Schools Learning Programme

Schools Learning Programme

Our Schools Learning Programme gives children the opportunity to think about creative professions, art, craft and design. The workshops help children develop visual literacy, creativity, confidence and communication skills.

The Customs House offers schools in South Tyneside one-off workshops and short projects, with many linked to Arts Award.

Workshops are linked to the curriculum and designed for KS1, 2 and 3 students. Participants can be supported to achieve the Arts Award at Discover, Explore and Bronze Levels.

Topics covered by the programme include:

  • This year’s pantomime at The Customs House is Beauty and The Beast. We have inspiring workshops for KS1-3 that could compliment a trip to the theatre or stand alone as a high quality in-school art experience for your learners. If your school wishes to make a group booking for our pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’ please email or call 0191 427 8183 to book a workshop email
  • Local heritage, architecture and public art. These workshops invite students to develop connections with the place around them. Discover the history of The Customs House and find out more about architecture through painting, sketching and building. Use images of South Shields to create a class collage of our town. Look at local sculptures and make a model of a new sculpture for the town. Or if you want something more in depth go for our ‘Power and Protest’ creative day where you will discover more about race riots at Mill Dam, the Jarrow Crusade and Miners’ Strike then make a protest sign in the style of contemporary artist Bob and Roberta Smith;
  • Puppetry and mask-making. Learn more about storytelling and design by creating imaginative puppets inspired by the theatre of Indonesia, China and Turkey. Find out about Japanese Noh Theatre and create masks inspired by Koichi Takatsu.
  • For schools struggling with budget deficits we have also shared information about free opportunities to take part like The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize and Beauty and the Beast Schools Drawing Exhibition.

We’d love to hear from schools with ideas for projects. We can plan and deliver bespoke learning projects and teachers CPD.

In school workshops start from £250.

For more information on The Customs House Schools Learning Programme or to book a session contact Elizabeth by email or call 0191 427 8198.


School Tours

As we are a receiving house (meaning most of the shows we put on are from touring companies) there an extremely limited number of days when we can access the theatre as people need to setup and run through their technical rehearsals. Please get in touch with some possible dates. We will check with the Programming Manager whether any are possible and confirm with you. There is a charge of £150 for a tour (for up to 32 pupils) however if you are a very small group or it is part of a bigger project with The Customs House or you are ‘Researching an Arts Organisation’ for Arts Award we may be able to deliver a tour for a donation. We always encourage you to get in touch and we will see what is possible.

You Did Work with Another Group Free of Charge

Sometimes schools’ projects are funded. In the past we have ran schools projects funded by Historic England and are currently running a project The History of Theatres funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) you can find out more here. In these cases we would normally approach suitable partner school(s) and ask if they would like to be part of our bid. We are more likely to work with schools we have strong partnerships with on larger fully funded projects as whilst they do not require financial input they require more of your time and commitment.

What Free Opportunities Do You Offer

There are free opportunities to take part in annual events like The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize and Pantomime Drawing Open.




  • Sessions are designed for a maximum of 32 learners
  • A teacher must be present throughout the session
  • Children can achieve Arts Award at the advertised level
  • Some projects require pre and post visit work
  • Prices are correct at the time of publication
  • A surcharge may be added for schools outside South Tyneside