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News: Join the Customs House Celeb-RAY-tion to mark Executive Director’s Retirement


Join the Customs House Celeb-RAY-tion to mark Executive Director’s Retirement


The Customs House is set to host an unforgettable event commemorating the remarkable 25-year tenure of Ray Spencer as Executive Director.

Celeb-Ray-tion will take place at the Customs House arts centre on March 23rd & 24th.

Ray, a visionary leader and a driving force behind The Customs House's success, has dedicated a quarter of a century to shaping the arts and cultural landscape of the region. His unwavering commitment to fostering creativity, community engagement, and artistic excellence has left an indelible mark on the institution and the lives of countless individuals.

While Ray will no longer head up the Mill Dam charity in South Shields, he will continue to write, direct and star in the annual Christmas pantomime. Ray plays the part of the much-loved Dame Bella Ballcock.

Ray said: “I will be stepping down as Executive Director of The Customs House Trust on 31st March 2024. In that time, we have had an exciting journey and that continues with this special fundraising event to celebrate my time at The Customs House with a host of people I’m not even aware of, because they have even kept it from me!

“I hope you come along and join in in this fundraising event to launch our 30th Anniversary year and you will be able to sit in our brand-new refurbished auditorium, thanks to generous funding from BIFFA.”

Celeb-Ray-tion promises to be a night of nostalgia, appreciation, and joy, bringing together esteemed guests, community members, and well-known performers to honour his extraordinary contributions to the arts.

The line-up for the event will be released in the coming week and will feature captivating performances, heartfelt tributes, and a journey through the highlights of Ray’s leadership.


Tickets are on sale to Friends of The Customs House on Wednesday 24th January and the general public on Friday 25th January.

Call the Box Office on 0191 454 1234 or visit




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