News: We Are Not Shellfish tackles refugee crisis and political activism in new show for families

What would you do if you found a message in a bottle, with the phone number of a child in the Calais Jungle? We Are Not Shellfish is a provocative, heartfelt puppet show about the power of friendship and how it can change our lives. The production seeks to start discussions about the environment, the refugee crisis and political action in a vivid and engaging way.

Leah is angry about the world; she is trying to collect all the plastic out the ocean before it’s too late. Her father says she should spend less time worrying about ‘adult problems’ and more time trying to make friends. Then one day, Leah finds a plastic bottle with a mysterious phone number inside and is soon in conversation with Ahmed. When the text messages stop, Leah must summon all her courage to build a boat from salvaged plastic and embark on an epic voyage to find her friend.

We Are Not Shellfish combines Sabotage Theatre’s vibrant visual aesthetic with a story of protest and rebellion, asking what one small person can do to save the world. Artistic director Zoe Hinks wrote the play whilst working with The Flying Seagull Project; a charity that brings music and laughter to families in crisis around the world.

Adults and children alike are sure to be enchanted by this rollicking, fast-paced adventure with bite, aimed at secondary school children and their families. We Are Not Shellfish will be brought to life by Sarah Ratheram (The Giant Jam Sandwich, New Perspectives; Macbeth and Styx, RIFT; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Little English Theatre), Lee White (Snow Play, Theatre by the Lake; Sunshine, Lyric Theatre; The End, Little Angel Theatre) and Kathryn Perkins (Back to Hackney, Theatro Technis; Macbeth, The HandleBards UK tour; Call the Midwife, BBC).

Writer and Director Zoe Hinks comments, It feels like right now, more than ever, we need to be looking at what connects us. It is incredibly daunting for young people to honestly look at the challenges of environmental and social injustice today. It is our job as story-makers to help create a map navigating an uncertain future. I started to write the play when I was volunteering for The Flying Seagull Project; a charity who bring laughter to families in crisis around the world. I was really inspired by how they use joy as a weapon to fight back against apathy. I realised it was important to make a play that used this joyful approach; if it isn’t fun, then people close themselves off.

We Are Not Shellfish is playing at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds on 14 November 2021 and Cambridge Junction on 28 November 2021.

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