Songs of the shipyards set to return to South Shields

Men on the Tyne,  from left, Ted Cuskin, Tom Kelly and Ian Ravenscroft
Men on the Tyne, from left, Ted Cuskin, Tom Kelly and Ian Ravenscroft

The tale of the Tyne shipyards is returning to a South Shields theatre.

Writer Tom Kelly is bringing his stories back to The Customs House.

The Men of the Tyne cast aboard the cruise ship Fortuna. From left, Ray Spencer,  Ian Ravenscroft, Andy Hagan, Ted Cuskin and Tom Kelly.

The Men of the Tyne cast aboard the cruise ship Fortuna. From left, Ray Spencer, Ian Ravenscroft, Andy Hagan, Ted Cuskin and Tom Kelly.

Men of the Tyne was born out of conversations Tom started having in 2011 with men who worked on the river between the 1950s and 1980s.

In a project commissioned by Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, Tom worked with filmmaker Andrew Hagan to capture their stories.

What started as a short performance on board the Fortuna as it sailed up and down the Tyne soon turned into a full show which has toured the region, as well as inspired an education project and photographic exhibition.

It returns to The Customs House for two shows on Thursday, September 14, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, featuring stories, songs and a screening of the film.

We have taken the show to venues all over the North East.

Tom Kelly

Tom wrote and performs the stories in the show and the songs, written by himself and Ian Ravenscroft, are played by Ian and sung by folk singer Ted Cuskin.

Tom said: “We now have about 10 songs and as many stories, and we have the film by Andrew Hagan which kicks off the second half of the show.

“We’re now in our seventh year and we have taken the show to venues all over the North East, but it is always nice to come home to The Customs House.”

The Tyne shipyards were a symbol of the North East’s industrial heritage respected throughout the world.

Sadly, some of the men Tom originally interviewed have since died, which makes the preservation of their stories for future generations all the more important.

Tickets, priced £10 or £8 for Friends of The Customs House, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.