Last chance to see amazing free light show projected onto Customs House in South Shields

Crowds are expected to turn out for the last night of a dazzling light show projected onto the side one of South Shields most-loved buildings.
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Heart of the House, a sound and light spectacular, has been running since Friday as part of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of The Customs House.

And tonight is your last chance to see the free show, which is projected on to two sides of the and culture venue, with the display running from 6pm and 10pm.

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Heart of the House is being delivered by NOVAK, an award-winning creative design agency, who won a joint commission from The Customs House and The Cultural Spring, an Arts Council England funded project working to increase arts participation in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Cultural Spring Co-Directors Michal Barrass and Emma ScarrCultural Spring Co-Directors Michal Barrass and Emma Scarr
Cultural Spring Co-Directors Michal Barrass and Emma Scarr

“The weather is forecast to be dry tonight and we’re hoping for a bumper crowd for our last night,” said Emma Scarr, co-director of Cultural Spring.

“We’re delighted with Heart of the House and grateful to NOVAK for what they have produced – a memorable production which is a fitting tribute to a much-loved and well-respected South Tyneside landmark.

“Hundreds of people ignored really bad weather on Friday to watch the show, and we’d like to thank the Customs House Community Choir who entertained those who turned up with some wonderfully performed water-themed songs, which were so apt in the rain.

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“Heart of the House successfully captures the many elements and aspects that make up The Customs House – including its history, the annual magic festival, its regular comedy club, the popular panto and the work it does with young people and in the community.

The NOVAK and Cultural Spring teams in front of The Customs HouseThe NOVAK and Cultural Spring teams in front of The Customs House
The NOVAK and Cultural Spring teams in front of The Customs House

She added: “It’s a special place and we hope Heart of the House reflects that.”

Customs House executive director Ray Spencer said: “We’ve been celebrating our 25th year throughout 2019, during which we’ve brought back some terrific productions that have been popular here, but to have Heart of the House written about us and for us by NOVAK has been great.

“Heart of the House is a great family show – and just like The Customs House has something for everyone. I’d urge everyone to pop down and see tonight – it won’t be shown again.”

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The show’s centerpiece is the projection of a ten-minute, continuously-looped projection about The Customs House on to the historic building, and it also includes an illuminated walkway leading down to the venue through its landscaped frontage.

More than 300 local people were involved in creating Heart of the House, making banners and flags in workshops for the walkway, and helping local musician and composer Ed Carter create an original soundscape which helps brings the film to life.

NOVAK works in motion design and large format video and are specialists in ‘projection mapping’ on to buildings. The company also works on art installations, stage visuals for music artists and video accompaniments for theatre and dance performances. The NOVAK team has worked on the UK’s largest light festival, Lumiere and their work has also featured at leading music festivals including Glastonbury, Fuji Rock (Japan) and Roskilde (Denmark).

The Cultural Spring is an Arts Council-funded project aiming to encourage and increase participation in the arts in South Tyneside and Wearside. The project’s four partners are the University of Sunderland; The Customs House, South Shields, Sunderland’s Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and Sangini, a women’s health organisation.

Find out more about the Cultural Spring project at or for the very latest news follow the project on Twitter @Cultural_Spring