Customs House is brightening up your summer

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Looking out of your window you may not believe it but summer is just around the corner.

The sun may not be out but The Customs House summer season is bound to brighten your day.

As well as the venue’s summer regulars – Daltons Cabaret and the Customs House Theatre Summer School production – this year it has another string to its bow with the Harton Quays Amphitheatre.

The new performance area, located just outside the Mill Dam theatre, cinema and gallery in South Shields, is set to open in the summer.

Three dramas will be taking place in the open air space - I Love South Tyneside is a new play about the borough’s history and takes place in July and a new adaptation of Dracula and Cuddy & His Mates, about the childhood escapades of saints Cuthbert, Bede and Godric, both take place in August.

Glastonbury will be brought to South Shields in June with the help of the big screen and the borough’s own alternative music festival – the Bernicia Festival – will strike up on August 4.

The Customs House is a partner in another open air event – the Foghorn Requiem at Souter Point on June 22, which is part of the Festival of the North East.

Devised by artists Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway, Foghorn Requiem celebrates the passing of the foghorn from the British Coastal with an ambitious and unique musical performance.

Souter’s Foghorn will be the centre piece as an armada of ships use their horns to compose a musical score.

Folk stars The Unthanks will be hitting the stage on Saturday, June 15 as part of the Festival of the North East and in association with the Port of Tyne. The award-winning group from Northumberland will be performing their Shipyard Tour.

Local writers Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood’s hilarious Dirty Dusting is set to return on October 22 and 23.

The show is always a hit with The Customs House audience and this time around has a star-studded cast of Benidorm’s Crissy Rock, Hebburn’s Pat Dunn and Customs House favourite Leah Bell.

This season has some real drama treats starting with Murder, Marple & Me.

This one-woman Edinburgh Festival hit has been written by South Shields’s very own Philip Meeks.

Award-winning actress Janet Prince will lead the audience through the story behind the story as we find out how actress Margaret Rutherford and legendary mystery author Agatha Christie put aside their differences from May 14 to 16.

June will see no less than four spectacular show – legendary British farce Charley’s Aunt, spud-tacular new comedy Miss Crispy 1988, The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and local writer Dick Curran brings his drama Company – at the theatre and fantasy comedy Some Like It Hotter arrives in July.

There are plenty of stars gracing the stage throughout the summer including Anita Harris, Showaddywaddy, The Manfreds and Joe Longthorne

Adding a little more glitz will be An Evening with the Stars of Strictly Come Dancing, which is back after the April show sold out. There are only limited seats left so if you want to see this show on Sunday, June 16, you had better quickstep it down to the box office.

Appetite Dance present the stunning double bill of contemporary dance Letters to My Father and Crush later this month and African drumming band and dancers La Monana perform in May.

Music is always a huge part of the season with Roll Out the Barrel, Shake Ya Tail Feather, Matthew Ford’s Swing Legends and Youss Band all taking to the stage.

For jazz lovers Big Bear Stompers and Keith Nichols and The New Century Rag Time Orchestra will perform, while classical fans can enjoy pianists Victor Lim and Lee Jae Phang, Kupinski Guitar Duo and Chopin By Candlelight.

There are some top tributes with Pink Floyd cover band Shine On, The Stones, the ELO Experience and And Finally Phil Collins.

The summer also marks the theatre’s Daltons Cabaret which takes place throughout August and features great entertainment with food from the venue’s popular Green Room.

There’s a chance to enjoy a movie musical, music hall, show tunes, a quiz with Ray Spencer, jazz, a murder mystery and one of the theatre’s ukulele bands.

* For more information and tickets call the Box Office on Tel. 454 1234 or by visiting www.customshouse.co.uk.

Katy Wheeler