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Preview: Adventures Of Robin Hood In Cooksonville at South Shields Customs House


The Customs House Panto will really hit the target this Christmas


The Adventures Of Robin Hood In Cooksonville

South Shields Customs House

Thursday 24th November 2022 - Saturday 7th January 2023

South Shields Arts Centre The Customs House will be taking a trip down to Cooksonville Forest this Christmas to tell the legendary tale of Robin Hood. Their wonderfully wacky interpretation of the classic Howard Pyle story, entitled The Adventures Of Robin Hood In Cooksonville, is sure to be another rambunctious family panto from acclaimed duo Ray Spencer and Graeme Thompson, the writing team previously responsible for award-winning pantos including Snow White and Beauty and the Beast.

The hilarious Dame Bella will be all a quiver as men in tights ride through the glen and into Cooksonville, but Bella and her hapless son Arbuthnot will need to watch out for the sheriff and his evil henchmen Bog & Roll.  Packed with cracking comedy, dynamic dance routines and spell-binding stories, the little panto with the big heart is the perfect way to get the festive season off to a spectacular start.

The Adventures Of Robin Hood In Cooksonville will feature a sterling mix of Customs House panto favourites alongside a host of new faces, who together will deliver another a magical Christmas panto for young and old. Confirmed cast so far is Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock and Davey Hopper as Arbuthnot. The full cast announcement is expected in the coming months.

The Customs House Executive Director; Ray Spencer commented: “We have waited a long time to announce our return to Cooksonville, bring your in-laws to meet our outlaws and let’s fill the room with love and laughter this Christmas”

Adventures Of Robin Hood In Cooksonville is sponsored by Hays Travel and Colmans.



You can catch The Adventures Of Robin Hood In Cooksonville at The Customs House from Thursday 24th November 2022 until Saturday 7th January 2023. Performance times vary and tickets, priced from £12.00,  are available now to Friends of The Customs House membership holders online at, from the box office in person, or call (0191) 454 1234 or (0191) 427 8189. General sale commences at 10am on Friday 1st April 2022. 


Preview: Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 April 2022

Audience favourite New Adventures make a triumphant return to Newcastle Theatre Royal with the sweetest of treats as Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! takes to the stage for one week only.

With family-sized helpings of Bourne’s trademark wit and magical fantasy, Nutcracker! follows Clara’s journey through a shimmering, ice skating wonderland to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland, influenced by the lavish Hollywood musicals of the 1930’s.

Tchaikovsky’s glorious score and Anthony Ward’s delectable sets and costumes combine with Bourne’s dazzling choreography to create a fresh and charmingly irreverent interpretation of the classic.

New Adventures are firm favourites with Newcastle Theatre Royal audiences and in recent years have played to packed out houses with stunning productions of The Red Shoes, Cinderella and Swan Lake.

Photos: Johan Persson


Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tue 5 – Sat 9 Apr 2022. Tickets are priced from £20.00 and can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

Preview: Sister Act at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Heavenly Cast Announced For Sister Act

Sister Act

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Monday 19 – Saturday 24 June 2023

Brace yourselves sisters! Television and musical theatre star Sandra Marvin will play ‘Deloris Van Cartier’ alongside Lesley Joseph as ‘Mother Superior’ Lizzie Bea as ‘Sister Mary Robert’ when the heavenly smash-hit musical Sister Act ­heads to Newcastle Theatre Royal Monday 19 – Saturday 24 June 2023.

Sister Act. Lesley Joseph, Sandra Marvin and Lizzie Bea

Having played ‘Jessie Grant’ in ITV’s Emmerdale for two years, Sandra Marvin joined the West End production of Waitress to play ‘Becky’, before reprising the role in 2021 and 2022 for the UK Tour of the production and earlier this month wowed Newcastle Theatre Royal audiences with a standout performance alongside local favourite Chelsea Halfpenny.

Lesley Joseph last performed at Newcastle Theatre Royal in the 2017 world premiere of Young Frankenstein before transferring to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End. Her performance as ‘Frau Blucher’ earned her an Olivier Award nomination. She is best known for playing ‘Dorien Green’ in the hugely successful sitcom Birds of a Feather alongside Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson where they recorded over 100 episodes over a period of nine years.

