Classic tale plants seeds of pure magic

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The Puppet State Theatre Company is bringing a little bit of magic to Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre in the shape of The Man Who Planted Trees.

This award-winning puppet show about a shepherd who transforms a barren wasteland by planting a forest acorn by acorn is an inspiring, multi-sensory theatrical adaptation of Jean Giono’s environmental classic.

A touching tale and hilarious puppet show, it shows us the difference one man (and his dog!) can make to the world.

The Guardian called it ‘Perfect for children and grown-ups ... terrific ... laughs, heartbreak, war, regeneration, scented breezes, sparkling wit and the best dog puppet ever’.

Edinburgh-based Puppet State Theatre Company was founded in 2003 by Richard Medrington, after performing his one-man puppet shows for 20 years.

He then joined forces with puppeteer Rick Conte and puppeteer/maker Ailie Cohen. Their current show, The Man Who Planted Trees, has toured schools, village halls, theatres and festivals across the UK and Ireland as well as in Malaysia, Bermuda, the Netherlands, USA, Canada and Australia – at the New Victory Theatre and at the Sydney Opera House.

Richard Medrington, compulsive playwright, performer and storyteller, found his calling as a puppeteer in 1983.

His one-man shows include The Spider of Spindle Wood, The Interrogation, The Adventures of Ivan the Slug and A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, which toured the UK for five years to packed houses, culminating in a sell-out run at the Royal National Theatre in London. He moved to Edinburgh in 1992 and is a veteran of 16 Edinburgh Festival Fringes.

Rick Conte studied journalism at the University of Georgia and moved to Edinburgh on a whim in 1989. He has worked with The National Theatre of Scotland, Wee Stories, The Edinburgh Puppet Company and Catherine Wheels.

Using one of his puppet creations, Lord Dennis Tippleworthy, Rick has addressed the European Conference on Alcohol Policy in Helsinki, Leiden and Warsaw.

He learned almost everything he knows about theatre and performance at Edinburgh’s Bongo Club Cabaret 1998-2002. He and Richard have been touring with The Man Who Planted Trees since May 2006. He plans to continue until everyone has seen it.

Ailie Cohen went to Moscow to study acting, busked and starved her way round Europe with a street theatre troupe, then discovered she could combine visual art and theatre by becoming a puppeteer.

Ailie also learned almost everything she knows at the Bongo Club Cabaret. 
She has worked with The National Theatre of Scotland, Grid Iron, TAG, The Citizens, Puppet Lab,Vanishing Point and Leicester Haymarket Theatre, and her own shows include Rumpelstiltskin at the Fairytale Laundry, Jazz Mouse, The New Not New and Cloud Man, which featured in the prestigious Made in Scotland showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, 2011.

The Man Who Planted Trees will be performed at the Eastgate Theatre tonight (Thursday, November 27). 
Age 7+. Tickets £8, children £5, family £22.

Call the box office on 01721 725777, or visit www.eastgatearts.com.