The little panto with the big heart - Beauty and the Beast comes to South Shields
Pantomime season at The Customs House sees the tale as old as time receiving the South Shield's-based theatre's unique interpretation.
Originally written almost 300 years ago, Beauty and the Beast has had many retellings in film, musicals and on stage, but for the first time ever, it is now to receive the unique Customs House twist.
Voted "the most entertaining panto" by The North East Theatre Guide for three years in succession, all eyes will be on this 400 seater theatre that continually punches above its weight.
Executive Director of The Customs House, Ray Spencer, directs and co-writes the panto with Graeme Thompson.
He will return this year as Dame Bella Ballcock, alongside her hapless son Arbuthnot, played by popular local actor and comedian David John Hopper.
Beauty will be played by Annie Guy, Steven Lee Hamilton is The Prince/Beast, Afnan Iftikhar takes on the role of Gascoigne, Gareth Hunter is Beauty’s father, the Duke du Pomme Frites.
Georgia Nicholson is playing the housekeeper, Hortense, Eleanor Changanis is The Enchantress, and Charlie Raine takes on the role of Cutlet the Sheep.
Ray Spencer said: “The Customs House pantomime has been an integral part of festive fun in South Tyneside for the last 24 years; each year our popularity grows and attracts visitors from much further afield!
"Grateful thanks go to our loyal sponsors, Hays Travel, Colman’s, South Tyneside College and Blue Line Taxis. This year’s ticket sales are well ahead of last year’s hugely successful show so we’re advising panto goers to be quick and get their tickets before the last petal falls!”
The venue's costume designer, Paul Shriek, has added another accolade to the show's title before it's even begun.
He this year picked up the Best Costume Design prize at the prestigious Great British Panto Awards, against the might of the London Palladium.
So, why was the Prince of Peterlee turned into the Beast of Cooksonville by the beautiful enchantress, and how was the hapless Arbuthnot turned into a vacuum?
All will be revealed as Dame Bella Ballcock leads the band of merry players through an inimitable take on this well-loved story.
The Customs House panto will also be doing its bit for a good cause, with a charity collection taking place at the end of each show.
Other partners of this year's Beauty and the Beast performance include:
Cellpack Solutions Ltd.JC EventsGoldfinch Estate AgentsHenderson Insurance Brokers Ltd.1st Class Mailing Ltd.Crystlsd Creative Communications Ltd.Metro Radio
Beauty and The Beast, sponsored by Hays Travel, Tuesday, November 27 to Saturday, January 5. Tickets are priced from Â£9.99 and are available at The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields.
You can also contact the Box Office on 0191 454 1234 or visit the website here www.customshouse.co.uk