This multi-sensory theatrical adaptation of Jean Gionoâ€™s environmental classic tells the inspiring story of a shepherd who plants a forest, acorn by acorn, transforming a barren wasteland.
As much a touching tale as it is a hilarious puppet show, The Man Who Planted Trees shows us the difference one man (and his dog!) can make to the world. Touring since 2006 in the UK and internationally including repeat seasons at the Sydney Opera House and New Yorkâ€™s Lincoln Centre Institute.
â€œLaughs, heartbreak, war, regeneration, scented breezes, sparkling wit and the best dog puppet ever. Perfect for children and grown-ups. Terrific.â€ (The Guardian)
Our series on new metaphors for sustainability continues with Alison Turnbull‘s ‘Spanish Dehesa’, a sylvopastoral system that marries production and nature conservation. Â Alison was born in BogotÃ , lives in London and exhibits her artwork there. Â
I first saw the Spanish dehesaon a trip to Extremadura some twenty years ago. We drove for over fifty miles without passing another car and the temperature soared to 53Âº C. It was difficult to believe we were in Western Europe and not in the plains of the American west or crossing an African savannah.Â Iâ€™ve been back every year since, walking and experiencing this unique eco-system in all kinds of weather, under all sorts of light.
Rather like the evocative Spanish term duende, used in the performing arts to mean â€˜soulâ€™ or â€˜spiritâ€™, dehesa is a difficult word to translate. Meadow, wooded pastureland and grazing operation, it is a sylvo-pastoral system that covers 20,000 square kilometres, mostly in southwest Spain but also stretching into Portugal and Morocco. It is one of the oldest created landscapes in Europe â€“ a cultural landscape if you like – just how ancient no one quite knows, but certainly several centuries, and it remains an outstanding example of intelligent husbandry.Â It is beneficial to the needs of human beings but also hospitable to a whole variety of other creatures, including many rare butterflies.
The grassed zones in between the oak trees are famously home to acorn-fed Iberian pigs that produce the most wonderful ham in the world. Honey, cheese, cork and charcoal are all products of the dehesa. It is an area of exceptional bio-diversity – for instance it is the wintering ground for most of Europeâ€™s population of Grus grus, the common crane.
Thedehesais special in that it is an area where maximum exploitation sits side by side with maximum conservation. Itâ€™s man-made and itâ€™s right here in Europe.
â€œashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UKâ€ (2020 Network)
ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.