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Tolkien 2019: Leaf by Niggle performance on Wednesday evening
Leaf by Niggle, April 2016, Puppet State Theatre Company
Leaf by Niggle, April 2016, Puppet State Theatre Company

The Puppet State Theatre Company’s critically-acclaimed stage production of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle will be performed exclusively at Tolkien 2019, on Wednesday, 7th August 2019

The show has toured England, Scotland and Wales throughout 2016 and 2017 following its premiere in April 2016, and has received high praise from the critics. Included as part of attendees’ registration to Tolkien 2019 includes access to an exclusive performance of Leaf by Niggle, taking place on the first evening of the event – Wednesday, 7th August 2019 – in the same hotel as the rest of the event, the Macdonald Burlington.

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 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.”

The stage production was previously performed at Oxonmoot 2016, and received a standing ovation from the 200+ attendees present. Tolkien 2019 is the 50th anniversary celebration of the Tolkien Society, taking place at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham from Wednesday 7th August to Sunday 11th August 2019. You do not have to be a member of The Tolkien Society to attend, but Society members – and members of other selected Tolkien societies – receive a discounted entrance fee.

To book Tolkien 2019, visit

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.