Top designer gives traditional Customs House panto magic touch

This year’s traditional Customs House panto has been given an extra sprinkling of magic - thanks to stunning costumes created by top designer Paul Shriek.

The award-winning designer has made a range of beautiful creations for the cast of Beauty and the Beast - this year’s production for the “little panto with the big heart” in South Shields.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast with designers Paul Shriek and Matt Fox outside of The Customs House in South Shields.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast with designers Paul Shriek and Matt Fox outside of The Customs House in South Shields.

It is the first time Beauty and the Beast has been staged as the traditional Christmas pantomime at the theatre, in Mill Dam South Shields, and it will run from Tuesday, November 27 until Saturday, January 5.

Earlier this year, fashion, costume and set designer Paul’s creations for The Customs House won Best Costume Design in the Great British Pantomime Awards.

Shriek works with long-time collaborator Matt Fox and their company Fox and Shriek creates unique theatrical productions.

Paul said: “Our collaboration with The Customs House pantomime has gone from strength to strength in the last nine years.

Steven Lee Hamilton as the Prince and Beast.

Steven Lee Hamilton as the Prince and Beast.

“After winning a best costume design award this year, we’ve taken great delight in pulling out all the stops to create a big, bold and beautiful Customs House panto this year.

“Beauty and the Beast’s set and costumes are a smorgasbord of flamboyant imagery inspired by cinematic and theatrical memories – I call it ‘Hollywood vintage couture’.”

Stars of the show include the theatre’s executive director, Ray Spencer MBE, who plays Dame Bella Ballcock; Annie Guy who stars as Beauty de Pomefrite; and Steven Lee Hamilton who takes on the role of Pierrot, The Prince/Beast.

Ray, who has written and directed the show, said: “Fox and Shriek have that rare gift of visioning truly innovative dreams and ideas.”

Ray Speancer MBE as Dame Bella Ballcock.

Ray Speancer MBE as Dame Bella Ballcock.

The Customs House pantomime has also received the accolade of being The Most Entertaining’ by The North East Theatre Guide for three years in a row.

For tickets call the Box Office.

Designer Paul Shriek with Annie Guy who plays Beauty de Pomefrites.

Designer Paul Shriek with Annie Guy who plays Beauty de Pomefrites.

The cast of Beauty and the beast outside of The Customs House in South Shields.

The cast of Beauty and the beast outside of The Customs House in South Shields.

Gareth Hunter as The Duke de Pommefrites.

Gareth Hunter as The Duke de Pommefrites.

Eleanor Chaganis as Theresa The Enchantress.

Eleanor Chaganis as Theresa The Enchantress.

Charlie Raine as Cutlet the Sheep.

Charlie Raine as Cutlet the Sheep.

Afnan Iftikhar as Gaviscon.

Afnan Iftikhar as Gaviscon.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast in their costumes by paul Shriek.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast in their costumes by paul Shriek.