Meet The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar in Chichester

A group of five final-year BA Hons acting students from the University of Chichester are bringing The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar to the stage as a fund-raiser for a summer trip to the Edinburgh festival.

Nathan and Theo
Nathan and Theo

They will be offering the show in the ShowRoom on the university’s Chichester campus on February 15 at 7.15pm , a free, unticketed event. They are urging anyone interested simply to turn up on the day.

The show comes from the students’ company Red Biscuit Theatre, through which they are promising new, funny and interesting devised comedy.

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They made their debut as a collective at Brighton Fringe 2018 with a sell-out run of The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar; now they have got Edinburgh in their sights, on the back of a successful performance at their Chichester home-city base.

Nathan and Theo

They are promising something insane, filled with eccentric characters, a pulsating purple portal and a very troubled caterpillar.

Producer Nathan Charles said: “We formed when we were in the first year, two years ago.

“We wanted to make a bit of a platform to give us the room to make new writing. Theo (Moore) is a brilliant writer, and he had written a piece, and it just snowballed from there.”

As Theo says: “That was the first time we ever read something through, and we went on to devise the next show which was much more collaborative.

“In our first year, we did a module called narrative, creating a story and bringing it to life and coming up with a new angle. We were thinking about the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and we were thinking how we could twist this, and so we came up with The Very Well Fed Caterpillar, this caterpillar that keeps eating and eating and gets too big for the cocoons and gets very angry and becomes a tyrannical ruler.”

Playing the caterpillar is Nathan: “He eats babies and he eats people and he rules over this land without an ounce of kindness or compassion. His way is the law, and he chops people’s heads off and gets rid of them if they don’t agree with him. And then he meets this lovely beautiful butterfly.”

And through her he learns the virtues of kindness and compassion.

As Theo says; “When we wrote it, we didn’t have any intention of writing anything morally viable, but if you write an hour-long show, something moral is always going to creep in there. We got a review of the show in Brighton saying that it was a lovely tale of redemption, the story of the redeeming power of love...”

For all concerned it comes as they approach the end of an enjoyable course: “The university has been great,” Nathan says. “I have loved the course. I think the department is really unique. They have got great alumni who are theatre-makers, and the professional links are great. It is such a supportive environment.”

Theo admits he isn’t sure what will happen once they graduate: “One of the great things is that we are on the acting course, but I am not just interested in acting. I am also interested in the creative side of things, the writing and the directing. I like the thought of creating a project myself.

“But for the first time in my life, I don’t know where I will be next year and that is exciting.”

The show goes to theSpace in August in Edinburgh.