Lizzie Bea is currently starring as ‘Martha Dunnstock’ in Heathers The Musical at The Other Palace. She recently received critical and audience acclaim for her portrayal of ‘Tracy Turnblad’ in Hairspray at the London Coliseum.

Based on the iconic movie, this sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music tells the hilarious story of the disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent! Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. 

The cast also includes Jeremy Secomb, Graham McDuff, Tricia Deighton, Lori Haley Fox, Damian Buhagiar, Tom Hopcroft, Bradley Judge, Tanya Edwards, Catherine Millsom, Anne Smith, Emma Ralston, Jermaine Woods, Michael Ward and Caroline Bateson. Complete casting to be announced soon. 

Sister Act has direction by Bill Buckhurst, choreography by Alistair David, Set Design by Morgan Large, Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell, Sound Design by Tom Marshall and Musical Supervision by Stephen Brooker. Casting is by Stuart Burt. 

Sister Act features original music by Tony® and 8-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Enchanted), lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner with additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane. Sister Act is produced by Jamie Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg.


Sister Act plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 19 – Saturday 24 June 2023. Tickets are priced from £20.00 and can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

Preview: Hold On Let Go at Arts Centre Washington

Hold On Let Go 

Arts Centre Washington

Thursday 5 May 2022

A new show about memory, from the company the North East Theatre Guide noted had created ‘live changing’ theatre, with original songs by Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park), choreography by Liv Lorent MBE and dramaturgy by Selina Thompson (salt.)

Following a successful run at Summerhall at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, Unfolding Theatre’s critically acclaimed show about memory and what we pass on begins a UK tour this spring, starting at Arts Centre Washington on 5 May.

In a world of information overload, Hold On Let Go invites audiences to discover a new kind of memory champion. One that admits how much they’ve forgotten. One that bakes bread, dances on tables and might possibly get sucked into a black hole... 

Alex is 56. Luca is half his age. Alex has an encyclopaedia in his head. Luca has one on her phone. Most of us forget most things, most of the time. What if we forget something important? Something that might make the world a better place?

Director Annie Rigby explains, “Hold On Let Go takes you on a journey that starts in a kitchen and travels to the farthest reaches of our universe. It explores how fragmentary and partial our memories are - both as individuals and society. From there it asks whether we might behave differently if we were conscious of how little we hold in our memories. 

“It's a lovely show to be touring as audiences return to theatres, many for the first time since before the pandemic. It has a very welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, and serves its audience freshly baked bread. It makes me laugh to think that we made Hold On Let Go before sourdough bread became a lockdown cliché. It's brilliant to be touring the show in 2022, when it feels more relevant than ever. It’s a real celebration of live performance, with plenty of laughter, good stories and great music. It’s also the first show Unfolding Theatre has made that premiered outside of the region, so it feels really special to be finally presenting Hold On Let Go in the North East. We never thought it would take three years to bring it home and we can't wait to welcome audiences at Arts Centre Washington.”

Paul Smith has written original songs for Hold On Let Go - his first theatre collaboration. He says, “Music and memory is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. We called the first Maxïmo Park album, A Certain Trigger because of how music can be an emotional trigger, taking you to places and memories. In Hold On Let Go, we’re playing with how a radio broadcast of songs and words, played within the show, can build an emotional connection with audiences.” 

The creative team also includes dramaturg Selina Thompson (salt.), choreographer Liv Lorent MBE (balletLORENT), writer/performer Luca Rutherford (Learning How to Die), and sound design by Mariam Rezaei (Beats North, Curious Monkey).

Led by Annie Rigby, Unfolding Theatre brings people together to experience stimulating new work that’s thoughtful, unexpected and playful. Over the last decade, the company has built a reputation for working with all sorts of people from different walks of life to make theatre with a wild sense of humour and strength of character. 

