Only The Beginning

Only The Beginning

Only The Beginning…a co-production by The Customs House and ThickSkin, Autumn 2024

The Customs House and ThickSkin are delighted to announce their upcoming co-
production, Only The Beginning…

Only The Beginning… will be a thrilling, fast-paced and highly physical new show by
Susan Mulholland (Gala Durham’s One More Sleep, Northern Stage’s The Christmas
Grump and 11 Arches Park’s The Golden Cape) and directed by ThickSkin’s Artistic
Director, Neil Bettles (Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Frantic Assembly’s The
Unreturning), showcasing ThickSkin’s award-winning physical, visual style of

Following the Lionesses call to arms after their Euro 2022 victory, Only The Beginning…
will take a deep dive into what it takes to be a female footballer and the bonds created
through grassroots sport. This exciting new production will be developed with
involvement from local girls’ football teams in the North East.

The piece, which will be written by Susan Mulholland, will be devised following a series
of workshops and facilitated conversations with local football teams as well as those
who have played but have since left the game. Susan said ‘I hope to paint a picture of
the women’s game in our region right now. I’m interested in all of it; the talent, the
obstacles and inequalities, the passion and motivation it takes to play and how much
fun it is; It feels timely to tell these stories now, when, despite the success of the
National Team, grassroots teams still have to fight for survival.’

The show will be created as part of The Customs House’s Future Creatives, their
programme aimed at nurturing emerging artists aged 25 and under, across various art
forms. The initiative has been made possible through investment from Arts Council
England and will provide opportunities for young creatives in the North East. The
project is also supported by a successful ACE’s Place Partnership Fund, delivered on
behalf of the South Tyneside Cultural Partnership Group.

Andrew Walker, Creative Engagement Producer at The Customs House has said, ‘We’re
so excited to be working with ThickSkin and Susan on Only The Beginning. We’re very
passionate about our football in the North East and we hope that the piece will
celebrate the role that the game plays in the lives of young women, as well as

highlighting the inequalities of opportunity and all of the work that is still yet to be
done to correct that.”

Neil Bettles, Artistic Director at ThickSkin said “I am incredibly excited about
developing this show with the team at The Customs House. The visceral energy of a
game of football captured in a theatre production sounds like a brilliant challenge to
me. There is a huge amount of interest in the women’s game at the moment, and I
hope we can make something that reflects the energy and dynamics of the game as
well as the stories of the people who are at the heart of the sport.”

Only The Beginning…will premiere at The Customs House Studio Theatre from 1-3
November 2024, and tour to community venues across South Tyneside from 6-10

To book tickets, visit The Customs House website on or contact the box
office on 0191 454 1234.

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