A new musical to be performed in South Tyneside will be dedicated to a much-loved member of the theatre community who died earlier this year.
Geordie The Musical was due to be directed by Jackie Fielding at the Customs House, in South Shields next month, but following her sudden death it will now be dedicated to her memory.
Jackie had worked closely with the creative team to shape the play.
She lost her life on May 26 at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where she was receiving treatment following a brain aneurysm.
The 47-year-old, who lived in South Shields, was found collapsed a week earlier just after the curtain had gone up for the play The Man and the Donkey, at the Customs House.
Customs House executive director Ray Spencer said: “Jackie was an immensely talented performer and director who made the Customs House her home. It is only right that this production is dedicated to a woman who is still an absolute inspiration to so many.”
Andy Bogle, the ex-pat who came up with the story behind the musical, added: “Jackie left an indelible mark on Geordie and her creative input serves as a fitting tribute to a life devoted to the theatre.”
The show, which features traditional Geordie songs and is set during a time of change in the North East, will now be directed by Jamie Brown, who worked closely with Jackie on several projects and starred in her final show, The Man and the Donkey, in May.
He said: “I will be forever thankful to have been entrusted as one of Jackie’s leading men over the past few years, including in her final production. Her loss is still very raw to me.
“How she’d feel about me directing Geordie in her stead, I couldn’t possibly say – all I can say is that I’m honoured and privileged to be part of a project which, although it may be going ahead without her at the helm, will have her as the wind in its sails, and the fire in the belly of all those driving the project forwards.
“There is little doubt that our time together shaped me artistically and personally and I can’t think of anything that could stand me in better stead for the challenge ahead.”
His assistant director will be his Man and the Donkey co-star Viktoria Kay.
She added: “Being part of Geordie the Musical is a very special honour and a privilege for me. When I read the script, I was full of pride. Jackie was always my champion and for that I will forever be in her debt. just a smidgeon of that debt.
“The fact that Geordie The Musical has been dedicated to Jackie will make her very happy, albeit secretly, as she was renown to hate any sort of fuss made of her.”
Geordie runs from August 21 to September 5.
Tickets cost from £10. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call 0191 454 1234.