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Preview: Geordie the Musical at South Shields Customs House
The cast of a new musical are gearing up for its premiere this weekend.
Previews of Geordie The Musical start on Friday night at The Customs House theatre in South Shields.
The musical is a heart-warming story of North East life featuring traditional Geordie songs.
The nine-strong cast, who include recognisable names and faces from the stage and screen, have been working hard on the show penned by award-winning playwright Tom Kelly.
Director Jamie Brown said: "I'm excited. Staging a brand new piece of theatre on this scale poses many challenges, but fortunately, we've managed to assemble a group of actors and creatives who not only have the skills to meet these challenges head on, but are also a joy to share a rehearsal space with. I can't wait to see the final product on opening night."
It will star actors Eleanor Chaganis, Micky Cochrane, Phil Corbitt, Adam Donaldson, James Hedley, Viktoria Kay, Luke Maddison, Donald McBride and Shaun Prendergast.
Mike Turnbull is the musical director, set has been produced by Kate Urwin, James Henshaw is the lighting designer, and the costumes have been created by Lou Duffy.
Geordie The Musical was the brainchild of ex-pat Andy Bogle, who has lived in the United States for the last 30 years. A Geordie through-and-through Andy treasures his accent and was disappointed to hear some of the familiar sounds of his childhood were disappearing from the region.
He set about working with The Customs House and Tom to come up with a way to celebrate the North East language and Geordie The Musical was born.
Geordie the Musical is set in the 1890s in a pub on the banks of the River Tyne and centres on pub landlords Bella and James and their daughter Maggie in a changing time for the North East.
Viktoria Kay & Jamie Brown
Assistant director Viktoria Kay, who is also playing Bella, added: “It's no mean feat putting together a brand new musical but with such a hard-working, dedicated and talented cast it seems effortless.
“It’s beautiful to be able to celebrate the region and all we stand for here. I’m really proud to be part of a production, which at the heart of it lies the spirit of the North East. The driving force for the team has been to create a production that North East audiences will be proud to call their own.
“The rehearsal process has been a real bonding experience. As actors, we’re often here, there and everywhere and scattered all over the country for long periods of time, not only has this production brought us all together but it has enabled us to share our love of the North East – our home.”
Geordie The Musical is dedicated to director Jackie Fielding who passed away earlier this year and was due to direct the show. A memorial show will also be held in Jackie's honour on September 13. It will raise funds to help young budding actors go to drama school.