You’d be mad as a hatter not to celebrate today.
The Customs House in South Shields is marking Mad Hatter Day by unveiling its very own kooky character.
Panto favourite Steven Lee Hamilton will be playing the Mad Hatter in the Mill Dam theatre’s festive show Alice in Wonderland.
He’ll be back on stage for the annual pantomime from December 1 to January 9, next year.
Mad Hatter Day celebrates silliness and takes place on June 10 every year. The date was picked to signify the ‘10/6’ note which appears in John Tenniel’s drawing of the much-loved character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The note actually indicates the cost of a similar hat that would be 10 shillings and sixpence. Mad Hatter Day has been marked for almost 30 years and is celebrated in the US on October 6, due to the way dates are arranged in America.
I love being in the Customs House panto and I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing such an iconic character.Steven Lee Hamilton
Customs House executive director Ray Spencer, who stars in, writes and directs the pantomime, said: “Alice goes to pantoland this year and we can’t wait.
“We’re thrilled Steven is once again a part of our fantastic panto family and we look forward to a great Christmas in Wonderland.”
Steven, who started pantomime at the Customs House in 2003, marked the occasion himself by enjoying a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the venue.
He added: “I love being in the Customs House panto and I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing such an iconic character.”
The theatre has already seen more than 8,000 tickets snapped up for this year’s festive treat, which will also mark two milestones.
2015 marks 150 years since the Customs House opened its doors and since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published.
The panto also sees the return of set and costume designers Paul Shriek and Matt Fox.
This year’s annual South Tyneside Festival Summer Parade, which takes place on July 4, will also celebrate Carroll’s novel, some of which he penned in Whitburn.
Ray added: “This year seemed to be the perfect time to debut an Alice in Wonderland pantomime at the Customs House, so don’t be late to celebrate and get your tickets now.”
Tickets for the panto, sponsored by Hays Travel, cost from £9. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call