The Customs House showcases a range of visual art forms reflecting our work with our local community.


The Customs House has several exhibition spaces.

  • The Customs House Gallery – Elmer’s Great North Parade
  • Upper Fusion Gallery – The Treasure Group Imaginary UK Tour
  • The Step Up Gallery – celebrates the amazing creative talent of children across South Tyneside.



Elmers Great North Parade

Trudi by Fox and Shriek – a theatrical Elmer

Get involved! Please tag us in your photographs @thecustomshouse and #greatnorthelmer

Come and see the herd in The Customs House Gallery. Alongside amazingly creative and cute mini elephants designed by local school children and community groups meet ‘Trudi’ by Fox and Shriek.

Fox and Shriek is made up of award winning designer Paul Shriek and Matt Fox, a Fine Art practitioner and educationalist. ‘Trudi’ celebrates The Customs House pantomime and the South Shields venue’s 25th Anniversary.

Trudi is dressed in a patchwork of exclusive couture digital fabric prints. these fabrics have been used within costumes of past shows to reveal ‘up close’ detail often not seen from the auditorium. Taking ‘good’ and ‘evil’ characters, the design is split into two halves, Stage left and Stage right. Using the skills of the Mad Hatter to stitch the costume together and a dash of panto magic, Trudi is ready for her curtain call

More about Great North Parade

Elmer’s Great North Parade is organised by and raising vital funds for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice, a charity providing care, love and support to babies, children and young adults with complex needs.

For 11 weeks, 50 big and 114 little individually painted elephant sculptures are taking over North East streets, parks and public buildings in the biggest and brightest art trail ever seen in the region.

You can find out more about St Oswalds and Great North Elmer here

Don’t miss Heart of the House
A stunning free event at The Customs House

Friday 25th October – Sunday 27th October, 6pm – 10pm
(projection on continuous 10 min loop)

Take a journey through time and get ready to celebrate the past, present and exciting future of The Customs House through exciting story-telling projections on the outside of the building full of nostalgia, fun and illusion.

This outdoor visual spectacle, designed by the world-class team at NOVAK, marks The Customs House’s 25 years as a cultural venue. Heart of the House follows the history, cultural rebirth and legacy through projection of one of the most famous buildings in South Tyneside; expect to see everything from ship building, coal mining, music, performance and South Tyneside icons and pantomime characters that you know and love.

There will also be a colourful walkway featuring unique flags and banners created by the people of South Tyneside in workshops with Creative Seed that you will be able to view as you walk down to The Customs House to see Heart of the House.

NOVAK specialise in motion design and create projections, art installations and stage visuals for music artists and video for theatre performances. NOVAK has had work featured across the world at some of the most highly regarded arts festivals, including Lumiere and music festivals including Glastonbury and Coachella. NOVAK also created the stunning visuals in The Cultural Spring’s past commissions RUSH and WordPlay. To watch a showreel of NOVAK’s work, click HERE

Heart of the House takes place on Friday 25th October – Sunday 27th October, 6pm – 10pm. The projections will be on a continuous 10 minute loop so don’t worry about heading down for 6pm, there’ll be plenty of time for everyone to view. Please click HERE for answers to a range of frequently asked questions

We’re also inviting local people to share their memories of The Customs House and join The Creative Seed Carnival to help create a sea of colourful and vibrant silk-painted flags which will be positioned along Harton Quay. The flags will be illuminated and welcome visitors during the event.

The free session takes place on Saturday 28th September, 1pm – 4pm at St Hilda’s Pit Head, Henry Robson Way, South Shields, NE33 1RA. To book your place onto the workshop please email click HERE or call 0191 4278197.

More details about Heart of the House will be published on The Cultural Spring website and social media pages.


Upper Fusion Gallery

The Treasure Group – An Imaginary Tour

Our Imaginary UK Tour exhibition in the Upper Fusion Gallery.

Our Imaginary UK Tour exhibition in the Upper Fusion Gallery.

Exhibition opens to the public on May 14th until date tbc.

The Treasure Group is our regular arts group for children aged 7 to 13 with experience of the care system. The Customs House wishes to thank National Lottery Players for supporting this project.

Members of The Treasure Group present a mixed exhibition of sculptural souvenirs and artworks made on a virtual journey around the British Isles. What delights have they put together using all sorts of novel materials and techniques?

North Tyneside based artist and design Alizon Bennet has steered the group on their imaginary journey. They’ve traveled all over. They’ve taken in the sites from local cites like Newcastle and Durham. Thought about textiles woven in Manchester. Gone north of the border to Scottish cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow and finished off in the capital London.

For more information about this project please email


Learn and Take Part

If you are a teacher and interested in completing a creative project or workshop with your class or CPD please see our Schools Learning Programme page.