Socially-engaged arts organisation Effervescent came to us with plans for something big. They were working with the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth and a group of disadvantaged young people to create a live show like no other.
Featuring underwater performance in the Aquarium’s Eddystone Reef tank, Effervescent wanted to work with the young people to devise, produce and perform a show that reimagined traditional fairytales and encouraged participants to build confidence and emotional resilience. And they wanted us to write the script.
Starting with a series of intensive workshops, we supported the young people to explore themes, imagery and personal experiences, uncovering a universal truth to focus on. From here we used games, roleplay, prop making, improvisation and storytelling to map out the story world, construct characters and produce a cohesive story design.
We also worked closely with Effervescent’s production team, including the director, set designer and choreographer, as well as with the National Marine Aquarium’s education team, to ensure the narrative would not only captivate audiences, but also pique their interest in marine science and biology.
“We worked with young people to devise a show which reimagined traditional fairytales and encouraged participants to build confidence and emotional resilience.”
Taking the story design as our blueprint, we went away and wrote the script, incorporating iambic rhythm, song, aerial performance, freediving and a dose of key stage 2 science into the story.
Based on site at the Aquarium, we worked with the young producers to understand the performance space and how it could be maximised to establish an authentic story world for our characters. From the gargantuan aquarium tank wall to the balconies and galleries, we fleshed out the bones of the story to ensure audiences were immersed in the village of ‘Beware’ and the experiences of Rapunzel, Jack and Thyme from the moment they arrived.
Thrilled with the result, Effervescent then worked with professional actors to turn The Fish Hearted Bride script into a sold-out show that wowed audiences in February 2013.