South Tyneside theatre celebrates ‘takeover’ by young artists

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Young people took to a South Tyneside theatre’s stage to celebrate them “taking over” the arts venue in 2016.

The Customs House, in South Shields, recently hosted an event of live music, film clips and presentations from youngsters who had taken part in “The Takeover” events during the last year – with the aim of highlighting the work of the youngsters.

Participants planned, promoted and delivered a series of arts events at the Mill Dam venue in May and June and at The Word during its opening week in October.

These events included a play written and performed by 16 to 25-year-olds, a short film awards show hosted by Game of Thrones’ actor Ben Crompton and a breakdance competition featuring dancers from across the region.

Josh Brown, 15, opened the evening with a ukulele performance.

The evening continued with a presentation by The Customs House’s learning and participation officer Daniel Clifford on the successes and challenges of the 2016 Takeover festival, with successes including showcasing the work of more than 250 young artists to 1,000 audience members.

Daniel said: “The Takeover is all about getting young people involved in The Customs House in a unique way – having a real say in the decision making behind the festival.

“We think it’s important to listen to young people’s voices and try to make sure that we repay their time and commitment with great opportunities, so it was brilliant to hear what the young people had gained from the experience.”

A highlights video by Hassan Bhatti, 15, captured the atmosphere and enjoyment of everyone involved.

Ryan Ogden, 17, spoke passionately about the opportunities afforded to him by being involved in every Takeover event so far, and explained that before getting involved he wouldn’t have the confidence to stand in from of an audience and speak.

He said: “Speaking at The Takeover celebration event and hosting the young people’s panel was another great opportunity I’ve been offered for getting involved with the festival.

“It’s been brilliant to organise events, work with artists and help get other emerging artists involved in great activities.

The Takeover returns to The Customs House in May 2017.

Young people and organisations wishing to take part or to find out more, can call Daniel Clifford on 0191 427 8193 or email daniel@customshouse.co.uk.