LEADING LADY TAKES HER FINAL BOW AS STAGE SCHOOL CALLS

A young performer is taking her final bow at The Customs House Summer School before she heads off to a prestigious theatre school.

Katie Reed, 18, from South Shields, is moving to London next month to study a foundation degree in musical theatre at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Her place has been supported with a bursary from the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust, set up in memory of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry, to support young people and help them follow their dreams in the performing arts and sport.

The young South Shields couple were victims of the Manchester bombing in May 2017, with Chloe, 17, a talented performer herself and Liam, 19, a dedicated cricketer.

Katie, a former Harton Academy and Sixth Form pupil, discovered her love of performing after joining Performers Stage School at the age of five.

She said: “I knew from then that I had to do something creative rather than academic. I started with dance, but musical theatre has always interested me the most.”

Katie has attended The Customs House Summer School since the age of 10, working her way up from the ensemble to her first speaking role in Oliver.

This year, she is playing Morticia in The Addams Family, a role made famous by Angelica Houston in the 1991 film.

“I love Angelica Houston’s Morticia, so I have been watching her and stealing a few of her mannerisms,” she said.

Katie passed several auditions to secure her place at Mountview, whose alumni include Twiggy, Amanda Holden, Mina Anwar, Douglas Henshall and Don Gilet.

She said: “I’m quite excited about going to Mountview. I don’t think the nerves have kicked in yet. Hopefully, once I’ve completed the foundation degree, I will be able to go on to do a three-year course and that will lead to a career in musical theatre.”

Katie says attending the annual summer school, in which a performance is rehearsed and staged within three weeks, has helped her get used to tight deadlines.

Director Gareth Hunter said: “Katie has done the five summer schools I have been involved with, but I have also been fortunate to work with her on other shows.

“She’s always reliable and a hard worker and I think she will do very well at Mountview.”

Katie’s dad, Paul, said: “We are very thankful and grateful to the Chloe & Liam Together Forever Trust for giving Katie a bursary and allowing her to go to Mountview.”

The summer school production of The Addams Family runs at The Customs House from Friday, August 10, to Sunday, August 12, with performances at 7pm on Friday and 2pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets, priced from £12, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.