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Preview: Our Laygate at South Shields Customs House


Our Laygate: A Multicultural Story of Seafarers, Family and Community


Our Laygate

South Shields Customs House

Wednesday 8th - Saturday 11th September 2021

The Customs House has announced the cast for a new production which opens this September. It is a gritty new kitchen sink drama, Our Laygate. Written by new playwright Ann Ahmed, with additional text by Natasha Haws and Mina Anwar.

The cast; Natasha Atkinson, Mahsa Hammat Bahary, Melissa Sert, Soroosh Lavasani, Akeesha Adamus, Jerome Ngonadi, Sarah Boulter, and Christina Berriman Dawson are currently in rehearsals at the South Tyneside venue.

Writer Ann Ahmed commented “I wanted to write a play about how well the Laygate community comes together to support each other, and how proud I am of that. We were poor, but they were some of the happiest times of my life, and I’m sure Mina will do a great job dramatising that.”

Set in late sixties Laygate, it tells the story of Maggie Ibrahim and her 3 children, weighed down with poverty and prejudice whilst waiting for their beloved husband and cherished father, David Ali to return home after a two-year absence as a cook on the ships.

The tight knit multicultural community prepare to be rehoused by the council as their slum homes are set to be demolished, but with no news of David’s return and the regeneration of the town looming, the dear friends and neighbours of Laygate try to enjoy their last week's together and share their hopes and fears for the future.

Mina Anwar, who previously directed and choreographed The Dolly Mixtures at The Customs House in 2019, commented “I’m thrilled to be back at The Customs House directing this brand-new play. This is a fascinating story to bring to the stage. It’s been a joy to work with Ann on this multicultural story about a community who have rarely had their stories told.”

The Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer added “It must be three years ago when I had a call from Anne Ahmed wanting to talk about an idea she had to tell the story of her childhood community; Laygate. It’s been a journey of discovery for everyone connected to this production. A wonderful cast will bring to life a rich tapestry of characters under the direction of our dear friend and talented director Mina Anwar, who has worked so closely with Ann to shape the final script and bring the story of the stage, it is a story of its time that still resonates today. I am proud that The Customs House has once again made space to tell a story of our people and place. Thanks to all the companies and individuals who have given financial help to support to this project.

Our Laygate is sponsored by PGS Law, Parker, Vic Young.

Supported by Arts Council England, South Tyneside Council


Our Laygate opens at The Customs House on Wednesday 8th September and runs until Saturday 11th September.

Tickets for Our Laygate are priced from £15.50 and are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at

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