South Shields theatre bosses aim for double celebration

Staff from The Customs House want people to show their love for the venue in its 25th year.
Staff from The Customs House want people to show their love for the venue in its 25th year.

Bosses at South Tyneside’s biggest arts venue have two reasons to celebrate this panto season.

The opening night of Beauty and the Beast at The Customs House in South Shields also sees the launch of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

It marks the start of a year-long programme of events, including the return of the plays Tom and Catherine and When the Boat Comes In to the Mill Dam theatre.

The Customs House has also announced that next year’s panto will be Snow White - which was the first panto to be performed at the venue in 1994.

The sequel to When the Boat Comes In – When the Boat Comes In: The Hungry Years – will hit the stage in September.

A fundraising campaign has also been launched to give people the chance to show their love for The Customs House by sponsoring a heart.

The hearts will be displayed in the box office area at first before spreading throughout the building.

Each heart will contain a small message, so people can dedicate it to someone or add something to signify their precious memories of The Customs House.

The hearts are available in four sizes and prices start at £25.

Ray Spencer MBE, executive director of The Customs House, said: “We often call ourselves The Little Panto with the Big Heart, but we would like to think that we are right at the heart of our community.

“For 25 years we have made magic, supported good causes and given a lot of special memories.

“Now we launch an appeal for people to show their love of The Customs House and place their heart in the heart of our building and give us the foundation to continue serving our audiences and wider community for another 25 years.”

People can also get involved in the 25th anniversary celebrations by snapping up one of 25 places The Customs House has secured for The Great North Run.