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Art as a form of self-expression at the heart of children's show

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

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Theatre Alibi has a reputation for creating visually imaginative and exciting shows for young audiences. New production Cabbage Heart has art right at the heart with its story of nine-year-old Jelly who discovers a new way of connecting with the world.

The show – created by Alibi's dream team of director Nikki Sved and writer Daniel Jamieson – has drawing and painting live on stage, terrific puppets and a thrilling score for electric guitar.

"Jelly is very interested in drawing and draws everywhere but doesn't think she's very good at it," says Jessica Barker-Wren who plays Jelly opposite Derek Frood and Sarah Finigan.

"Then she meets two fantastic characters – Mags and Peter – in a fantastic garden. They give her courage. They tell her, if that's what makes you tick, go for it."

The story is set in St Ives where Mags is a famous sculptor and fabulously cantankerous doyenne of the art world and Peter is her gardener and a one-time painter.

Jessica, who grew up in Chagford, says she draws nearly every day and understands Jelly's need to express herself through art.

"It frees some corner of your head and can help people understand things which are a bit nebulous or hard to get a grasp on," says Jessica.

"It's been really remarkable to combine drawing and acting. It was a challenge, but it became a real delight to do that.

"I think taking art out of schools is an absolute tragedy. I draw every day, it's part of who I am. Children are really thirsty for a creative outlet."

Cabbage Heart will be performed in Exeter at 7pm on the following dates: Pinhoe Primary School, November 22 ; St Sidwells Primary School, November 23; Topsham Primary School, November 28; Ladysmith Junior School, November 29 and Walter Daw Primary School, November 30. There are also shows at Exeter Phoenix on November 24 and 25 at 11.30am and 2.30pm. For further information visit www.theatrealibi.co.uk.

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