The Customs House to mark 25 years on stage with special shows

The Customs House.
The Customs House.

South Tyneside’s biggest arts venue is aiming to celebrate a double anniversary with two special shows.

The Customs House, South Shields, is gearing up to celebrate its 25th anniversary - and the 10th anniversary of its youth theatre section in January.

Reece Connolly will be writing a special play to mark two special milestones at The Customs House.

Reece Connolly will be writing a special play to mark two special milestones at The Customs House.

To mark the occasion, two writers have been commissioned to write plays for both the junior and senior sections of the youth theatre.

The youth theatre is a weekly group open to young people - aged from 10 to 21 - with an interest in theatre, devising and acting.

The writer for the juniors’ show is Reece Connolly, who wrote Wormtown which was performed during The Takeover Festival at The Customs House in May this year, when he was the festival’s first Young Writer in Residence.

Fiona Martin, deputy director – learning and participation - at The Customs House, said: “Wormtown was so well received, so we were delighted to commission Reece to bring his amazing talent back to The Customs House stage again.”

Writer Alex Oates will also be putting together a show at The Customs House.

Writer Alex Oates will also be putting together a show at The Customs House.

The seniors will be working on a play by writer Alex Oates, who recently had his play, Silk Road, performed in the West End at Trafalgar Studios.

It will be returning to Newcastle’s Live Theatre later this year.

Both Alex, who grew up in Whitley Bay, and Reece, from Prudhoe, Northumberland, who is now based in London, have visited The Customs House Youth Theatre to find out more about the young actors they are writing for.

Alex said: “I’m really thrilled to be working with The Customs House Youth Theatre, writing a new piece for 15 brilliant young actors with such a diverse range of backgrounds is a wonderful opportunity and challenge.

Reece Connolly wrote Wormtown which was performed during The Takeover Festival at The Customs House in May this year.

Reece Connolly wrote Wormtown which was performed during The Takeover Festival at The Customs House in May this year.

“I met the group recently and loved spending a session with them, their enthusiasm for life and drama is contagious.”

Reece said: “I’m very excited to be working with The Customs House again.

“It’s amazing to be able to write the sort of play I’d have loved to perform when I was their age.”

The Customs House Youth Theatre has been supported by Arts Council England, South Tyneside Council, Hays Travel Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Port of Tyne.