CAST ANNOUNCEMENT: WHEN THE BOAT COMES IN PART 2: THE HUNGRY YEARS  

Rehearsals are well underway for the next big production in The Customs House calendar – the sequel to the smash-hit When The Boat Comes In.

When The Boat Comes In Part 2: The Hungry Years picks up where the first instalment, which premiered at The Customs House last year, left off and continues the story of life in the fictional Tyneside town of Gallowshield during the inter-war years.

Based on the acclaimed BBC TV drama, which ran from 1976 to 1981, and subsequent books, the stage adaptation is written by Peter Mitchell, the son of the original creator, James Mitchell, and focuses on former Army sergeant Jack Ford.

Now married to Dolly and with a baby on the way, the Twenties are no longer roaring on Tyneside and with no job, no prospects and no hope of escape, the ever-resourceful Jack identifies a way out – and a way up.

Award-winning actor Jamie Brown (The Machine Gunners, The Man and the Donkey, Hadaway Harry) returns to the role of Jack, while West End performer Alice Stokoe (Mamma Mia, American Idiot, Sister Act) returns as Jessie Seaton.

Steve Byron, an actor/drama practitioner with 25 years’ experience of working within community theatre in the north east, will play Bill Seaton/Horatio Manners and Janine Birkett, whose film and TV credits include Billy Elliott, Coronation Street and Inspector George Gently, will play Bella Seaton.

Tom Seaton will be played by Matt Howdon (Leaving), Matt Headley/Lord Calderbeck by Charlie Richmond (The Last Ship, My Uncle Freddie, Bobby Robson Saved My Life) and Dolly Ford by Anna Bolton (Emmerdale, Doctors).

Mrs Downey will be played by Academy of Live and Recorded Arts graduate Sarah Balfour (Hyem), Sidney Poskett by Luke Maddison (Leaving, Geordie the Musical) and Leslie Calderbeck/Les Mallow by Adam Donaldson (Geordie the Musical).

Director Katy Weir said: “First and foremost, When the Boat Comes In is a story about family and love. With characters we can relate to and situations many have been through, we tell a story that we hope will touch people’s hearts.

“I knew Part 1 was going to be a big show that would have a strong following because of its history, but I wanted us to put our own slant on it and I kept my fingers crossed that our audience would go with us. They did.

“It took a long time to assemble the cast as you have to make sure not only that the actors are right for the part, but that all the characters fit together. The cast is back – with one new addition – and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can create.”

When the Boat Comes In Part 2: The Hungry Years runs from Thursday, September 12, to Saturday, September 28, with evening performances at 7.30pm and a 2.30pm matinee on Thursdays and Sundays. There will be no shows on September 16 and 23.

Tickets, priced from £16, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.