Strawberry Fields

Norwich Arts Centre

> Norwich Arts Centre

Diversification has always been a vexed issue. But nowhere have I seen it more hotly disputed than in Alecky Blythe's new play.

Her inspiration came from the true tale of John Davies, a Herefordshire farmer who decided to polytunnel up several hundred acres of countryside and grow his strawberries all year round.

Not only were the tunnels regarded as a giant eyesore, but the use of low-paid foreign students to harvest the crop was locally contentious to say the least.

Arguments raged on all sides. A regular battle sprang up. And the press splashed out extravagant titles.

What was the truth behind all the shouting? Off went Blythe with a dictaphone to find the root of the drama.

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She questioned everybody from nervous members of the NFU to planning inspectors and local residents.

And what made our experience of her findings all the more authentic, was that the words she had recorded were simply mimicked and repeated by the actors who were listening to the original interviews on small portable headsets whilst performing.

Documentary drama at the cutting edge. The Archers, but real!