As with all of Unfolding Theatre’s work, participation drives the creative process. For Hold On Let Go Annie and the team led workshops with parents and newborn babies and elderly people to explore how to capture the things that are usually forgotten in day to day life. Some of their stories feature in the show as listeners’ messages sent into Paul Smith’s radio station, Too Much Information FM. We hear about Jude who can’t remember what it feels like to be carried, Mary who remembers the sound of sea ice cracking, heard in the middle of a night in the hard winter of 1963. Alex bakes sourdough bread during each show. The sourdough starter is activated by the natural yeasts in the air of each performance. A piece of freshly baked bread is offered to the audience at the end of the show, as a tiny feast of now.

Photos: The Other Richard


Tickets are on sale now for Arts Centre Washington on 5 May. More tour dates to be 

confirmed, for details or to book tickets see

On The Web 


#HoldOnLetGo |

Cast & Creatives

Director: Annie Rigby (Putting The Band Back Together) 

Writer & Performer: Luca Rutherford (Luca Rutherford’s Political Party)

Performer: Alex Elliott (Putting the Band Back Together, Best in the World)

Songwriter: Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park)

Sounds: Mariam Rezaei (Beats North, Curious Monkey)

Choreographer: Liv Lorent (balletLORENT)

Dramaturg: Selina Thompson (salt.)

News: Gosforth Civic Theatre springs into action with a season of dance, theatre and live music

Gosforth Civic Theatre springs into action with a season of dance, theatre and live music

Gosforth Civic Theatre, the arts venue run by disability arts charity Liberdade, continues to bring high quality music, theatre and dance to Gosforth this Spring as it continues to bounce back after two challenging years.

At the core of the programme is performance, with no fewer than six pieces of live, original theatre and dance between April and June including pieces of younger audiences and performances open to families. That is alongside a thread of live music from GCT Folk Club and local promoters Jumpin Hot Club, F54 Live and Wandering Oak, as well as the return of comedy to the Theatre.
Liverpool-based, female led theatre company All Things Considered bring their show Sleepover to GCT on 7 April to kick off the season of performance. They invite you to a 90s sleepover to discuss all the best things about being a teenager, leave the responsibilities of your grown-up world behind and embrace your teenage self who might just have something to tell you about how to live your life now. Mortal Fools follow soon after as their Ensemble Young Company return with a brand-new show, and their first live performance since 2019! Devised and performed by young people from all over Northumberland, Flux is a contemporary, dynamic and poignant piece of theatre, showcasing an original soundtrack, bold set design, and the incredible talent and insights of young people.
 June brings two more must see shows, one of which is a must for all the family. On 18 June, Becky Sharrock and Lisette Auton’s adaptation of The Secret Garden includes brand new folk songs, performed by the cast, and it’s hoped this beautiful reimagining will introduce a new generation to the transformational magic of the garden. A week earlier, Alison Stanley’s acclaimed show Life of Reilly is a play about family dynamics and how that can change when an ordinary North East family receive an autism diagnosis for their son.  
Following the success of Rendez-Vous dance’s opening of The Monocle in February, you can expect to see more dance on the bill this Spring. Returning to GCT are Fertile Ground who will be showcasing their ground-breaking, multi-media dance show Myths & Dreams on Friday 6 May. It’s an ambitious and innovative programme created by four choreographers. The Company’s new season combines dance, film and digital sculpture in an imaginative evening performed by the cast of top North East emerging professional dancers – including a pre-show VR experience and curtain raiser film by Liberdade. Visitors to GCT also have the chance to get to see a scratch-performance of a brand new piece of work from emerging regional dance company Meta4Dance on 22 June as they present a showing of their work, Confluence.

GCT Folk Club continues with two gigs from nationally renowned artists. Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have long established themselves as one of the UK Folk scene's most rewardingly enduring partnerships and they visit GCT on Monday 2 May to revisit and reinterpret songs which span their career. Then a month later acclaimed guitarist and songwriter, and Lau’s very own, Kris Drever comes to Gosforth supported by Americana singer-songwriter Rachel Baiman.
Other musical highlights include ethereal, indie and electronic crossover gigs from caroline (1 April), James Heather (29 April) and Mary Lattimore (1 June), while Jumpin Hot Club brings us Americana and Country in the form of David Ramirez (30 April), Laura Veirs (11 June) and Chris Smither (18 June). Something a bit different? Songwriter for The Delines (who are playing GCT on 14 July), Willy Vlautin, launches his new book, The Night Always Comes, on 9 May while pop-punk troubadour Jeff Rosenstock pogoes into town on 16 April.
Comedy fans can get excited for The Lost Voice Guy’s Comedy Showcase on 25 June. The Britain’s Got Talent winner hosts his first comedy night at GCT complete with his brand new Geordie accent! See sets from Steve Royle, Lauren Pattison and a very special guest. For those who want to hear stories of adventure don’t miss a talk from mountaineer and explorer Stephen Venables with his show Life After Everest on 4 April.
Along with a packed programme, the return of a busy community programme and continuing the growth of GCT Kitchen - including a new menu for Spring due to be announced - Gosforth Civic Theatre are committed to making GCT a safe space for everyone. Full information is available from

