Saturday 16 March 2024

Barbed Wire and Teddy Bears

Barbed Wire and Teddy Bears
by Karen Forbes | directed by Robert Little
14-16 March 2024 | matinée 16 March 2.30pm

Photography: Andrew Evans

Barbed Wire and Teddy Bears tells the story of four children, Gwen, Tommo, Roy and Queenie, growing up in Jersey when the island was occupied by enemy forces between 1940 and 1945. In this original and inventive play, we share their childhood fun and mischief when living under German rules and regulations, unaware of the dangers they faced ̶ and the many sacrifices their parents made to keep them safe.

Local author Karen Forbes based her play on verbatim childhood memories from survivors of that time, mostly now in their 90s, as collected by her friend Therese Tabb during lockdown. Proceeds from Therese’s book, Occupation Memories, benefitted the Red Cross, in recognition of the wartime food parcels they delivered to the Channel Islands when conditions there became increasingly desperate.

Barbed Wire and Teddy Bears was first performed (to full houses) at Jersey Arts Centre, St Helier, during the island’s Liberation Week celebrations in June 2022. In addition to receiving rapturous local reviews, many similarities were then noted with the war in Ukraine that had started earlier that year. Given that background, it is particularly appropriate that ticket sales from this Sewell Barn production of the play ̶ formally its UK premiere ̶ will help to relieve wartime suffering through the Red Cross Ukraine Aid Appeal.


"I left feeling completely blown away. Nothing could have possibly prepared me for its brilliance both within its attention to nuance and detail, and for its thoughtful and carefully considered choices. I really cannot recommend this play enough. It's a joy and sorrow to watch. You'll be taken to places you didn't expect to go and you'll be torn apart to be put back together with a new appreciation of the times and world we live in now. A beautiful tribute to the lived experiences of real people with the fantastical element that brings you back to the warmest parts of childhood. It would be an absolute crime if this play disappeared, I really do hope it finds a new, more long- term home some time in the future. It was an absolute gift to be able to see this show." Megan O'Neill (UK Theatre Network (click here for full review)

"A serious point in history made very understandable - I wasn't really aware (of) the suffering of the channel islands. Brilliantly portrayed. I loved seeing those adults turn into kids!! Well done all of you." Vicky

"What a wonderful show at the Sewell Barn Theatre last night! Barbed Wire and Teddy Bears was great piece of ensemble theatre, energetically performed by six actors dramatising the experiences of children living through the German occupation of Jersey and based on eye witness accounts. The actors held our attention throughout with beautiful attention to detail in their characterisation and excellent timing." Clare Williamson - Front of House Manager

"An interesting spotlight on a less discussed aspect of history, and a reminder that these same threats are all too present." James Goffin - Cultivated (click here for full review)

Tickets, or by phone 0333 6663366.

Saturday 2 March 2024

Amy's View

Amy’s View
by David Hare
Directed by Pip Sessions
29 February-2 March, 6-9 March 7.30pm
Matinée 9 March 2.30pm

Book at, or by phone via 0333 6663366. Contains strong language and adult themes.

Amy’s View uses a mother-daughter relationship to explore love, loss and cultural clashes. The themes of marriage, fame, sacrifice, financial crises and betrayal are brought together to make the case for personal and artistic integrity, also for the importance of theatre itself.

Photography: Barry Parsons

“I first saw Amy's view 20 odd years ago as a student, and remember it as a deeply moving piece. I remembered correctly, and I advise anyone to bring tissues. This truly is a note perfect production with powerhouse performances. There is much humour and tragedy throughout, and the final scenes will continue to linger in the memory long afterwards. I don't want to say too much, but if you can get an entire audience to gasp in unison, then your job is done! I advise everyone to see this remarkable piece and pack the theatre out next week. Bravo to all.” Barnaby

"The reviews so far have been great and they are thoroughly deserved. Amy’s View is a moving and witty play examining relationships, most notably that of a mother and daughter. The intricate script is superbly handled by this talented cast and it is beautifully directed. You’ll laugh and you’ll gasp and (if you’re like me) you will cry." Alison

"Congrats to all involved in last night's engaging performance which I saw. A difficult play to pull off with its philosophical debates. Impressed with the very friendly colleagues staffing the theatre. Hope to come again soon." David

"Wonderful production, acting superb." Joanna

"A thought provoking poignant play. The acting was brilliant. So realistic. Set changes smooth and professional." Christine

"An enjoyable and thought provoking evening. Thanks to the whole cast and crew." John

"What a great Saturday night out. If you haven't been yet this is a great drama group. Been coming for so many years and still great. But last night's play Amy's View was outstanding, the cast was again outstanding especially H(ollie) Harrington playing Amy. Looking forward to many more productions. Thank you to all."

"A fantastic display of brilliant acting and direction." Jill Fuller, Chair - Sewell Barn

"Excellent and definitely thought-provoking. Congratulations to all involved." Shelagh

"Amy's View was an absorbing watch from start to finish as the audience was taken on a journey across twenty years in the life of one family with comedy and tragedy featuring in equal measure. At the same time as absorbing us in their personal lives, playwright David Hare also provides us with a stimulating discourse on theatre v TV  and the knock on effect of the Lloyds' crash of the 1980s. All this was beautifully handled by a stellar cast led by the sublime Mel Sessions. Congratulations to all involved." Clare Williamson - FOH Manager

"What really shines in this production though are the performances... and what doesn’t change is the power of theatre and great acting to entertain. If you have any doubts, go see this." James Goffin, Cultivated [click here for full review]

"Just seen Amy's View. Fabulous. Poignant, funny, emotional, thought provoking and all round fabulousness. A must see." Ayshea

" wasn't just big emotions that made their performances special - there was also a tender closeness between [Amy and Esme] in the first Act that's difficult to make believable on-stage, and they pulled it off superbly." Ray Tempesta, East Anglian Theatre Podcast [click here for full review]

"Direction by Pip Sessions is carefully crafted, with conflict being approached carefully and the layered nuances of financial trouble and the troubles of loved ones expressively explored." Charlie Bench, UK Theatre Norwich [click here for full review]