What's On

The Whistlers

A curious pair of Whistler People have been spotted in the woods...

  • 24–26 September 2021
  • Ebb Plantation within Symondsbury Estate


The Whistlers are an ancient culture of people who live in dense forests in remote, often mountainous areas. They live in close, symbiotic relationship with songbirds and communicate by whistling.

This extraordinary and unique culture of people is under threat. They are moving from their traditional homes, deep in the forests of Eastern Europe.

Luckily the Whistler Conservation Society have parachuted in to Symondsbury. They will take care of the lost Whistlers’ needs and work with local people to ensure their ongoing protection.

Red Herring are a theatre company based in the South West. They specialise in outdoor, interactive performance that blurs the edges between the performance and the audience. Their performances are fun, comic, curious and considered. They take a sideways look at the world we live in and encourage people to experience familiar places and familiar stories in unfamiliar ways.

Please note, there is limited capacity for performances of The Whistlers at Symondsbury Estate. We’re asking you please to sign up to see the show at our Activate branded gazebo near the cafe at Symondsbury Estate if you’d like to see the performance


Co-creator, performer and designer: Paschale Straiton

Co-creator, performer and designer: Kim Tilbrook

Sound designer and performer: Alison Houiellebecq

Performer: Barnaby Gibbons (performer in France)


Whistler imagery: Sarah Corbett

Outside eye: John Nicholson

Sound Consultant: Thor McIntyre Burnie

Thanks to: Fiona Fraser Smith, Joel Herron and Peewee Murray.



This production of Whistlers is supported by Arts Council EnglandDCMSDorset CouncilDorset AONB, Symondsbury Estate, Creative Europe, LAND, The Green Carpet, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Jerwood Arts, Artful Scribe, The Garrick Club Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust

The Legend of the Whistlers describes the Whistler relationship with songbirds, and the unique Whistler culture.

Below, join Lynne Passerine at a suspected Whistler site, to find out more about the world of the Whistlers and how to track them.

Listen to a live recording of two Whistler children. Ava Coucal describes the experience of travelling with Lynne Passerine into the heart of the Carpathian Mountains and her first Whistler sighting. Click here for a version with written captions.


This work is located within Ebb Plantation, a woodland with rough tracks and steep gradients located 2.3km from the main car park. Unfortunately, this site is not recommended for wheelchair users.

Plan Your Visit

With the current climate crisis, we try to work in a greener way and understand that we all need to be part of the solution in protecting our planet. We encourage you to consider how you get to the festival and adapt to ‘greener’ ways if possible. Follow this link to plan your visit and read full access information.

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