Puppet State presents Leaf by Niggle

Leaf by Niggle, a lesser-known short story by J.R.R. Tolkien, is the story of an artist living in a society that does not value art. Puppet State use Tolkien’s words to illustrate Niggle’s world in this delightful piece of storytelling, fresh from this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Niggle is a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he has so many other things to do. For some time he has been obsessed with one particular canvas – a curious picture of a tree with a vast landscape stretching out behind it. The painting keeps getting bigger and bigger, but Niggle has a journey to make…

In 1939 Tolkien was despairing of ever bringing his great work The Lord of the Rings to a conclusion. One morning he woke up with the story Leaf by Niggle complete in his mind and wrote it down. This poignant story, about an artist on a curious journey, is often seen as an allegory of the writer’s own creative process and life. Surrounded by ladders, bicycles, easels and heirlooms, Richard Medrington recounts Tolkien’s miniature masterpiece, with a soundtrack composed by Karine Polwart and Michael John McCarthy.

Niki McCretton (owner & director of the Lyric and Stuff & Nonsense Theatre co) saw Leaf by Niggle at Edinburgh Fringe last summer and it was one of her highlights. She says, "It's a grown up tale - so for older children 9+ and adults - in a storytelling style but with a lovely set that really takes you on a journey and is very moving and profound."

“Tolkien’s lord of small things … an enchanting one-man show” ★★★★ Guardian
“an exceptional story teller … difficult to fault” ★★★★ Young Perspectives
“intricately layered telling of Tolkien’s short story” ★★★★ The Stage
“If you use even a tiny amount of your imagination, a picture forms in your head and then, a story starts forming too. I really really loved it. I would give it 5 stars” ★★★★★All Edinburgh Theatre, Junior Review

Puppet State Theatre Company, based in Edinburgh, was founded by Richard Medrington. After performing his one-man puppet shows for 20 years he joined forces with puppeteer Rick Conte and puppeteer/maker Ailie Cohen in 2006. Their show ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ has toured to schools, village halls, theatres and festivals across the UK and Ireland as well as in Malaysia, Bermuda, the Netherlands, USA, Canada and Australia including performances off Broadway at the New Victory Theatre and at the Sydney Opera House.

For ages 9+

With grateful thanks to the Bridport Literary Festival for their generous support; this production forms part of the festival.

Tickets are £9 adults / £6 child, available in advance from BearKat Bistro and Bridport Arts Centre: 01308 424204 / online. Doors open at 4:30pm for a prompt 5pm start.


This production comes to us via the house touring network

Age suitability: 
9 Barrack Street
Phone: 01308 424204

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