Published: 27th December 2019

Children’s drawings inspired by The Customs House panto Snow White are delighting visitors to the theatre this festive season.

Pupils from four schools in Sunderland and South Tyneside have created the artwork currently on display in the Step Up Gallery, inspired by ‘the little panto with the big heart’. The School’s Drawing Exhibition is now in its third year, starting with The Lambton Worm in 2017 and continuing with Beauty and the Beast last year.

Elizabeth Kane, Learning Officer at The Customs House, said: “This year, the Step Up Gallery is filled with pictures inspired by Snow White. The children’s exhibition presents hundreds of drawings from four schools across South Tyneside and Sunderland. “We are sure everyone who visits us this festive season will join us in thanking the children and teachers at Barnes Infant Academy, Dunn Street Primary School, Sunningdale School and Harton Primary School for their hard work.”

Barnes Infant Academy in Sunderland took part in the annual exhibition for the first time this year and its reception children concentrated on drawing the main characters, from Snow White and The Evil Queen to the Minor Miners. Elizabeth said: “We hope when they visit our pantomime, as they do every year, all the artists are thrilled to see their work proudly displayed at our busiest time of the year.”

Harton Primary took part for the second time this year, with children from across the school submitting a superb collection of drawings using a wide variety of materials. Elizabeth said: “I am impressed Harton Primary’s artists have had the freedom to create such personal and varied responses to the theme Snow White. It’s clear the arts are really valued at the school.”

Dunn Street Primary has been involved in the Schools Drawing Exhibition from the start and this year, Year 5 pupils worked with Elizabeth in school to create an observational drawing by looking at photographs of the Snow White cast.  Elizabeth said: “Mrs Giles’ class were eager to try new things. When I visited the school they showed great determination. I set them some tricky drawing challenges but everyone enthusiastically gave them their best shot.”

Sunningdale School is the only school in Sunderland for children aged two to 11 with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, including autism. Its pupils presented a sensory celebration of Snow White. Elizabeth said: “I love the children’s use of glitter to add some panto pizzazz and how they incorporated their hand prints in their artwork. Making these artworks would have been a really rich sensory experience.”

The open School’s Drawing Exhibition will return next year on the theme of Rapunzel. For more information about The Customs House Learning and Participation Team’s work with schools, please e-mail

Snow White runs until Sunday, January 5. Tickets, priced from £9.99, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at