A theatre boss says that a new musical is a fitting tribute to a director who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Jackie Fielding was lined up to direct Geordie The Musical at the Customs House, in South Shields.
But the 47-year-old tragically lost her life in May after suffering a brain aneurysm while she was backstage at the Mill Dam venue.
The show, which opened on Friday, is now dedicated to her memory and is under the helm of director Jamie Brown and co-director Viktoria Kay.
Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, said: “Jackie was an immensely talented performer and a terrific director who made the Customs House her home. She was an absolute inspiration to so many performers, writers and fellow directors.
“We have been thrilled with the audiences’ reactions to the Geordie The Musical previews and we’re delighted to be starting the run officially today.
“Jamie, Viktoria and the cast have created a real theatrical experience – a feast for our Geordie eyes and ears.”
The story was written by Andy Bogle and was transformed for the stage by Jarrow playwright Tom Kelly.
Ray added: “Andy, Tom, myself and Jackie all worked closely on developing Geordie and the outcome is a fitting tribute to a fantastic director who has certainly left a lasting mark on the show and the Customs House.”
The heartwarming tale of North East life, which runs until September 5, was the brainchild of ex-pat Andy.
Andy, Tom, myself and Jackie all worked closely on developing Geordie and the outcome is a fitting tribute to a fantastic director who has certainly left a lasting mark on the show and the Customs House.Ray Spencer, Customs House executive director
Andy was born and bred in South Shields and grew up in Garrick Street, off Stanhope Road.
The 67-year-old has lived in the United States for more than 30 years and despite keeping his own accent he realised certain Geordie sounds and phrases had changed since he’d moved away from his native North East.
So he began to look into it and came up with the idea of a musical with all the late 19th century Geordie songs in it which cherished his beloved language – Geordie.
He said: “When I was younger, talking in your dialect was discouraged as it was seen as common, but I treasure it now.
“Geordie is the remnants of Angle, which pre-dates English. In the 1800s people started singing songs and they were published in 1804/5 to preserve this beautiful language.
“If you read some of them now you couldn’t understand them but this was the language of the people of the North East which has now broken into Northumberland, Tyneside and Pitmatic (Durham).
“Even after all this time away, my heart and dialect are still firmly rooted in South Shields.
“Doing the play here and funding it is a way of giving back to the community - a wonderful opportunity to bring the show to South Shields, supporting the area, the Customs House and theatre in general.”
l Tickets cost £13 with an £11 concession. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call the box office on 0191 454 1234.