Preview: Cinderella, Customs House, South Shields. November 28-January 5

Ugly Sisters and Buttons.
Ugly Sisters and Buttons.
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Festive favourite Cinderella back again

The countdown to panto season has begun as The Customs House unveils its new cast.

This year, festive favourite Cinderella sweeps into the South Shields theatre for all the usual fun with plenty of new faces.

Taking up the roles of the dastardly ugly sisters are panto favourites Craig Richardson and Stephen Sullivan.

The duo are no stranger to the Customs House stage – both have played smaller parts in the annual panto, but are now graduating to the spotlight.

Craig, 28, from South Shields, said: “I’ve been to watch The Customs House panto every year, so when I got the call to say I had got the part I was delighted to be in the ‘little panto with the big heart’.”

Stephen, 27, also from South Shields, added: “It’s an institution, so to be part of it is pretty daunting, but extremely exciting. The cast are brilliant, so it’s going to be a great show.”

West End starlet Jamie Birkett, 27, from Cumbria, will take on the scary step-mother role.

Jamie, who is starring in Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens at the Leicester Square Theatre, London, and was shortlisted on BBC’s I’d Do Anything, said: “I’ve heard a lot of great things about The Customs House panto and I can’t wait to get into my wicked role.”

Back by popular demand will be The Customs House very own Prince Charming, Steven Lee Hamilton.

Steven, 29, from South Shields, who will be taking on the lead of principal boy for the fifth time, said: “This year has almost an entirely new cast.

“It’s nice to be part of something new and I’m sure we’ll keep the tradition of the well known and loved Customs House pantomime.”

Sunderland actor Paul Dunn and Will Graham, from Chester-le-Street, will play knock-about characters Bashit and Wreckit.

Although Customs House executive director Ray Spencer will not be in this show, he will be driving the cast with his direction and witty script, co-written once again by Graeme Thompson.

* Tickets start from £8 from Tel. 454 1234 or by visiting www.customshouse.co.uk.