Award Nomination puts Theatre Boss in the Spotlight

Written by on 19th February 2018

Fiona Martin, deputy director of The Customs House, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for her work with aspiring actors.

The Creative  Cultural Skills Awards shine a light on the individuals who have shown an outstanding commitment to skill development and learning in the creative industries.
Those who have been shortlisted ensure the next generation have the skills to help the UK creative sector thrive. Fiona has been shortlisted for the Theatre Skills Award for her outstanding work with The Customs House Youth Theatre.

The Customs House Youth Theatre gives young people aged between 10 and 21 the chance to develop their theatre and performance skills and achieve an Explore, Bronze, Silver or Gold Arts Award.
Dedicated to young people’s talent development, Fiona tirelessly supports every member of the group to help them achieve their creative ambitions.

On hearing the news, Fiona said: “It was lovely just to be nominated, so when I was told I’d been shortlisted in the Theatre Skills category I was stunned. “This shines a light on the hard work and dedication of our The Customs House Youth Theatre members. They are exceptional.”

The Customs House Youth Theatre has a junior and senior section based at the Customs House and a satellite group working with Year 10 BTEC Performing Arts pupils at Jarrow School. The junior youth theatre is directed by former senior youth theatre member and Gold Arts Award alumni Jayden Blacklock. They are currently rehearsing StereoTyped, a new piece of writing by Laura Turner, commissioned by the group. The senior youth theatre is currently working on The Ceasefire Babies by Fiona Doyle as part of National Theatre Connections.

Ceasefire Babies, also known as the Good Friday Agreement generation, are those too young to remember the worst of the terror after the Provisional IRA ceasefire. It’s a powerful piece, full of challenges, but Fiona felt this important part of recent British and Irish history could be performed with maturity and sensitivity by the young cast.

The play will be performed at The Customs House on Monday, April 16, and Tuesday, April 17, before moving to Northern Stage in Newcastle in May.

Tickets are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at on a ‘pay what you decide’ basis.

The Senior Youth Theatre take part in National Theatre Connections every year and have a strong track record of helping young people achieve Silver and Gold Arts Awards. The Customs House Youth Theatre @ Jarrow School is a three-year project funded by The Hays Travel Foundation and was driven by Fiona’s dedication to making theatre accessible to all and widen access to the performing arts.

The Creative Cultural Skills Awards takes place on Monday, April 16, at the Lowry in Salford, Greater Manchester.

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