Young actors strike gold at the Customs House

South Tyneside teenagers Jayden Blacklock and Andrew Walker have all just gained their Gold Arts Award at the Customs House, South Shields.
South Tyneside teenagers Jayden Blacklock and Andrew Walker have all just gained their Gold Arts Award at the Customs House, South Shields.

Young actors have struck gold at a South Tyneside theatre.

Teenagers Jayden Blacklock, Jazmin Cook and Andrew Walker have all gained their Gold Arts Award at the Customs House, in South Shields.

The young people are all long-standing members of the Customs House Youth Theatre senior group.

The award means they all hold a Level 3 certificate in the arts as well as 35 Ucas points.

Cultural development officer, Fiona Kelly, who also runs the youth theatre, said: “I am incredibly proud of Jayden, Jazmin and Andrew, and delighted they now have this achievement, and that the Customs House has been able to support them to gain this qualification.”

Jayden, 17, who attends St Joseph’s RC Academy, in Hebburn, and Jazmin and Andrew, who are both 18, and attend Harton Sixth Form, South Shields, each had to complete an artistic challenge in directing, devised theatre and verbatim theatre, respectively.

They also saw and reviewed a variety of theatre performances at the Customs House, Northern Stage and Live Theatre, and researched more advanced practitioners in their chosen field of theatre.

The young people also developed their skills and ran a children’s drama group, developing their leadership, planning and communication skills.

Andrew, who is applying and auditioning for drama courses at university, has already been asked about his experience of directing through his Gold Arts Award during the process. He has been offered a conditional place at Northumbria University, to start in September.  

He said: “I really gained a lot from completing my Gold Arts Award at the Customs House.

“Not only did I learn the skills needed to be a director, which will really benefit me in the future, but I also teach children drama, which is something that I never thought I would be able to do.

“It’s been a really positive experience, and I am also thrilled to gain 35 Ucas points, which will help me get into university and hopefully see me achieving my dream of becoming an actor.”

Customs House executive director, Ray Spencer, added: “I am absolutely delighted that these three young people have gained their Gold Arts Award and that the moderators also recognised their exceptional work.”

For more information on Arts Award at the Customs House, contact Cultural Development Team on Fiona@customshouse.co.uk or DClifford@customshouse.co.uk

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki