Countdown Begins To Panto Season As Customs House Cast Unveiled
The Customs House is dusting off a very special panto to provide a fitting finale to its 25th anniversary celebrations.
Snow White was the first panto – and one of the first shows – to be performed at The Customs House when it opened in 1994, sparking a long tradition of panto at the theatre. The traditional tale is being brought back for the first time since then and has become the fastest-selling panto in the history of the venue.
Executive Director of The Customs House, Ray Spencer, has been involved in The Customs House panto since 1995, as writer, director and most recently as panto dame. He will once again star as Dame Bella Ballcock, alongside Davey Hopper as her hapless son, Arbuthnot – a popular partnership that is now in its fourth year.
They will be joined by Annie Guy as Snow White, Steven Lee Hamilton as the Evil Queen, Dale Jewitt as Prince of the North, Bethan Amber Carr-Brown as Mirror and Charlie Raine and Luke Maddison as skunks Sniffy and Whiffy.
In this year of celebration, it also marks costume designer Paul Shriek’s 10th anniversary of working on The Customs House panto. Paul and design partner Matt Fox return to create their unique and award-wining costumes and set.
Ray said: “We are looking forward to staging the much-love tale, Snow White, which is completely new to me as a performer and although I am concerned I might be too tall, I am sure I will be dwarfed by the mountain of talent displayed by our cast members.”
Annie, 25, from County Durham, returns to The Customs House panto having made her debut last year as Beauty in Beauty and the Beast. A graduate of Arts Educational Schools London, she has appeared in tours of Thoroughly Modern Millie in the US, Canada and UK and West Side Story in the UK and in the BAFTA award-winning CBBC series Dixi.
Steven, who was The Prince/Beast in last year’s panto, has played both heroes and villains in The Customs House panto and is an audience favourite. This year he will be taking on his most wicked role yet.
Dale, 29, from Newcastle and Bethan, 25, from South Shields, are newcomers to ‘The Little Panto with the Big Heart’, but no strangers to The Customs House, or indeed the regional stage. Northumbria University graduate Dale has appeared in panto spin-off shows And the Cow Jumped over the Moon, And the Cow Jumped into the Woods, Puddles’ Pirate Adventure, Puddles’ Adventure and Arbuthnot and Pals’ Detective Agency. Other theatre credits include The Cinder Path, Clear White Light and Christmas Crackers at Newcastle’s Live Theatre and various shows with Theatre Space North East.
Bethan also appeared in And the Cow Jumped into the Woods and other theatre credits include My Mental Breakdown: A Musical at Northern Stage and The Cinder Path at The Customs House.
Charlie, 27, from Sunderland, who is hearing impaired, won Best Pantomime Animal at The Great British Panto Awards 2019 for her role as signing sheep Cutlet in Beauty and the Beast and will be using her sign language skills again this year.
Luke, 26, from South Shields, has appeared in panto at The Customs House five times, in Dick Whittington, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland and Jack and the Beanstalk, of which two were animal roles and firm favourites with the kids.
Tickets: Members of South Tyneside Dance Workshop are also returning to the show.
Snow White runs from Wednesday, November 27, to Sunday, January 5, with tickets priced from £9.99. Contact the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or visit www.customshouse.co.uk.