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Connecting urban children to the environment with theatre

The ‘Little Fir Tree Project’ allows inner city children in Islington to learn about the wonder and importance of trees by combining arts and the environment. 

The project aims to increase awareness of the necessity of trees in cities. While also complementing the Woodland Trust’s inner-city tree planting strategy. The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK.

Little Fir Tree Project

The ‘Little Fir Tree Project’ creates a bridge between music, theatre and the arts, and the environment for children in the London Borough of Islington. The project is a combination of a major theatre event, outdoor workshops, tree planting in school grounds and environmental learning. Alan Rickett, project director said: “At the heart of the project is a new uplifting family musical called Little Fir Tree based on the fairytale, re-imagined and composed by Megg Nicol and David Stoll.”

In October ten free primary school ‘Tree Awareness’ workshops were run by the theatre company LFT Productions with the support of the Woodland Trust. The workshops took place in Islington park. LFT Productions recounted, “one child said their favorite part was finding out about the giant London Plane tree planted there in 1847. They were also intrigued by the idea that this tree had been looking after people for one hundred and seventy one years, by absorbing polluted air, from coal fires to car fumes.”

Islington schoolchildren enjoy one of the workshops with the Little Fir Tree Project (Photo: Little Fir Tree Project)

The children spend an hour in Thornhill Park identifying the different trees, learning how they grow and how they help to clean our air and help us breathe more easily.  They also go on a nature trail before heading inside for hot chocolate and to hear music and storylines from the theatre company’s adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Little Fir Tree.

Creative director and co-writer of Little Fir Tree, Megg Nicol said: “This is all about bringing forest magic to the inner city. We believe that we have a chance with this show to deepen the emotional connection with trees and to inspire the wider values of preserving our woodlands for future generations. The ability to do this is greatly enhanced by the support and encouragement of the Woodland Trust and we in turn look forward to promoting the Woodland Trust’s values to a wider audience.”

The Gala premiere concert performance of Little Fir Tree will be at Kings Place on December 18th 2018. Further information can be found at www.lftproductions.co.uk

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Community Manager of Child in the City.

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