Although it sounds like a tale from a children’s story, the reality is that fish are slowly starting to disappear from our rivers and seas. Some research shows that wild fish could be a thing of the past by 2048. Why? And how can one little girl help stop it? Leaper: A Fish Tale follows one fish's magical quest against the ever-growing natural and man-made monsters in our waters.

Using their signature blend of beautiful puppetry and mesmeric music, Tucked In will explore the colourful and breathtaking world beneath the water’s surface.

Leaper was originally inspired by Steve Keay, a Tucked In audience member and Unit Manager of a salmon reconditioning unit for the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board in Perth, Scotland. Since meeting Steve in 2013, Tucked In have conducted research directly with marine biologists, social ecologists and school children.

‘Tucked In have always strived to create original work for children that is challenging, dark and never patronising. Leaper has been three years in the making and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

‘We can’t get the fish to live properly’, said one young girl during our development period. I believe children are born with an inherent spirit of conservation and once we grow up we loose a little of that. That is why creating a puppetry production about the future of fish for children is so interesting. During our research the children found that the idea of destroying one of the most bountiful natural resources utterly silly! I believe the ultimate key to conservation is education. It is the next generation who are going to be most effected by our present mistakes. Perhaps the show can give a subtle platform for parents and teachers to start debating these important issues with these young minds and perhaps they can help discover a way to create a sustainable future for life in our waters!

We believe the best way for people to connect with these issues is through story and we hope that Leaper will be moving, funny and extremely powerful. We hope to create a visually arresting piece experimenting with light, mirrors and water and of course there will be puppets galore!’

Hal Chambers, Artistic Director of Tucked In Productions.

Supported by Arts Council England, Lyric Hammersmith, Brighton Dome, National Aquarium Limited, Sea Changers and the Unity Theatre Trust, Leaper will tour to theatres, schools and aquariums around the UK.

Following their highly-acclaimed productions of Sam Rose in the Shadows, The Golden Cowpat and Tim & Light, this promises to be Tucked In’s most ambitious family show yet.

More information on Tucked In can be found at www.tuckedin.org.uk

The Press on Tucked In:

'Delightful... lovely work fizzing with unassuming creativity.' ???? Lyn Gardner, The Guardian (on Sam Rose in the Shadows 2013)

'Tucked In are blessed with a fresh new vision' The Stage

'There is a spirit of magic and adventure in Tucked In's work that is intoxicating. I was be-witched, as was my four year old.' Simon Stephens, Playwright

On Director Hal Chambers:

'Shakespeare for the OMG generation? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, when it’s as good as this.' ????? The Times on Hal's Romeo & Juliet 2013

'Move over War Horse, this polar puppet is magic....this sumptuous production is wonderfully whimsical.' The Guardian on Hal Chambers and Emma Earle's production of The Bear 2015


Creative Team

Project Advisors

  • The children of Addison Primary School, London
  • The children of Somerhill Junior School, Hove
  • Steve Keay – Reconditioning Unit Manager for Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board
  • Dr David Summers - Fisheries Director, Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board
  • David Stewart – Fishery Biologist, Marine Scotland
  • Dr John Armstrong – Fishwater Fisheries Programme Manager, Marine Scotland
  • John Gilby – Senior Genetic Analyst, Marine Scotland
  • Ruth Brennan – Social Ecologist in the Centre for Sustainable Coasts
  • Dr Tean Mitchell - Environmental Advisor
  • Claire Lewis – Producer of ‘The End of the Line’ Film
  • Tishy Bunk, Marine Biologist, L.A, USA.
  • David Dunkley, Former Head of Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Policy Branch for The Scottish Government

Where are the Fish?

Some of the potential problems:

Global warming is dangerous to the future of certain fish species. As temperatures change this forces huge migrations and plays havoc with the established food chains.

Overfishing of certain parts of the ocean by commercial fishing boats.

Pollution in our oceans.

A lack of widespread education, understanding or public awareness of these issues.

We are in uncharted territory and many scientists we have spoken to are unsure of exactly what the future holds for fish stocks around the UK and beyond.

Human beings tampering with the natural order mean that a total regime change in the food chains is possible.

So… If all the wild fish disappear there will be huge knock effects for other animals and human beings.

Will there be any wild fish left in the seas for our young audience when they grown up? Or will it all be all mud, worms and jellyfish?

Perhaps compassion is needed. We need to understand the marine life around the UK and beyond. And we need to understand each other as humans so we can find sollutions.

We must try creating a relationship with the sea.

Our production hopes too bring some of these issues into a new light and find some positive outcomes.

The ‘Leaper’ project will focus on the enduring story of the leaping salmon fish, known by many fishermen as ‘Red Fish’.

Our salmon fish and his fishy allies encounter many challenges on their journey. The natural threat of otters, birds and bigger fish are tough enough, but many of their challenges are man-made.

