This summer, festival-goers will be able to experience the world premiere of the outdoor theatre companion to the enchanting, bestselling book The Lost Words, taking place at the major new festival Timber, which celebrates the transformative impact of forests upon people and places.
Seek, Find, Speak; A Conjuring Told in Gold is a brand-new official spoken-word adaptation of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, a magical book of acrostic “spell-poems” and bewitching gold-leaf illustrations about twenty common nature words – from “acorn” to “wren” by way of “kingfisher” – at risk of disappearance from modern childhood in our increasingly urban and technologised world.
Seek, Find, Speak takes the form of a forest theatre-trail for all ages, both self-guided and also led by a charm of Goldfinch performers. It will feature stunning 3D installations of Jackie Morris’s golden illustrations and Macfarlane’s words, such as spells wrapped in gold lettering around trees, animals to be discovered in the woodland, and lines of spells perched on branches like starlings. Together with sound recordings of the spell poems from some of Britain’s famous voices of all ages and accents, including inspiring athletes, naturalists, actors, poets, musicians and scientists, The Lost Words will come alive in the National Forest, itself one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects, for families to Seek, Find and Speak this summer.
The Creator and Director of Seek, Find Speak is Collette Murray whose 15 years as professional Director and Voice Coach, combined with experience as a Forest School Practitioner has inspired Murray to bring The Lost Words to life to help reach young people in an outdoor setting.
Collette, whose recent credits include The Kid Stays in the Picture (The Royal Court/Complicite) and Jubilee and The Almighty Sometimes (Royal Exchange) says: “I am delighted and honoured to be adapting The Lost Words to an outdoor theatre piece; Robert and Jackie have created something quite, quite bewitching in their Spell Book. In Seek, Find, Speak, we want to enchant people, young and old, to use their own voices to bring these spells to life in Britain’s great outdoors.
Premiering at Timber Festival, The Lost Words are hidden in the National Forest waiting to be found. To conjure these spells, a charm of Goldfinches will guide the audience participants through a forest theatre trail to Seek, to Find and, importantly, to Speak some lost words of nature. The forest trail will offer many golden clues so all will have to explore the landscape, with ears, eyes and heart. Conjuring these spells with the power of their own voices, the audience will join the Goldfinches in charming these words into our stories and dreams once again – stories to be Told in Gold.”
Robert Macfarlane says: “At the heart and origin of The Lost Words is a wish to bring nearby nature – the creatures, trees and plants with which we share our landscapes, but that too often slip from our care or attention – back into the lives and stories of Britain’s children. Collette’s adaptation promises to do exactly this, in a new way – adapting The Lost Words into a spoken-word/oral culture performance, to tour festivals this summer, and then to look to a longer legacy for the adaptation in terms of a show that can be taken into schools. That the premiere of the adaptation is planned for the inaugural National Forest festival, Timber, seems a perfect alignment. She has the fullest support of me and Jackie Morris.”
Rowan Hoban, Director of Wild Rumpus says: “When Collette first approached us about a theatrical adaptation of The Lost Words, we felt like stars were aligning over our heads! We are thrilled and honoured to be supporting its development as Wild Rumpus, and premiering the new piece at Timber Festival.
Timber Festival is all about celebrating our relationship with nature and forests, and bringing nature back into family life is a subject close to our hearts here at Wild Rumpus. We believe that when families engage together in the highest quality arts in wild natural landscapes, something quite amazing can happen. The Lost Words is the most beautiful and inspiring evocation of the natural world, and to see families exploring the spells amongst the trees and brambles on the Timber site will be a dream come true.”
After the inaugural weekend of performances at Timber, the project will go on tour later this year and into 2019 in both natural and urban locations. Collette Murray, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris are keen that this project reaches and inspires young people who are the least advantaged in their connection to the language of the natural world.
Timber is a major new festival where music, forests, art and ideas will weave together into an exhilarating weekend in the heart of the National Forest, one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects.
Created by the National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus (award-winning producers of the Just So Festival), audiences are invited to experience the transformative impact of forests with artists, musicians, scientists and thinkers. Explore what woodlands can mean to us and how we can re-imagine our relationship with our environment. Play and create in an arboreal wonderland, where the tonic of wildness rules supreme.
Highlights include music headliners Jane Weaver and This Is The Kit, a keynote address from Stuart Maconie, the English festival premiere of Jony Easterby’s new interactive performance Tree and Wood, the greenfield festival premiere of Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon plus experiences such as Comedy In The Dark with Leicester Comedy Festival, a Fire Garden, feasting, Masked Ball, woodland library, woodland playground, forest film programme, eco spa, dawn runs and more.
Timber is a not-for-profit festival with sustainability at its heart which will partner with other international forest festivals to share knowledge and innovations taking place in forests and transforming lives across the world.
Timber is a new annual camping festival located at Feanedock, a 70 acre woodland site on the Leicestershire / Derbyshire border at the heart of the National Forest. Embracing 200 square miles of the Midlands, the National Forest is the first forest to be created at scale in England for over 1000 years. Spanning parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, the first trees in the National Forest were planted over 25 years ago, to transform a landscape that had been left scarred and derelict by the closure of the Midlands coalfield. The whole Forest area spans rolling hills and farmland, towns, villages and industrial hubs, as well as the former coalfield, all framed by woodland: over eight and a half million trees have been planted since the early 1990s. The National Forest is a forest for the nation, a national asset that demonstrates a revolutionary approach to forestry, showing how well-designed woodlands can enrich the lives of people, businesses and wildlife, while helping to address climate change.
For information and tickets visit timberfestival.org.uk
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