candid about everything. I hope people are entertained by the show but also inspired by it, that’s what I really want.”

“I’ll be showing some videos of my performances as well and I’d love to come back to the Customs House one day to put on a performance.

“I haven’t even been yet and I’m already sad about leaving, so I do hope they’ll have me back one day.”

An Encounter with Lindsay Kemp starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10. To book, go to or call the box office on 0191 454 1234.