Meet the colourful characters of this year’s Customs House panto Alice in Wonderland

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Alice Natasha Haws and The Mad Hatter Steven Lee Hamilton
Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Alice Natasha Haws and The Mad Hatter Steven Lee Hamilton

You’d be as mad as a hatter to miss this show.

Colourful characters were out in force yesterday for the launch of this year’s Customs House pantomime.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Queen of Hearts Ann -Marie Owens

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Queen of Hearts Ann -Marie Owens

The Mill Dam theatre, in South Shields, will be home to Alice in Wonderland from December 1.

South Tyneside actors Steven Lee Hamilton and Natasha Haws stepped into their character’s shoes as they dressed up as The Mad Hatter and Alice for the official panto photoshoot.

South Shields-born opera singer Ann-Marie Owens also got into her role as the Queen of Hearts.

The festive show was chosen specially to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Kylie Ann Ford as the Doormouse and Stephen Sullivan as the March Hare.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Kylie Ann Ford as the Doormouse and Stephen Sullivan as the March Hare.

The quirky story follows a young girl who finds herself in a mysterious realm filled with a hookah-smoking caterpillar, a grinning cat, and many other kooky characters after falling down a rabbit hole.

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House – who also co-writes and directs the annual show – is again stepping into the role of the dame and starring as the Duchess.

He said: “It’s amazing how quickly it comes to be that we’re coming towards another panto and this one is going to be very special.”

The panto is one of many Alice-themed events that have been going on throughout the borough during the year.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland.

Carroll had family in South Tyneside and it is believed he wrote part of the novel while he was staying in Whitburn.

The panto runs until January 9, next year. To book tickets, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 454 1234.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Ray Spencer as the Duchess.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Ray Spencer as the Duchess.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Gareth Hunter and Craig Richardson as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Launch of Customs House panto, Alice in Wonderland. Gareth Hunter and Craig Richardson as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.