Fri 1                      Music                        caroline
Mon 4                  Spoken Word             Stephen Venables - Life After Everest
Thu 7                    Theatre                     Sleepover
Tue 12                 Family                       GCT Gaming Social Special
Wed 13               Theatre                      Flux
Sat 16                  Film                           Family Film: Ghostbusters Afterlife
Sat 16                  Music                        Jeff Rosenstock: No Dream Tour with
                                                               Fresh & All Away Lou
Fri 22                   Dance                       Meta4Dance Company: Confluence
Sat 23                  Film                           Family Film: Encanto
Thu 28                 Music                        The W
Fri 29                   Music                        James Heather
Sat 30                  Music                        An Evening with David Ramirez
Mon 2                  Music                        Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Fri 6                      Dance                       Fertile Ground: Myths & Dreams 
Sat 21                  Dance                       Eliot Smith Dance: Life & Other Works
Sat 28                  Music                        Chuck Prophet plus Our Man in the Field
Wed 1                 Music                        Mary Lattimore
Fri 3                      Music                        Kris Drever & Rachel Baiman
Thu 9                    Theatre                     The Life of Reilly
Tue 14                 Music                        Laura Veirs with special guest Joni
Sat 18                  Theatre                     The Secret Garden
Sat 18                  Music                        Chris Smither + Zak Trojano
Sat 25                  Comedy                    The Lost Voice Guy Comedy Showcase

REVIEW: School of Rock - The Musical at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Dewey Finn has touched us all!

School of Rock - The Musical

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Until Saturday 2 April 2022

School of Rock - The Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit, award-winning West End show has landed at Newcastle Theatre Royal this week.

The show begins with a message from Andrew Lloyd Webber himself as he points out that the children on stage will be playing live.  There is no denying that the kids are very talented and are worth seeing the show for. However, there is more to this comedic rock musical that probably has more appeal than the 2003 film on which it is based.

The show starts with Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp) trying to overshadow his bandmates in No Vacancy as they perform a gig. This results in Dewey getting kicked out of the band. Matters get worse as his flat mates Patti (Nadia Violet Johnson) and Ned Schneebly (Matthew Rowland) want the rent money that they are owed. As luck has it, Dewey gets a call from Mrs Mullins (Rebecca Lock) who is Principal at a top school and she is hoping Ned is available to be a substitute teacher at her school. Upon discovering how much the pay is Dewey decides to pretend to be Ned and take on the job himself.

The trouble is that a slacker's lifestyle does not prepare you for an ambitious class who plan to head to Ivy League universities - or as Mrs Mullins puts it "Harvard, or at worst Cornell. The kids are not impress with the idea of permanent recess. Fortunately, upon hearing the kids in a music lesson, he hatches a plan to enter the battle of the bands with a band made up of the class that he is in chare of. 

Thus the wheels are in motion for a quite a few laughs and some great musical highlights too. Whilst this is a show with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Glenn Slater it doesn't follow the pattern of many musicals. The big "I want" number comes from the kids much later in the first act. If Only You Would Listen helps put the children's position into context and ensure that the audience is rooting for the outrageously talented bunch.

I'm sure that every reviewer that sees this show will mention the two massive strengths of the show. The young musicians are, first and foremost, fabulous. From the pouting faced bass player through to the quick fingered rock guitarist they are superb. Unfortunately, the programme lists a huge pool of talent and I didn't catch the kids names at the end. But the standing ovation at the end is really well deserved. 

