Shields theatre director in hospital after collapsing during show

Jackie Fielding collapsed backstage during a performance of The Man and the Donkey.
Jackie Fielding collapsed backstage during a performance of The Man and the Donkey.

A theatre director is in hospital after taking ill backstage at her latest production in South Tyneside.

Jackie Fielding was found collapsed on Wednesday night just after the curtain had gone up for the play The Man and the Donkey, at the Customs House in South Shields.

She has further medical treatment to be had over the next few days and our hopes and prayers are with her and her family.

Ray Spencer, Customs House executive director

The 47-year-old, who lives near the Mill Dam theatre, had just finished giving notes to the actors and was heading to the front of the theatre to watch the show when she fell over.

An ambulance was called, and she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields before being transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

It is believed that she had suffered a brain aneurysm.

Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House, said: “We were very concerned, but we’re very happy to see that Jackie has had such brilliant care from South Tyneside District Hospital and the RVI.

“She now seems to be stable after quite a difficult time.

“She has further medical treatment to be had over the next few days, and our hopes and prayers are with her and her family.

“We found her collapsed just before 8pm and know she had been backstage giving notes to the actors and was coming through to the front to sit down and watch the show, but we don’t know exactly when she collapsed.

“We called an ambulance as soon as we found her, and the paramedics came and took her to the hospital.

“The play was under way and the actors weren’t informed until it had finished.”

A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 7.55pm to an address in Mill Dam.

“We arrived on the scene at 8.02pm and took one patient to South Tyneside District Hospital.”

The Man and the Donkey tells the story of South Shields-born war hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick, famous for helping rescue wounded soldiers during the First World War’s Gallipoli campaign until his death on May 19, 1915.

The play marks the 100th anniversary of his death.