After a third consecutive sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Puppet State Theatre Company’s adaption of Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees is produced at the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Studio from Monday 19 to Saturday 31 December.

A French shepherd sets out with his dog to plant a forest and transform a barren wasteland.  As war rages across Europe, their young forest comes under threat…

Hear the wind, feel the rain and smell the lavender in this multi-sensory theatrical delight that will engage both adults and children alike. Accompanied by a highly vocal dog, this uniquely memorable blend of comedy, puppetry and inspiring storytelling shows the determination and dedication one man and his dog can make to the world and is known to have inspired many environmentalists including Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, whose Greenbelt Movement has been responsible for planting over 30 million trees in Africa.

As much a touching tale as a hilarious puppet show, it shows us the difference one man (and his dog!) can make to the world.  A fact not lost on Jean Giono himself who commented in 1957 “I wrote this story to make people love trees, or more precisely to make people love planting trees.  Of all my stories it is one of the ones of which I am most proud. It has never earned me a penny and for that reason it has accomplished the very purpose for which it was written.”

Winner of the 2007 Eco Trust Prize for Creativity and the 2008 Total Theatre Award for Story Theatre, The Man Who Planted Trees is directed by Ailie Cohen (Jazz Mouse, Rumplestiltskin), and performed by Richard Medrington (AA Milne’s Winnie The Pooh) and Rick Conte (Catherine Wheels’ Martha, Snow Baby).  The Man Who Planted Trees has been toured extensively by Puppet State Theatre Company, reaching audiences throughout the UK and Ireland as well as Malaysia, Bermuda, the Netherlands, USA, Canada and Australia including performances off Broadway at the New Victory Theatre and repeat visits to the Sydney Opera House and New York’s Lincoln Center Institute.

The Man Who Planted Trees is performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Studio from Monday 19 December until Saturday 31 December (excluding Christmas Day).  Performance times 11.30am and 2.30pm (Tuesday – Saturday), and 2.30pm and 5.00pm (Mondays).

Royal Exchange Theatre.  image credit University of Salford Press Office/flickr under creative commons licence.