The Takeover returns

Published: 16 March 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Writer Andrew Finnigan & director Abigail Lawson
The Takeover

South Shields’ Customs House’s Takeover Festival for emerging artists and arts professionals aged up to 25 years of age, which was due to take place in May of last year, will return in June.

The highlight of the festival will be a new play, Cherryade Supernova, by the third young writer in residence, Andrew Finnigan. It will be performed by a cast of eight actors from the region aged between 17 and 25 and directed by actor Abigail Lawson, a true alumna of the Takeover, having appeared in both previous young writer in residence productions, WORMTOWN and Isolation.

“I have been lucky enough to be cast in the two previous Takeover plays,” Abigail Lawson, who comes from County Durham, said, “and I genuinely can't believe my luck at being asked to make my directorial debut this year. Being involved for the third year and also being able to challenge myself in an area I never thought I'd get the opportunity to do so is just mind-boggling in the most positive way possible. I will be eternally grateful for the constant support and love The Customs House have shown me and hope I will do them proud!”

The writer, Andrew Finnigan, is from South Shields, born and living in Simonside, and this will be his first production as a writer, although he has a number of successful acting credits, including WORMTOWN, You Stupid Darkness! (Paines Plough / Theatre Royal Plymouth) and Drip (Script Club / Boundless Theatre). As part of his involvement in the Takeover, he is mentored by playwright Tom Wells whose credits include Drip, Broken Biscuits (Paines Plough / Live Theatre), Folk (Birmingham Rep / Hull Truck Theatre / Watford Palace Theatre) and Jumpers for Goalposts (Paines Plough at Watford Palace Theatre and UK tour, 2013–14).

Cherryade Supernova will be performed in the main house at the Customs House on Friday 4 June and auditions will be held in April. All the characters are aged 16–17 and, because of the conditions of the production’s funding, actors must be aged between 17 and 25 and living in or from the North East. Full details of the characters and the auditions can be found on the Customs House web site.

The auditions and the performance will be socially distanced and will comply with COVID-19 regulations in force at the time.