Knowlittle is based on the life of the self-taught Great Yarmouth naturalist, showman and journalist, Arthur Patterson, who wrote a nature diary for the Eastern Daily Press for many years under the pen-name of John Knowlittle.
The play tells the story of Patterson, writer, cartoonist, zookeeper, warehouseman, showman, puppeteer, truancy officer, but above all, recorder of the natural history of his beloved Breydon Water. His life is seen through the eyes of his wife Alice and his daughter Nellie.
Patterson corresponds with learned scientists, takes tea and talks about birds with his friend the Duchess and swaps tales of poaching and wildfowling with the almost feral Breydoners.
With Patterson's own drawings, contemporary photographs, songs of the day, original music and film, two actors and a variety of puppet characters tell the story of a man whose heart's desire was to be recognised as a 'proper naturalist'.
Knowlittle will tour Norfolk, Suffolk and East Anglia, with the premiere in October 2007 coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Patterson's birth. The show will tour elderly people's homes, community centres and other rural venues. The production combines Nutmeg's strong sense of place with their interest in works for older people and audiences with little opportunity to see live theatre.
Beryl Tooley, Arthur Patterson's great grandaughter, contributed to Nutmeg's research for the production.
Writer & Designer: Meg Amsden
Director: Mark Pitman