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Preview: Arbuthnot and Puddles’ Pirate Adventure at South Shields Customs House


Arbuthnot and Puddles’ Pirate Adventure
South Shields Customs House
Tuesday 24th July to Friday 26th July 2018

A young joke lover won big on his first trip to The Customs House.

Ten-year-old Ethan Stayman travelled from Chester-le-Street with his family and friends to see Arbuthnot’s Super Happy Silly Fun Game Show at The Customs House, in South Shields, during the Easter school holidays.  He entered the joke competition and walked away with the big prize of a PlayStation 4, which he picked up on his tenth birthday and has been enjoying with his younger brother Elliot, six, ever since.

The gag he entered was: How do you make a duck more soulful? Zap it in the microwave until its Bill Withers.

The joke will now be used in Arbuthnot and Puddles’ upcoming Pirate Adventure, which runs at The Customs House from Tuesday 24th July to Friday 26th July, at 11am and 2pm.  

Arburthnot’s Super Silly Happy Fun Gameshow winner
Ethan Stayman collects his prize from David John Hopper (Arbuthnot). 
Ethan’s mum, Serena, said: “I saw on Facebook that a friend was going with her children, so we thought we’d tag along because it looked like it would be fun. It was the first time we’d been to The Customs House.  Ethan is a bit shy but he does like telling jokes and he has a few joke books. I think he probably gets it from his dad, Robert, because he likes jokes too.  He sings in the school choir and they were singing a Bill Withers song, Lean On Me, and I think one of the teachers told the joke. Ethan came home and told us and we all thought it was really funny. His dad encouraged him to enter it into the competition and he was taken aback when he won. He and his brother are loving the prize because they’ve never had a PlayStation or anything like it before. I can’t get them off it!”

David John Hopper, who has played Arbuthnot since his first appearance in The Customs House panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, in 2016, said: “The joke tickled me because I’ve never heard it before and I thought it was just so clever and witty!”

Arbuthnot and Puddles
Arbuthnot and Puddles are taking a break over the May half-term to make way for The Takeover Festival for young people at The Customs House, but they’re back with a new show in the summer holidays.  Arbuthnot surprises his best friend Puddles by booking tickets for an exotic cruise. The only problem is, they’re setting sail on a pirate ship! Will our heroes sink or a swim? Find out as they sing, dance and boogie their way through this toe-tapping, swash-buckling pirate adventure.

Hopper, who co-writes and directs the show, said: “I’m so excited for Arbuthnot and Puddles’ Pirate Adventure because I just love pirates!  I’m going to be taking inspiration from some of my favourite stories like Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain Pugwash. I’m putting together a strong cast of some of the best performers in the whole of the north east. I can’t wait!”

Tickets for Arbuthnot and Puddles’ Pirate Adventure are on sale now, priced £8. The show is perfect for the under-10s. Contact the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or book online at

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