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A million reasons for going to theatre.

A theatre-goer was made a "millionaire" last night (MON) as a North-East arts centre marked another milestone in its short history.

Wendy Fosbrook, 37, of Quarry Lane, South Shields, received one million lire ( worth pounds 356 ( after becoming the millionth paying customer at the Customs House, in South Shields.

Miss Fosbrook's name was read out during the matinee performance of the pantomime Dick Whittington.

She was called on to the stage and asked to pick one of three envelopes which contained a million South Korean won (worth pounds 485), a million Lebanese pounds (worth pounds 339) and a million Italian lire.

To celebrate the venue's 10th anniversary year, Miss Fosbrook was also given 10 years' free membership to the Customs House Friends organisation, worth pounds 250.

The membership entitles her to 10 years of reduced price and complimentary tickets, advanced booking on shows and invites to special events.

Miss Fosbrook, who has a daughter called Amy, said: "I was very surprised and I couldn't believe it when they called my name out.

"I am really pleased. We were umming and aahing over whether to go for an Italian after the show but after winning the money we didn't even have to think about it."

Customs House director Ray Spencer said: "It was a wonderful way to celebrate our millionth customer and I would like to thank everyone who has come and supported The Customs House over the last 10 years and made it as successful as it is today.

"We hope to make 2005 even bigger and better."

It was also announced yesterday that next year's pantomime will be Aladdin, to mark the 30-year collaboration of its two main stars ( Bob Stott and Ray Spencer, who first performed together in Aladdin.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2005
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