Puppet drama that nets a fishy tale of trawler men and EU quotas sets sail to Norfolk

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands
coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport

The tale of a humble fisherman as he fights against the tangled nets of EU legislation, quotas and big corporations and finds salvation in sardines is the subject of unique puppet drama.

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands
coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport

One of the strangest and perhaps most symbolic sights of the Brexit referendum campaign was a fleet of trawlers sailing up with Thames with Nigel Farage aboard and being heckled by a rival group of waterborne campaigners including Bob Geldof.

Now the serious issues behind that protest are brought to the fore in a new touring production, In Our Hands which arrives in Wells-next-the-Sea this weekend and Norwich later this month.

Based on the true story of Stefan Glinski, a once struggling fisherman who came to change our fish consumption habits, it weave a story with puppetry and an original score to explain crippling EU legislation in trawler fishing that will be up for debate as Brexit negotiations continue.

The performers from Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands
coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Dav

The performers from Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport

The quotas featured heavily in Nigel Farage's campaign, and led to frustrated fisherman rallying behind him in his much-mocked Thames cruise.


You may also want to watch:


In Our Hands is touring to venues across the country with the story of Alf, a once successful fisherman now being squeezed out of the market by the manipulation of EU quotas by large corporations.

Alf is a trawler fisherman whose experience, camaraderie and loyalty have put him and his boat at the top of the game. But times are changing and so is the industry. How will Alf adapt in order to survive?

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands
coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport

Most Read

Following the journey of a fish from sea to plate, a seagull's ridiculous attempt to find food and a father and son's reunion, In Our Hands uses innovative puppetry and inventive staging to explain the tangled net of legislation that is the plight of small fishing businesses. From the depths of despair, Alf will rise again and rescue the life he loves?

The unique production has been developed both in London and Cornwall by Smoking Apples, a company undertaking extensive research in Newlyn, Penzance and St Ives.

During this time, the company met Stefan Glinski, a fisherman who saw the potential in fishing sardines, adapted his boat to catch them and is almost single handedly responsible for their rise in popularity and the now hugely successful Cornish Sardine industry.

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands
coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport

Smoking Apples production of In Our Hands coming to Norfolk. Photo: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport

Stefan's story inspired part of the narrative of In Our Hands, which includes a dynamic set designed by Samuel Wyer, who has previously worked on Les Enfants Terribles' The Trench and the National Theatre's The Elephantom, and an original score from Jo Walker.

The show has been co-devised by five performers Hattie Thomas, Molly Freeman, Matthew Lloyd, Luke Breen and George Bellamy.

Hattie Thomas said: 'In true Smoking Apples style, we once again rewarded our curiosity, and hopefully the audience's too, by choosing to explore a weird and wonderful subject. In Our Hands was created out of a mutual interest and a huge variety in knowledge regarding trawler fishing.

'Between the five of us, we varied from having worked at the Sea Life Centre and being clued up on marine conservation, to a vegetarian to someone from a Farming background with a kill to eat mentality. This provided the basis for the show and our interest in making it.

'Together we researched and rehearsed in Cornwall and London to develop a show for both rural and city audiences.'

• In Our Hands is at The Sackhouse, Wells, September 16, 3pm, all tickets £2.50, 01328 710193, granarytheatre.co.uk• It will also be at The Garage, Chapel Field North, Norwich, on September 22, 7.30pm, £15 (£8.50 cons), 01603 598646, thegarage.org.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter