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North Eastern fashion guru is Top of the Frocks


Mar 4, 2018
Renowned fashion, costume and set designer Paul Shriek has been announced as one of the nominees for Best Costume Design in The Great British Pantomime Awards 2018.
Paul, who is based in Jesmond, has been the creative force behind the costume and stage designs for South Shields’ Customs House pantomime for nine seasons, will travel to London’s Wimbledon Theatre in April for the awards ceremony, where he’ll be facing competition from four other nominees is his category, including the mighty force of The London Palladium.
Shriek works with long-time collaborator Matt Fox; their company Fox and Shriek is committed to creating visually stunning, unique and exciting theatrical productions.
Paul said:
“ Fox and Shriek is a team that is continually learning and developing new processes and techniques that stand upon decades of refined experience, and our collaboration on The Customs House pantomime has gone from strength to strength in the last nine years.
“After a 38 year career to date of doing what comes naturally to me -making ‘frocks’ and drawing, this is now a lifestyle I enjoy every day. Hard work, a sense of humour and respect for my ever developing ability to realise, with the help and support of Matt Fox and our special team, ideas from within the ‘Mr Shriek’ brain has given me the platform to be recognised for my craft. I am thrilled to have been shortlisted for best costume design in The Great British Pantomime awards 2018 and to be nominated alongside the biggest and the best has left me speechless, something that many would say is a first!”
Ray Spencer, MBE, Executive Director of The Customs House and award-winning panto dame, commented:
“Fox and Shriek have that rare gift of visioning truly innovative dreams and ideas.  However wild and wacky the brief, exciting ways of tackling the challenges presented are always found and the outcome is breath-taking show stopping designs.  Whether for print, digital media, set or costumes, the results really are in a class of their own. The Customs House panto has won the North East Theatre Guide’s accolade of being the ‘most entertaining’ in the region for three years in a row, and audiences are always amazed at the standard of costumes and set; it’s great that Paul has achieved this nomination, which is a real feat in itself.”
Paul has also enjoyed success as a designer with a variety of theatre companies including the National Dance Company of Wales. Co-founding Artistic Director Ann Sholem described Paul’s work:
 “ ‘Magnificent, ingenious and original’ are the words I choose when talking about Paul Shriek’s costumes. Shriek designed and made wonderful costumes for National Dance Company Wales, including the celebrated Seven Deadly Sins with Welsh National Opera. Shriek is an artist who creates a unique world with couture clothes for a theatrical setting.”
The Great British Pantomime Awards recognise and celebrate the great effort which goes into the yearly pantomime season throughout the UK. There are over 20 awards in total, including: Best Comic, Best Male and Female Baddie, Best Ensemble as well as awards for Lighting, Design and Direction.
Awards co-founder Sam Munday-Webb  said:
‘‘We knew that it was never going to be an easy job to see and judge such a vast array of productions in such a short amount of time. Since we launched in 2016 we have been extremely gratified to have the full support of the entertainment industry sustaining the awards, which have been hailed as a particularly positive way to celebrate our industry. We want pantomime makers to aspire to innovate as well as celebrate the wonderful traditions we have seen across the whole country.”
Co-founder Daniel Dawson added:
 ‘Judges saw well in excess of 200 shows with up to 6 judges seeing each show. The variety of talent that we have seen has made it clear that pantomime is as alive as ever. With so many talented actors so well supported by back of house teams it has made the judging very difficult, but that can only be good for audiences and the future of pantomime.’
The winners will be announced on Sunday 15th April at London’s Wimbledon Theatre; Christopher Biggins, last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner will host the awards, and be joined by other guests from pantomime and beyond to celebrate the season.

By Emily