Actress backs student project

Sunderland University 3rd year Dance students (left to right) Jade Bates, Holly Shoobridge, Hannah Dandrilli and Lyndsay Adams pictured chatting to actress Melanie Hill before performing in 'Turn it Up a Little Bit' at The Customs House in South Shields.
Sunderland University 3rd year Dance students (left to right) Jade Bates, Holly Shoobridge, Hannah Dandrilli and Lyndsay Adams pictured chatting to actress Melanie Hill before performing in 'Turn it Up a Little Bit' at The Customs House in South Shields.
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ACTRESS Melanie Hill took on a supporting role to help officially launch a university’s partnership with a popular theatre.

Students from the University of Sunderland’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media (ADM) have taken over the Customs House this month to stage a programme of theatre, dance and visual arts.

Sunderland-born TV and film actress Melanie, who starred in the BBC comedy drama Candy Cabs, has thrown her support behind the venture and was at the launch in South Shields.

Best known for her roles in Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Bread, Melanie met staff and talked to students performing at the event.

Melanie, who received an Honorary Fellowship from the university last year, said: “Sunderland is brimming with talented young people and I am sure they will enjoy a successful run at the Customs House.

“It’s a win/win situation – students get to perform to a live audience in a wonderful, historic theatre and the public gets to fill their boots with everything from plays to dance, music to exhibitions and screenings.”

It is the first time that the venue has given its whole schedule to another organisation for this period of time.

Ray Spencer, Customs House executive director, said: “This venture gives us the opportunity to offer those in higher education a chance to apply their studies in an operational situation – it’s marrying theory to practice.”

The reception was held in the Customs House gallery where there was a chance to view the New Blood exhibition and hear about the work and ambitions of the ADM department.

This was followed by a performance from the third year dance students.

For a full programme of events, log on to www.customshouse.co.uk