More than 8,000 tickets already sold for this year's South Shields panto

Panto fever is continuing in South Tyneside - with more than 8,000 tickets for this year's Customs House show having already been snapped up.
David John Hopper as Arbuthnot and Ray Spencer as Dame Bella.David John Hopper as Arbuthnot and Ray Spencer as Dame Bella.
David John Hopper as Arbuthnot and Ray Spencer as Dame Bella.

Beauty and the Beast is coming to the South Shields theatre from late-November.

It follows on from the success of The Lambton Worm at the Mill Dam venue last year.

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Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, who co-writes, directs and stars in the annual panto as Dame Bella, has urged people to get their tickets quickly.

He said: “We’re thrilled so many people enjoyed their last trip to Cooksonville so much that they have already booked to return.

“Performances on Christmas Eve have virtually sold out and seats are filling up quickly for Christmas week, so get your tickets quick, before the last petal falls!”

Dame Bella will return alongside her hapless son Arbuthnot in the show, which was originally written more than 300 years ago.

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Beauty and the Beast has since been retold many times in film, musicals and on stage, most recently in last year’s live adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney classic, starring Emma Watson as Belle.

For the first time, it will now get the unique Customs House twist.

It will run from Tuesday, November 27, 2018, until Saturday, January 5, 2019.

Tickets are on sale now, priced from £9.99, with prices frozen until July 31.

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To book, contact the box office on 0191 454 1234 or visit

Theatre-goers can also catch Arbuthnot - played by David John Hopper - and Puddles, his sidekick from The Lambton Worm, in Puddles’ Adventure, which is on at the Customs House from Wednesday, February 14, to Friday, February 16.

The show reunites cast and characters from previous pantos at the Customs House, including Steven Lee Hamilton as Fleshcreep from Jack and the Beanstalk, Eleanor Chaganis as Dormouse from Alice in Wonderland and Kylie Ann Ford as Chorizo the Pig from Little Red Riding Hood, as Arbuthnot and Puddles take on Fleshcreep.

Performances are at 11am and 2pm, and tickets are priced from £7.50.