Previous members who became famous

See below some of the people who were once a member of the Westovian Theatre Society, who then went on to bigger and better things…..

David Ducasse

David was a member of the Westovians and starred in ‘Rebecca’, ‘Dial M for Murder’ and ‘Tomb with a View’ in 1990, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ in 1992 and ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ in 1993. David auditioned for an “all-singing, all-dancing pop group” which was formed in October 1998 and became Scooch who won a contest on BBC One‘s Saturday morning show Live & Kicking in 1999. It consisted of Russ Spencer, Caroline Barnes and Natalie Powers and competed against the boy band Glitterbug, to have their single released. Even though the bands were already formed, this contest was unique as it pre-dated the format of the first music talent reality show to air in the United Kingdom, ITV1‘s programme Pop Stars in 2000. They had four singles that entered the Top 20, before they were dropped by their record label and privately split. It was announced that Scooch were to reform for a Eurovision Song Contest bid and went on to win and represent the UK in 2007. David established his own performing arts academy in the North East in 2000 training young performers. He has also worked extensively as a producer, writer and director and continues to perform.

Dale Meeks

Dale starred in many Westovian productions including ‘Good Companions’ in 1991, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Dry Rot’ in 1992, ‘Puss in Boots’ in 1994, ‘Andy Capp’ in 1995 and many more. He also took over the running of the Junior Section with productions such as ‘Pied Piper’ in 1995, ‘Dracula Spectacula’ in 1996 and ‘Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations’ and ‘Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves’ in 1997.

Dale is a Geordie actor best known for his role as Simon Meredith in the British TV drama Emmerdale and as the winner of ITV’s Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes with Mark Charnock as the Blues Brothers. He also starred in Byker Grove as the leader of a gang from rival youth club Denton Burn for 5 series and played Hips in the BBC series Breezeblock. Dale has also toured the UK with the musical Chicagoand appeared in the West End production of Love Never Dies. Dale can be seen in the upcoming series of George Gently as Panda.

Phillip Meeks

Dale Meeks’ older brother also starred in various pantomimes over the years with the Westovians as the Dame before he became a successful playwright.  His credits include Murder Margaret and Me which was a hit at the New York Fringe Festival last summer where it won awards and received critical acclaim. It enjoyed a national tour and had a short West End run at the Ambassadors Theatre as part of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of The Mousetrap. In television Philip was part of the writing team who wrote over 40 episodes between 2005 and 2008 of Emmerdale. He has contributed to Heartbeat, Doctors, Fat Friends and River City and has developed original series including Mother Truckers with ITV and family drama Last of the Darlings with World Productions. Philip also writes dozens of pantomimes for professional and amateur stages each season. Aside from writing, Philip is establishing himself as a leading pantomime dame. He’s been Twankey with the Chuckle Brothers, Nurse Dolly in Sleeping Beauty with Linda Lusardi and Nurse Penny Well in Sunderland Empire’s Snow White with Sue Pollard.

Ray Spencer

Ray first started treading the boards at school and had his early years with the Westovians in such productions from ‘Visitor from Mamaroneck’ in 1974, ‘Aladdin’ in 1975, ‘Sweeney Todd’ in 1976, Old Mother Hubbard’ in 1979 to ‘Andy Capp’ and ‘Business of Murder’ in 1995 and many, many more.  He has performed in pantomimes for nearly 40 years with his long-standing stage partner Bob Stott. He went on to lecture at South Tyneside College but is best known for over 25 years as children’s entertainer Tommy the Trumpeter. Ray is currently the Executive Director of The Customs House, South Shields.

Jade Thirlwall

Jade was born and raised in Laygate, South Shields and attended the performing arts college South Tyneside, where she studied various courses. Jade performed at the Westovians in the play ‘Anne Frank and Me’ in 2007 as Little Bit Burns / Liz Bette Bernhardt. She also auditioned for The X Factor in 2008 and 2010 but got eliminated at the bootcamp stages. Jade tried out for X Factor again in 2011 where she became one quarter of a girl band along with Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson. They successfully became the first girl band to win the competition when Little Mix was created and went on to be signed by Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Music. They have had five chart-topping albums and continue to dominate the charts.