Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

For They Are Jolly Good Fellows! Top Comics Enter Theatre's Hall of Fame

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

For They Are Jolly Good Fellows! Top Comics Enter Theatre's Hall of Fame

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wonfor Reporter sam.wonfor@ncjmedia.co.uk

A TRIO of the North East's top comedians were awarded a special honour at the weekend.

Jason Cook, Sarah Millican and Chris Ramsey joined forces for two fundraising shows at The Customs House in South Shields on Sunday.

And in between the matinee and evening performances, all three became the first inductees into the Customs House Academy, which will recognise South Tyneside's contribution to the arts and entertainment industry.

"We were delighted to make Sarah, Chris and Jason the Academy's first honorary fellows," said Grahame Wright, vice chair, The Customs House Trust. "It was literally the realisation of the amount of talent which has come from the area which made us think about doing this," he added.

The establishing of the Academy coincides with the venue celebrating its 15th anniversary as a theatre in 2015, while the building will have its 150th birthday. The BBC's Jeff Brown did the presenting honours, paying tribute to the three inductees as well as the surrounding borough as a hotbed for artistic talent and particularly the Customs House as the place which nurtures it.

Indeed his daughter, Alice Stokoe made her professional debut in the venue's panto. She is now starring in Mamma Mia in the West End.

All three recipients of a custom-made, model of the Customs House were genuinely delighted to be receiving the honour.

An official Queen of Comedy, Sarah has become a household name since performing her first five minute stand up spot in 2005. With sell out tours, record breaking DVDs and three series of her own TV show on BBC2, the 39-year-old, whose family still live in South Shields, said: "This is amazing. Of course I jumped at the chance to come and perform when Jason asked me. I love this place and South Shields is my home town. …

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