Climate change and refugee crisis examined in family-oriented show We Are Not Shellfish at Portsmouth Guildhall

What would you do if you found a message in a bottle, with the phone number of a child in the Calais Jungle?

Friday, 22nd July 2022, 8:49 pm

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.

We Are Not Shellfish by Sabotage Theatre is at Portsmouth Guildhall on July 24, 2022.

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.

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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. She was inspired by how they use joy as a weapon to fight back against indifference and injustice.

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.

Zoe says: ‘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 which brings 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 will be brought to life by Sarah Ratheram, Lee White and Kathryn Perkins.

It is at Portsmouth Guildhall on Sunday, July 24 at 2.30pm.