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Beauty and the Beast reaches a milestone

Customs House David John Hopper as Arbuthnot and Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock 2

11:14am 6th February 2018

Custom House have seen huge interest in their panto for this year.

Over a quarter of the seats have already been snapped up for Beauty and the Beast.

It seems that panto fever hasn’t quite died down following the success of The Lambton Worm at the Mill Dam theatre in South Shields last year.

More than 8,000 tickets have been booked by people keen to see the return of Dame Bella and her hapless son Arbuthnot.

Originally written more than 300 years ago, Beauty and the Beast has been retold many times over the years in film, musicals and on stage, most recently in last year’s live adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney classic, starring Emma Watson as Belle.

For the first time ever, it now gets the unique The Customs House twist.

Customs House David John Hopper as Arbuthnot and Ray Spencer as Dame Bella Ballcock

Why was the Prince of Peterlee turned into the Beast of Cooksonville by the beautiful enchantress – and how was Arbuthnot turned into a bidet ?

All will become clear as Dame Bella leads a band of merry players through this well-known story of learning to love the person within.

Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, who co-writes, directs and stars in the annual panto as Dame Bella, said:

“We’re thrilled so many people enjoyed their last trip to Cooksonville so much that they have already booked to return."

“Performances on Christmas Eve have virtually sold out and seats are filling up quickly for Christmas week”

Beauty and the Beast runs from Tuesday, November 27, 2018, until Saturday, January 5, 2019.

Tickets prices are frozen until July 31.

Contact the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or visit

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