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Stage play of Leaf by Niggle to tour Scotland
Leaf by Niggle, April 2016, Puppet State Theatre Company

An authorised stage play of J.R.R. Tolkien’s short story Leaf by Niggle is going to tour round Scotland this spring.

The production by the Puppet State Theatre Company has been supported by Creative Scotland and the Tolkien Trust and will premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre Studio on Thursday 14th April before touring to Stirling, Glasgow, Livingston, Cockermouth, Kendal, Tobermory, Dunfermline, Dumfries, New Galloway, Inverness, Banchory, Peebles and Findhorn.

This storytelling show, created and performed by Richard Medrington, draws on Richard’s personal family history as an introduction to Tolkien’s original story. Surrounded by ladders, bicycles and heirlooms, Richard Medrington recounts Tolkien’s miniature masterpiece with a soundtrack composed by Karine Polwart and Michael John McCarthy.

Written in 1938-9, and first published in 1945, Leaf by Niggle recounts the story of Niggle struggling to finish his grand painting of a tree. The story is often said to be an allegorical, or even autobiographical, telling of Tolkien’s own creative processes. In a letter, Tolkien said: “I tried to show allegorically how [subcreation] might come to be taken up into Creation in some plane in my ‘purgatorial’ story Leaf by Niggle.”

Puppet State Theatre Company’s artistic director Richard Medrington said:

Since I first read Leaf by Niggle I have had this urge to share it and over twenty five years that desire has only got stronger. The story seems to offer different things each time I come to it, changing like the weather. Unlike most of Tolkien’s stories, there are no wizards or elves, but it’s a little bit magical all the same.

For information about venues, visit the Puppet State Theatre Company’s website.

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 3,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter. He chaired another charity, Mankind, and is a local councillor.