South Shields theatre's charity bid to get kids into the arts

Visitors to The Customs House are being asked to help give the gift of panto this Christmas.
Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock launches the Wishing on a Star campaign.Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock launches the Wishing on a Star campaign.
Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock launches the Wishing on a Star campaign.

The South Shields theatre has launched Wishing on a Star - a fundraising campaign to help more children and young people and their families attend a performance of next year’s panto, Beauty and the Beast.

Star-shaped baubles are available to buy for £1 each at the box office.

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People can then add their wishes to them and hang them in The Green Room café, bar and bistro for the duration of this year’s panto, The Lambton Worm, which runs until Saturday, January 6.

As well as providing a blanket of stars for decoration, the sale of the baubles will be used to subsidise tickets for next year’s show for people who would otherwise not get the opportunity to attend a panto performance.

Fiona Martin, deputy director learning and participation at The Customs House, said: “The Customs House prides itself on helping young people experience the joy of theatre.

“Every single pound raised by Wishing on a Star will support young people from South Tyneside to enjoy the magic of theatre at the most wonderful time of the year.”

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Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House - who is currently starring in The Lambton Worm as Dame Bella Ballcock - said: “Bella has made her wish and hung her baubles up for all to see.

“Come down and put yours on display too!”

The Lambton Worm panto has been written in celebration of the 150 th anniversary of the famous north east folk song, which tells the tale of John Lambton’s battle against a ferocious beast that had been terrorising County Durham villages.

The cast also includes David John Hopper as Arbuthnot, Steven Lee Hamilton as The Brave and Bold Sir John Lambton, Georgia Nicholson as Poison Pen from Penshaw, Natasha Haws as Susie the Soothsayer, Eleanor Chaganis as The Princess, Gareth Hunter as The Sultan, Cal

Halbert as Lord Larry Lambton and Lewis Jobson as Puddles the Dog.

Tickets for The Lambton Worm are priced from £9.99. Performance times vary.

For details, call the theatre box office on (0191) 454 1234 or book online at

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