Students take to the stage

Performing Arts student Elaine Shovlin, from Cleadon, is among the Sunderland University students taking over the Customs House in South Shields.
Performing Arts student Elaine Shovlin, from Cleadon, is among the Sunderland University students taking over the Customs House in South Shields.
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PERFORMING arts students are preparing to step into the spotlight when they take over a theatre for a month.

The talented Sunderland University students will put on a programme of theatre, dance and visual arts at the Customs House, in South Shields, during May.

The programme will allow the performers, from the university’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, to show off what they’re learning to a live audience.

Wearside actress Melanie Hill, whose roles have included Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and Bread, is backing the project, along with Sunderland band Frankie and the Heartstrings’ members Dave Harper and Frankie Francis who are graduates of the university.

Melanie, who received an Honorary Fellowship from the university last year, said: “I would like to wish all those involved with this event much luck for a successful run.

“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, exhibitions and screenings.

“Sunderland is brimming with talented young people. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to offer and would urge you all to get down to the Customs House and join in celebrating what Sunderland has to offer.”

Heartstrings drummer Dave said: “We’d like to wish the dance, drama, music and art students good luck for their month of activity at the Customs House. It’s a great venue with excellent facilities and a varied and quality line-up throughout the year.

“It’s a brilliant opportunity for them to get involved and perform to an audience.”

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.”

Some of the highlights include Much Ado About Nothing, an Evening of Jazz, Broadway and West End Dance and an evening with international opera star Graeme Danby.

Log on to: http://www.customshouse.co.uk/

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