The other big positive is the comedy - which centres around a very physical performance from Jake Sharp as Dewey. The Theatre Royal audience were suitable vocal in their disgust as he wiped his body over a towel only to use a child to hang his towel on. We are also given a hint of the adult talent too when Rebecca Lock sings Where Did The Rock Go?

The theatre was full of a wide spectrum of audience members. It was brilliant to see that some schools had run trips to the theatre and that their students were getting a chance to see high quality live theatre. This is an experience that will stick with them. The adults will enjoy this show too as it manages the difficult job of entertaining a wide range of ages. Julian Fellows has written a script that does not overload the exposition. Director Laurence Connor ensures a rapid pace to keep the audience interested and so the just over 2 hours, plus interval, show quickly passes.

So did the kids make it to the Battle of the Bands and learn to "stick it to the man"? You've have to see for yourselves!

Review: Stephen Oliver

Photos: Paul Coltas


School of Rock plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 28 March – Saturday 2 April 2022. Tickets are priced from £20.00 and can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.


Preview: Gaslight at Newcastle People’s Theatre


Newcastle People’s Theatre

Tuesday 29th March - Saturday 2nd April 2022

“You’re not going out of your mind,” Detective Rough tells Bella Manningham in the climactic moments of Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight. “You are slowly, methodically, systematically being driven out of your mind.”

Bella (Catherine Ellis)

Catherine Ellis plays Bella, a young woman on the edge. She’s hearing footsteps in the night, objects are moving by themselves and her husband Jack (Sam Hinton) keeps disappearing. He tells her she may be mad and she starts to believe him. As Bella begins to lose her grip on reality, she finds herself caught up in a scheme most foul.

Bella (Catherine Ellis)

While on the one hand this 1938 thriller is a classic Victorian melodrama, it is also an insightful and before-its-time depiction of an abusive relationship.

Gaslight (verb): to manipulate (a person) by psychological means into questioning his or her own sanity. – Oxford English Dictionary

Jack (Sam Hinton) & Bella (Catherine Ellis) 

The play’s title originated a term that is more relevant than ever. Last month, eighty-four years after the play was written, “gaslighting” was used in a High Court ruling for the first time to describe a husband’s psychological manipulation of his wife.

Rough (Stuart Douglas)

A timeless and enthralling thriller, full of mystery and torment, Gaslight promises to keep audiences on the edge of their seats as the secrets in the Manningham home are revealed. 

Photos: Tim Swinton


Cast:          Jack:  Sam Hinton

                    Bella:  Catherine Ellis

                    Rough:  Stuart Douglas

                    Elizabeth:  Val Russell

                    Nancy:  Emily Jeffrey

Director:    Gordon Russell



Gaslight is playing at the People’s Theatre in Heaton from Tuesday 29th March to Saturday 2nd April. The run includes a socially-distanced performance on Tuesday 29th.

Find out more and book your tickets at          


REVIEW: The Twenty Seven Club at Newcastle Live Theatre

The Twenty Seven Club

Newcastle Live Theatre

Until Saturday 26 March 2022

Written and Directed by Chris Connel

Based on the Book by Lucy Nichol

Performed by Rachel Teate, Andrew Dawson and Steve Byron

After success as a book, The Twenty Seven Club, a play about music myths, mental health and fandom, has been adapted as part of Live Theatre’s Elevator Festival. The challenge of turning a full novel into around 70 minutes of dramatic action has been a successful one and the result is not just a look back to the 90s but also the bigger issues that affect every generation.

April 1994 was a big moment for Generation X. Kurt Cobain has ended his life at the age of 27. As the lead singer, and guitarist, of Nirvana, his songs had resonated with a generation coming to terms with growing up. His departure hit many of his fans hard.

The Twenty Seven Club opens up with the reaction of one such fan, Emma, to the news. Rachel Teate is pouring emotion at the audience, who, if they are not familiar with the source material, will be wondering with this 26 year old is so upset. It is only later that she reveals to her mate Dave the reason of her torment.  Andrew Dawson fits in well in the role of confident, soul mate and drinking partner to Emma. 

