• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

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A POPULAR comedian will be putting words in people’s mouths at a magical event at South Shields’ Customs House next week (12 October).

Britain’s Got Talent finalist and ventriloquist, Steve Hewlett, will share the stage with puppets Arthur Lager, Pongo and more when he performs at the South Tyneside International Magic Festival’s second gala show on Saturday 12 October.

Steve fell in love with ventriloquism after seeing Jimmy Tamley win tv show New Faces in 1987 and went to the winner, who happened to live around the corner, for tips and mentorship.

Since the age of 22 the entertainer has performed full time in pantomimes, on cruise ships and at holiday parks and toured with greats including Brian Conley, Ken Dodds and Keith Harris – who gifted him his Pongo puppet among others.

He found wider acclaim when he finished fourth in the 2013 Britain’s Got Talent final after being brought back as Simon Cowell’s wildcard, going on to tour the US, UK and Canada with The Osmonds and supporting The Stylistics on their 50th anniversary tour.

“I performed at the Customs House when I brought my UK tour to South Shields a few years ago and I can’t wait to come back, it’s a great venue,” said Steve, who will also give a lecture for delegates attending the festival’s three-day convention.

“Magic links up well with ventriloquism because many magicians use it in their act and the stand-up comedy brings something different to the line-up.”

Councillor Alan Kerr, Lead Member for Culture and Leisure at South Tyneside Council, is confident that Steve will put on a great show.

“Ventriloquism is a really unique talent and not an act that you see all too often these days so I am delighted that Steve is bringing it to this year’s gala show,” said Cllr Kerr.

“He was absolutely fantastic when he performed on Britain’s Got Talent and I am looking forward to seeing which characters he brings with him to South Shields.”

Performing alongside Steve at the Saturday night gala show is Xulio Merino, Adam Black, Laura London, Matricks and Richard Jones.

Tickets for the gala shows start at £13 and can be purchased from www.customshouse.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0191 454 1234.

The South Tyneside International Magic Festival is organised by South Tyneside Council and magician Steve Gore, supported by BBC Newcastle and sponsored by The Customs House and Magicbox.

Tickets for the popular three-day convention are also available for budding magicians, priced at £65.

This includes entry to dealers, close up sessions, the two gala shows and the exclusive Late Night Show on Friday evening, featuring comedian Finbar Healy.

For more information on the festival or to book a convention place, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/magicfestival.