The Fish-Hearted Bride

Supporting looked after children to develop resilience.

February 2013

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth UK



The Fish-Hearted Bride was an arts project which took place over six months; a partnership between Children’s Services, Effervescent and National Marine Aquarium.
The project was a research programme as part of preparation for Plymouth City of Culture 2017, looking at how vulnerable young people and children could work with professional artists and scientists so that the young people’s life chances and opportunities would improve at the same time as creating extraordinary art work which would put Plymouth on the map and draw new audiences to theatre and to the aquarium.
We worked with a group of Young Producers aged 16 – 20, some of whom have attendance levels of around 15% in mainstream education, who attended well over 90% of the creative sessions – including underwater choreography, drama, design, puppetry, costume creation, storyboarding, writing, marketing, and photography.
We also worked with a group of younger children who are in care to create some of the detailed work in the show.
The show sold out seven of nine performances, and more than 960 tickets were bought which means that around 10% of the cost of the project was covered by ticket sales to the public.  Around 34 children and young people from Plymouth were involved in the performance, and took on roles as diverse as producing, singing, performing, designing and making the set or costumes, and backstage crewing including running the lights and throwing jelly hearts to hit precise spots on the stage.
More than 20% of the audience were new to professional theatre, and more than 50% of the audience hadn’t been to the aquarium in the last year; the youngest person in the audience was a few months old, and the oldest person we know of was 80 – and Fish-Hearted Bride was his birthday treat.