The Live Theatre show has moved from the book's original location of Hull to Newcastle. As a result the intrepid pair find themselves drinking their sorrows on the Boat, Maddisons and on Chilli Road and being refused entry for wearing trainers in Julies. This move will help make the show relatable for the Tyneside crowd. Whilst this reviewer was originally from Hull, by 1994 I too was watching the likes of Senseless Things at the old Riverside on Melbourne Street - which was also where Nirvana played their first ever UK/European gig. I mention Senseless things as they feature in the play as Emma is a massive fan and has tickets to go and see them.

This is 1994. Entertainment is on video tapes - remember when you had to rush the tape back before you got fined? If so you'll be able to relate to this era. It was also a time when John Major was Prime Minister and John Smith was reforming the Labour party. (Was Smith the best Prime Minister that we never had? - I digress, sorry.)  There were no mobile phones, so your every moment was not captured and sent around the world moments later either.

There is another element to the story which permeates through strongly - the mental health of the lead character Emma. Though the audience is given plenty to laugh at - and swearing to be offended by - there is a feeling of support for the problems that Emma is going through. Rachel Teate does a fine job of getting this balance right.

The third character that we are introduced to is Emma's Dad. Steve Byron was always going to give a great supporting performance as the single parent who did not expect the kids to come home early. Perhaps in future versions of the play there may be a chance to expand on the Dad's story too - but there's only so much that you can do in an hour!

Andrew Dawson's performance as Dave reminded my companion and I of someone. Someone who was very much a part of the Tyneside life in 1994. In fact he reminded us of the performances that we have seen over the years of the shows writer and director Chris Connel! There is something about not just what is said, but how it is said too. 

Trigger warnings are needed (and given) as there are panic attacks, mental health issues and strong swearing. Indeed I heard a sharp intake of breath when Edwina Currie was described. This is a show for grown ups.

 I know I have said this before about new writing at the Live Theatre...but I think this story has potential as a screen play. It certainly would work as a longer 2 hour plus interval drama. However, it is still perfectly formed in its current format.

As someone who was "there", enjoying the music scene in 1994 - as well as trying to cope as a young adult - I found the play worked really well. The acting, script and direction hit a sweet spot. It is canny play based upon a book that is well worth a read. (Though I must confess I was personally more into the Wildhearts than Senseless Things!)

Review: Stephen Oliver


Age suitability: 15+

Trigger warnings: Contains strong language, references to drug taking and depictions of panic and anxiety.

The Twenty Seven Club will be performed at Live Theatre between 23 and 26 March at 7.30pm with a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday 26 March. Tickets cost £8 full with concs £6. A filmed version will also be made available following Elevator Festival. 

Tickets are available online from or from the theatre box office: 0191 232 1232

Released in 2021 in both paperback and e-book, The Twenty Seven Club is still available from Amazon.





South Shields Arts Centre The Customs House are joining in the fight against climate change, and with funding provided by the Theatre Improvement scheme, they are taking their first step to reduce their environmental impact.

Executive Director, Ray Spencer explained: “We know that as an older building, The Customs House isn’t as energy efficient as it could be and we want to change that. Last year we arranged to have a carbon and energy survey carried out, and we were delighted to discover that if we made the changes detailed within the survey, we could reduce our carbon footprint by a staggering 43%.

“This funding is the start of our efforts to become greener by upgrading the current Building Energy Management System, which will give us greater control over how we use energy. We are very grateful to have been one of just eight theatres supported by the Theatre Improvement Scheme”.

The Theatre Improvement Scheme is provided by Theatres Trust in partnerships with the Wolfson Foundation. Theatres Trust is the national advisory public body for theatres. They believe that current and future generations should have access to good quality theatre buildings where they can be inspired by, and enjoy, live performance. In 2020 Theatres Trust committed to five Environmental Principles to reshape its work and help influence and improve the sector’s sustainability.

Tom Stickland, Theatres Adviser at Theatres Trust commented: “There is a real appetite amongst theatres to make environmental improvements to their building and we are delighted to be able to support The Customs House in South Shields with the first step in its plan to reduce its carbon footprint”.

Works to upgrade the Building Energy Management System will be carried out over the summer months.