In the river Tay in Scotland the salmon population was once in decline… but now the salmon fish of the Tay are being nurtured!

Steve Keay, the Unit Manager of the Rearing Unit in Perth, carefully removes the adult salmon fish from the streams of the Tay after spawning and takes them over to his hatchery. There they feed in fresh water (which was previously thought impossible) and are able to spawn year after year. These new eggs are nurtured at the unit all the way into the ‘fry’ stage of growth and then returned to the river Tay. Subsequently the population of salmon in this area is rising again.

Steve is readdressing the balance through this small act of kindness. Yet he is possibly the only person in the world who is practicing this method.

How can we help him protect marine life for the next generation?



Press on Leaper

A superb piece of children’s theatre… The show serves as an excellent springboard into understanding a range of environmental issues, whilst being accessible and entertaining. Everything Theatre

Leaper is an ambitious and intelligent piece of children’s theatre, and a treat for the eyes and ears. Well worth a watch for curious young people – and their grown-ups too! Everything Theatre

Visually striking, this clever production will mesmerise young and old. Sound, music, lighting and stunning puppetry all work together in a wonderful harmony, creating just enough drama and tension without scare tactics, keeping little thespians enthralled and educating them at the same time.
Curious Mum

The many gasps in the audience was proof enough that Tucked In have truly succeeded in creating a feast for the eyes and a thought-provoking delight for little minds.
Curious Mum

Visually compelling with some great puppetry and an engaging story for children and adults alike…. This show could play a powerful role in raising engaged, environmentally conscious young people.
The Play’s The Thing

Tucked In have to be applauded for their imaginative approach in tackling a complex subject and their ability to make it accessible to children. After all, our children are the future generation and the earlier we educate them about our planet – the brighter their future.
Upstaged Manchester

Audience reactions

‘Beautiful! You took us on such a wonderful journey of life. Thank you! I don’t want to leave!’

‘Scenery, lighting, theme, execution all splendid. Totally engaging, colourful and exciting. Thank you’

‘Outstanding, beautiful, the best piece of children’s theatre we’ve seen in ages’

It was great for raising awareness about the issues of marine pollution, the fragility of the habitat and the journey of the salmon. I enjoyed the simplicity of the idea of dealing with sophisticated ideas through simple puppets and music. The children also learned about how effective puppets can be – some wanted to make their own after the show.
Jo Slagter, Year 3 teacher, Brunswick Primary School, Brighton

Leaper: A Fish Tale by Tucked In brims with skill, imagination, wonder and life lessons. I don’t know who loved it more my 4 year old son or my 40 year old husband. Like all great theatre it combines simple story telling with the rich imagination of someone like Hal Chambers and his creatives. Nadine Rennie CDG (Casting Director, Soho Theatre)

See the Show

Tour dates:

19th March Lyric Hammersmith, London
Box office: 020 8741 6850

20th March Brighton Dome, Brighton
Box office: 01273 709709

25th March Dorchester Arts Centre, Dorchester
Box office: 01305 266926

28th – 29th March Greenwich Theatre, London
Box office: 020 8858 7755

31st March Summerhall, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival

3rd April Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
Box office: 01235 515 144

5th April The Ropewalk, Ropery Hall, Barton Upon Humber
Box office: 01652 660380

6th April Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Box office: 01723 370541

8th – 10th April Little Angel Theatre, London
Box office: 020 7226 1787

16th April Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford Playhouse
Box office: 01865 305305

17th April National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

24th April The Lowry, Salford Quays
Box office: 0843 208 6000

30th April Blackwood Miners Institute, Caerphilly
Box office: 01495 227 206

2nd May 96 Shenley Road, Borehamwood
Box office: 01442 454 001

Leaper in schools

Leaper: A Fish Tale is also available in primary schools.

As well as the show we have prepared numerous workshop packages to suit schools of all shapes, sizes and budgets. The project is primarily aimed at key stages 1 and 2 (years 1-4) and covers topics including

  • The ocean and marine life
  • Food chains
  • Climate change
  • Habitats and Ecosystems
  • Pollution

If you are interested in booking a show and/or workshops for your school then please do get in touch with producer, Steph Connell by clicking here.

Contact Us

Tucked In last toured Leaper in spring 2016. This tour has now finished but we are very looking forward to touring again so please do contact producer, Steph Connell, to book the show or request more information.

Leaper toured to theatres, schools, aquariums and a children’s hospice in spring 2016 and was seen by nearly 3000 people. It is highly accessible for audiences of all ages and is flexible enough for a range of spaces, so do get in touch to find out more about it’s potential in your programme.

For Tucked In email Hal Chambers, Artistic Director

Follow us on Twitter
@tuckedinp & @leapertheplay

For more on Tucked In: www.tuckedin.org.uk