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Preview: Autumn 2015 at Customs House

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Audiences Decide In New Autumn Theatre Season At South Shield’s Customs House

A new season of plays is being launched to bring the best contemporary drama to South Tyneside.

The Customs House in South Shields is introducing a new season called CUSTOM MADE consisting of seven very different shows by the most innovative companies making theatre in the UK.

Coronation Street’s Krissi Bohn
stars in The Bogus Woman
The productions have been hand-picked by The Customs House programming team to challenge perceptions of what theatre really is, and to bring award winning drama to the Mill Dam theatre.

Launching the season next month will be The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence, directed by Paulette Randall MBE - Associate Director for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

Executive Director of The Customs House Ray Spencer MBE said “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the very best drama from the very best companies to The Customs House.”

The season will also see Friends of The Customs House benefiting from a new Pay What You Decide scheme.

The Friends will be able to book their tickets for free and then pay how much they think it was worth at the end of the performance. The aim is for audiences to try out something new without worrying that they’ll be out of pocket or it may not be ‘up their street’. This scheme has been informed by the work of Arc Stockton who have had great success with their own Pay What You Decide scheme.

Ray added: “The Customs House prides itself in having very loyal supporters and we’re thrilled to be able to give back to our Friends of The Customs House by offering them this opportunity to see shows without paying anything upfront and to be able to feed back to us their thoughts on this new and exciting initiative.  I myself am looking forward to seeing these renowned artists on The Customs House stage and hearing just what our audiences think of our new-look drama season.”

Kicking of the season will be The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence on September 26 followed by You, Me and Everything Else on September 30 & October 1; Beats North on October 4; One Last Waltz on October 14; Confirmation on November 6; The Bogus Woman on November 9; and Be Brave and Leave for the Unknown on November 20 & 21.

Details of the shows is given below and to buy tickets go to , or call box office on 0191 454 1234. To become a Friend of The Customs House contact Angela Hannon on 0191 427 8183.

The shows: 
Vital Xposure presents                                                                                   
The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence
Thursday 17th September

Its 1914, England is at war and the Suffragette movement is gaining strength.

Dorothy Lawrence, a young journalist with aspirations to become a war correspondent, takes to her bicycle to join the frontline in France. What happens next rocks the powers that be and shakes her life apart. She was never seen in public again.

100 years on a young woman screams out a Punk Prayer in an orthodox cathedral, and her censure triggers a storm of protest that rocks the world.

This beautiful and cleverly written piece by Julie McNamara investigates their remarkable stories, and how history repeats itself; exposing the ways society deals with women who step out of line.

Take a trip in time to explore themes of inequality and power that still resonate today. With integrated British sign language interpretation.

Camisado Club presents
You, Me and Everything Else                                                     
Wednesday 30th September – Thursday 1st October

If you could send a mixtape to outer space, on behalf of planet Earth, what would be on it?

Right now, there’s a golden record hurtling through space. It’s a mixtape of songs, sounds and pictures from Earth, a valentine from the human race to whoever or whatever finds it.

This is a science-fact love story where two ordinary people look out into the universe and find the most human thing: love.

Created through Bridging the Gap, an ARC initiative with Northern Stage, The Customs House and The Maltings Theatre, Berwick. Supported by Arts Council England, The Sunday for Sammy Trust and Unity Theatre Trust

Company TSU presents
Beats North
Sunday 4th October

Al’s family wants him to be a Bollywood convert, but he craves Motown, the spotlight and his guitar. Jack gets lost in the power of Bonnie Tyler and his own imagination, much to his dad’s frustration.

A double bill by Luke Barnes and Ishy Din, with a live soundtrack by DJ Mariam Rezaei.

Beats North is an event that includes a double bill of one-man plays by Luke Barnes and Ishy Din ending in a guilty pleasures disco. Using a mixture of turntablism and live and recorded sampling and drum machines, award winning DJ Mariam Rezaei creates the soundtrack to both pieces live onstage.

The audience will have the opportunity to interact with the set and the DJ, as they are invited into the space before the show starts - to play a record, write on the lyric wall, record a story or song or dance at the silent disco. Before the show the audience are asked to confess their guilty pleasure song, which they post into the confessions box. The guilty pleasure songs collected then form the playlist for the Beats North disco at the end of the show when the audience is invited to join the cast onstage for a boogie!

Originally developed with young men in Teesside in 2013, Beats North is supported by Arts Council England, Northern Stage, Middlesbrough Council, Musinc, Arc Stockton Arts Centre, Northumbria University, The Empty Space through This Way Up, and has been developed through Northern Stage’s Title Pending Award and Fuel’s Jerwood Residencies at Cove Park which are supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

*Winner of the Northern Stage Title Pending Award 2013
*Shortlisted for a Brighton Fringe Award at Edinburgh Fringe 2014
*Lyn Gardner’s Hot Tickets for Edinburgh Fringe 2014 – The Guardian
Black Coffee Theatre presents
One Last Waltz                                                 
Wednesday 14th October                    

Alice is becoming more and more forgetful. Her daughter Mandy is always on hand to help out but the strain is becoming too much.

A long forgotten photograph stirs a memory and lures Alice back to the Crown Hotel in Blackpool.  The mother and daughter set out to dance in the tower ballroom one last time... But Blackpool isn’t how Alice remembers and things become too much for her as she finds herself getting lost in the past.

Based on real life events and experiences, this funny and touching new play explores the difficulties in coming to terms with Alzheimer’s.

Black Coffee Theatre was created in 2010 by Luke Adamson, Jonathan Holby and Maria Crocker.

Warwick Arts Centre & China Plate presents
Friday 6th November

If you pinned me against a wall, I’d probably admit to being a liberal. Of course, pinning me against a wall is exactly what I’d expect from someone like you.

Confirmation is a show about the gulfs we can’t talk across, and about the way we choose to see only the evidence that proves we’re right.

Working with research into the phenomenon of Confirmation Bias, Confirmation attempts to have an honourable dialogue, real and imagined, with political extremism. From multi-award-winning Chris Thorpe (Unlimited, Royal Exchange, Hannah Jane Walker) and Rachel Chavkin (The TEAM).

FRINGE FIRST AWARD-WINNER, Edinburgh Festival Fringe – 2014

Theatre by the Lake and Curtis Productions presents
The Bogus Woman                                                    
Monday 9thNovember

An African woman arrives in a strange country fleeing for her life, seeking safety and asylum. Despite having committed no crime she is indefinitely confined, interrogated, humiliated and abused.  She witnesses the cruelty of the authorities and their casual disregard for an individual’s human rights.  This strange country is England. 

Krissi Bohn (Coronation Street) performs this powerful, poetic and heart-wrenching play – bringing to life the 51 sharply etched characters who retell the experiences of this young woman.

Please note that this production contains strong language and scenes that may be unsuitable for younger audiences.  Age guidance: 16 years +.

‘Essential watching … Krissi Bohn acts to vividly realised and blistering perfection’
★★★★  The Independent, Lynne Walker

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