“If you can hold the attention of a four-year-old for an hour, then you can entertain adults in a more ‘polite’ venue,” says Theatre Alibi’s Artistic Director Nikki, explaining how what was once a children’s theatre company has transformed into one that provides critically acclaimed shows for all ages.
The Exeter-based theatre company creates, writes and puts on original productions.The National Lottery-funded productions Goucher’s War and The Crowstarver are just two example of Theatre Alibi’s imaginative work. The acclaimed Goucher’s War told the story of a children’s author recruited as an undercover spy during a war. Receiving a four-star review in The Guardian, the play was just as popular with audiences.
“Goucher’s War restored our faith in contemporary theatre,” said one audience member. “Oh yes, and in humanity.” Meanwhile, The Crowstarver was based on a Dick King Smith novel set in a rural West Country community during the early days of the Second World War. It tells the story of a boy with learning difficulties who has an extraordinary connection with animals, and his trouble in being accepted by the community. The farm animals were brought to life using puppetry. “The animals are what people really loved,” says Nikki. “And audiences really related to the central character.”Although Theatre Alibi’s reputation is growing, its values remain the same as when it was first formed in the early 1980s. As Nikki says: “We like to think we can take the values of a smaller company and put them on a big stage.”
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