Leaves, Trees and New Growth

by Puppet State in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 22nd September 2020 we successfully raised £6,431 ( + est. £890.00 Gift Aid ) with 228 supporters in 35 days

Help us find ways to keep telling stories like 'The Man Who Planted Trees' & 'JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle'

by Puppet State in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

You're a Wonderful Crowd!

As the seasons shift, we are looking back on this crowdfunding project with amazement at your enthusiasm and generosity. It’s been a real pleasure to share our work with you. We loved hearing your responses on Twitter. 


Some fans of The Man Who Planted Trees have discovered JRR Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle and vice versa. We have even received some fan art from Lizzie Cavanagh (below) as well as some amazing necklaces made out of acorns sent to us by Jill Shepherd in Boulder, Colorado.


Dog and Oswald have been busy preparing their personal video messages to those who selected that particular reward and we’ve been highly entertained in supporting them to do that! Here's Oswald's report for you from Puppet State HQ: 

Digesting this crowdfunder experience means that we’re experimenting with some cutting edge software to process our Q&A events into podcasts and hope to be in touch again about that with some interesting listening. Our first use of zoom webinar functionality was with the Leaf by Niggle Q&A which despite some bumps along the way (try not to expel your speakers from the event!) led to some great discussion – and even some hot new Tolkien research topics. Many thanks again to Dr Dimitra Fimi for fantastical insights and great questions. There are other things we’re keen to try with that platform including recording dialogues with puppets and human characters. If we’re in need of an audience to try things out, you might hear from us ... 

We’ve shipped books overseas to collectors of the increasingly rare true first edition of Leaf by Niggle and one thoughtful person claimed the bespoke online masterclass which we’re excited to shape into a really fruitful and memorable learning experience with them.

A few of things that your generosity has enabled us to work on this autumn include:


  • putting Dog in the storytelling seat for some John Muir adventures,
  • sitting down with stories and scripts to work out what to tell and how to tell it,
  • researching toy theatre techniques with help from experienced and crafty colleagues.

If you ticked the box giving permission for marketing, we’ll drop you a line one of these days with news of how we get on with our autumn and winter projects. If you didn’t but think you might like to stay in the loop, you can entrust your email address to the contact page on our website and be assured that we’ll treat your details with all due care and respect.

Once more, a massive thank you for your support. Stay safe and please keep in touch! 

With our very best wishes,

Elspeth, Richard, Rick ... and Dog!


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This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£1 or more

Whatever you can afford

A few quid in Dog's basket. A contribution to his sausage roll fund. He will love you forever.

£10 or more

Watch 'The Man Who Planted Trees'

Filmed at the 2019 Fringe - and in far higher quality than the footage previously filmed way back in 2007 - this footage captures the live atmosphere of our favourite venue, the Scottish Storytelling Centre. All the ups and downs of the efforts of Elzéard Bouffier - and his faithful dog, Dog - to bring hope to a barren landscape. Sadly no smellivision but we hope the story itself will evoke the smell of the French countryside. View till 21 Sept.

£10 or more

Watch 'JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle'

In agreement with the Tolkien Trust, we are offering access for 1 week only to a filmed performance of our adaptation of 'JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle'. Filmed in August 2020 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre following social distancing guidelines, this footage brings you up close to the objects and artefacts that inspired performer Richard Medrington to weave Tolkien's miniature masterpiece with his own family's stories. View from 25-31 August

£15 or more

'The Man Who Planted Trees' AND 'Leaf by Niggle'

Access to view The Man Who Planted Trees from 21st Aug - 21st Sept and JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle from 25th until 31st August. We know many of you have seen these shows several times - some have even worn out your vintage 'The Man Who Planted Trees' DVDs. Now you can watch both these gems again and again from the comfort of your own home!

£18 or more

'The Man Who Planted Trees' & Live Post-Show Q&A

Watch The Man Who Planted Trees, filmed at the 2019 Fringe, along with an online audience and stay for some live post-show chat with seasoned performers Richard Medrington and Rick Conte who have been touring together with this production since 2006. Your chance to put them on the spot and ask about their experience of traveling the world and living this evergreen story over the last 14 years. Screening 21st August 7pm, Q&A 8.15pm on Zoom.

£20 or more

20 of 50 claimed

'JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle' & Live Q&A

Along with an online audience, watch JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle, filmed under social-distancing guidelines at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and stay for some live post-show discussion with performer Richard Medrington. Featuring guest Tolkien expert, Senior Lecturer in Fantasy and Children's Literature and Co-Director, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, Dr Dimitra Fimi. Screening 7pm 25th August 2020, Q&A 8.30pm.

£30 or more

'Trees' and 'Leaf' with Live Q&A Double Bill

Get the full experience of watching both shows and also participate in 'The Man Who Planted Trees' with Live Q&A on 21st and 'JRR Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle' on 25th with continued access until 31st August. Get your fill of inspiring storytelling and insider insights with this bumper reward.

£40 or more

2 of 5 claimed

Rare Book Collectors' Special

The very rare first printing of Leaf by Niggle in June 2016 said that our premiere was at the "Edinburgh Festival Theatre". This was corrected in the second printing to “Festival Theatre Edinburgh”. Future collectors will want the one with the mistake! Comes with a signed, first edition copy of 'Sea Above, Sky Below', the novel Richard mentions in the introduction to the show and was inspired to complete by re-reading Leaf by Niggle.

£50 or more

Generosity of Spirit

There's nothing in it for you at all except knowing that you're following your heart and reaching towards the future with us during this time of uncertainty.

£150 or more

3 of 20 claimed

Personalised Message from Dog or Oswald

Mark a special occasion, friendship or show your thanks to your family or colleagues for all they've put up with lately with a personalised message from Dog from 'The Man Who Planted Trees' or our admin monkey Oswald to keep or share. And if you claim this reward you also get access to the other viewing experiences and Q&A involvement.

£500 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Bespoke Puppet State Online Masterclass

Tap into the amazing skills embodied in the Puppet State Theatre Company team and enjoy an online workshop experience for you and up to 10 other adults. We will meet online to discern your interests in puppetry, storytelling or creative writing and deliver a zoom workshop with follow up package to suit your needs.

£1,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Personalised Post-Lockdown Performance

Bring the magic of live theatre, Tolkien's inimitable storytelling and Richard Medrington's fireside manner to your large living room or other suitable venue and enchant your guests with a live performance of JRR Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle within 50 miles of Edinburgh with up to 30 guests within COVID-19 safeguards at the time of the show.

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