About us

About us

The Customs House offers arts and entertainment for all, serving the residents of South Tyneside and beyond with a varied programme of live performance, cinema, visual arts and projects for children and young people.

The Customs House is located within the conservation area of Mill Dam in the town of South Shields. Situated on the south bank of the River Tyne adjacent to the ferry landing, it has impressive views both across and up and down the river. The building is comprised of a 437 seat theatre, 145 seated studio/cinema, gallery spaces, restaurant, private dining room and an events suite.

General Information:

A short walk away from The Customs House is the Bus Terminal for services to South Shields and South Shields Metro Station. The Shields Ferry terminal is 300 yards walk and we will refund a single ferry fare on the day of the performance for each event ticket purchased.

Free Metro travel with your theatre ticket to and from the performance (up to two hours before and after the performance). Simply show your theatre ticket to the Metro inspector. To plan your journey click here.

Opening Times:

Box Office and Dame Bella’s are closed to the public every Monday.

If you are visiting us on a Monday for a booked event, or have a delivery please call: 0191 427 8199 or 0191 427 8180.

Our Weekly Opening Hours Are:
Box Office – Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 3pm
Bella’s – Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 2pm

The Customs House opens one hour before a show.
The Customs House Cinema opens 30 minutes before listed screening time

Email: [email protected].co.uk

Bella’s Bar:

Bella’s, our beautiful refurbed theatre bar by the river, is now open for drinks

Pop in between during the holidays 10am – 2pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
or one hour before showtime for a selection of hot and cold beverages.


Our free car park, situated at the rear of the building, is for the sole use of our patrons attending performances and events. 

Users of the car park do so at their own risk. The management will not accept responsibility for damage, accident or loss.

Car park locked between 11pm – 10am

Covid-19 Safety Precautions

The comfort and safety of ALL of our patrons and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Whilst the legal government restrictions around covid-19 will change from 27.01.22. we would politely request that the following measures are adhered to during your visit to The Customs House:

  • Wear A Mask When Moving Around The Building
  • Avoid Waiting In Small Areas (such as the foyer)
  • Use The Hand Sanitisation Points And Wash Your Hands Regularly

Please note: Covid passports, negative lateral flow tests or proof of exemption are no longer required to enter The Customs House

We really appreciate your help and thank you for your co-operation with this.


All public areas in The Customs House are accessible including a mobility lift to all floors and a link bridge connecting the main building to the Daltons Suite. Please call us before your visit and we will be happy to arrange any assistance you require. A loop system operates in the Theatre & Studio for hearing impaired people. Our brochure is available in large print if required. The Customs House strives to be an equal opportunities employer.

Venue Tours:

If you would like a tour of The Customs House to see the superb facilities we have on offer, we will be happy to show you around, either individually or in a group. Please email [email protected] for further details.

Making a Booking:

In Person:

The Customs House Box Office Telephone Lines Available:

Closed Monday
Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 3pm

Email: To make a booking, please click HERE

(0191) 454 1234. Box Office is open Mon – Sun, 10am – 3pm.

Please Note: 
All tickets includes a contribution towards our restoration levy of £2.50 per transaction

Please state clearly the performance you wish to see, the number of tickets, dates, times, prices, full name and address. Cheques should be made payable to The Customs House.

The Customs House
Mill Dam
South Shields
NE33 1ES

There is a £1 charge for postage.

Please state clearly the performance you wish to see, the number of tickets, dates, times, prices and name and address. [email protected]

Special arrangements can occasionally be made for groups of 20 or more; please contact Kelly Anders on 0191 427 8199 or email [email protected]

These are available for most events and are applicable to senior citizens, unemployed people, children, students and disabled patrons. You must state concession at the time of booking, and proof of entitlement will be required. Only one discount can apply at any one time. Free admittance is given to a wheelchair companion for theatre productions and cinema on production of a C.E.A card.

Group Bookings will be available on selected shows in the season. There are also special offers for school bookings. For more information contact: Kelly Anders on 0191 427 8199 or email [email protected]

Exchange of Tickets:
Tickets cannot be refunded. In exceptional circumstances, tickets may be exchanged for another show within 72 hours, for which there will be a service charge of £1.

Gift Vouchers are available from the Box Office for use anywhere in the building, and start from as little as £5.

Ticket Agents:
The Word, 45 Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF

Whitburn Newsagency, 1 Percy Terrace, Whitburn, Sunderland SR6 7EW

Babes in Arms Policy:
Here at The Customs House we welcome families with children of all ages and as such the following shall apply. Children under the age of 24 months are welcome to attend shows in all areas of our building with an accompanying adult. Children under the age of 24 months*, sitting on their carer’s laps go free, however a £2 contribution towards our heritage levy will apply.

In the circumstances that a child should become unsettled we ask that the parent take the child out of the performance to calm them and return when the child is settled. We thank parents in advance for their cooperation and hope our new policy will allow more parents to attend future performances.

*Except on shows aimed at our under 7s audience.