Help South Shields theatre bring story of The Dolly Mixtures to the stage

The remaining Dolly Mixtures, from left, Hilda Joyce, Sylvia Nichols, Doris Ashcroft, Margaret Fleck & Betty Dickinson.
The remaining Dolly Mixtures, from left, Hilda Joyce, Sylvia Nichols, Doris Ashcroft, Margaret Fleck & Betty Dickinson.

Theatre fans are being called on to help bring the true story of a group of extraordinary South Tyneside women to the stage.

The Customs House, in South Shields, has launched its first Crowdfunder campaign to help bring the inspirational tale of The Dolly Mixtures to life.

The Dolly Mixtures.

The Dolly Mixtures.

Bosses at the Mill Dam theatre hope to raise £15,000.

New musical The Dolly Mixtures tells the story of eight incredible women who set up a variety act when friend Margaret Fleck’s husband, Ken, was diagnosed with cancer.

They toured the working men’s clubs of the borough in the 1970s and went on to raise a staggering £100,000 – which is equivalent to more than £1million in today’s money.

The show has been penned by the South Tyneside dream team of playwright Tom Kelly and musician John Miles, who were behind theatrical hits including Tom & Catherine, The Machine Gunners and Dan Dare, which were all staged at the Customs House to packed audiences.

Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, who is also directing The Dolly Mixtures, said: “They overcame amorous committee men, transport troubles and difficult audiences to raise £100,000 across the North East for Cancer Research.

“These women really were the North East’s very own Calendar Girls and we’re hoping the people will help bring this fantastic story to life.”

These women formed an unbreakable bond – touring the male-dominated social clubs, breaking down barriers and raising smiles, eyebrows and much needed funds along the way.

The fabulous, funny and cheeky Dolly Mixtures donned crazy wigs and costumes, sang their hearts out and generally made fun of themselves all for an amazing cause.

The girls took to the road, while juggling kids and full-time jobs, to do something truly special.

The Dolly Mixtures runs from Wednesday, August 24 to Saturday, September 3 and follows last summer’s smash hit Geordie the Musical, also written by Tom Kelly.

If you would like to help with the Crowdfunder campaign visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-dolly-mixtures-musical for exclusive perks from meet and greets to signed memorabilia.

Tickets cost from £15. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 454 1234.