The Listening Tree ~ Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 2021

We are excited to announce that Emily Reid, Eco Drama’s Artistic Director, is collaborating with writer Zoe Bullock on a new piece for the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 2021 titled The Listening Tree.

Zoe and Emily first met while on a trip with Imaginate to the Panoptikum Festival in Nuremberg, Germany in Feburary 2020, and connected over a shared passion of making work for children and young people that nurtures a deeper connection with our natural world. Shortly after returning, Zoe proposed this new collaboration and a creative team was formed, with Zoe writing, Emily directing, Ecoscenographer Mona Kastell designing and creating a ‘living’ costume, and actress Sarah Miele performing. Mona had previously collaborated with Eco Drama on the 2015 theatre production and participatory arts project Uprooted which featured Scotland’s first Living Stage, working as the assistant to Ecoscenographer Tanja Beer. Mona made the living hats and many of the other living set and sustainably sourced prop pieces, so is the ideal designer to be involved.

The Listening Tree

What sounds do the trees make?


Sithy is a tree spirit. It’s their job to listen to all the secrets of all the trees, all across Scotland. Trees listen to everything, you see, and oh the stories they can tell! There are fun secrets, funny secrets, secrets from all the animals and all the people.

The Listening Tree is a walking character experience for all the family. Find yourself entranced and intrigued by this mysterious tree spirit and their stories, brought to life with real plants! Learn how to listen to the trees, and find a new way to play in the green spaces all around us.

The Listening Tree will premiere at the International Children’s Festival at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens on the 29th/30th May & 5th/6th June 2021. It is an experience for all of the family to enjoy outdoors, and will take small groups on an imaginative journey through beautiful, natural surroundings, all delivered adhering to covid guidance and ensuring the safety of all involved.

Writer & Dramaturg: Zoe Bullock
Director: Emily Reid
Designer: Mona Kastell
Performer: Sarah Miele
Produced by Imaginate for the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 2021

Emily Reid – Biography

Emily is a director and theatre maker, trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After graduating with a BA in Contemporary Theatre Practice, Emily worked as a devisor, performer, science communicator and drama facilitator in nurseries, schools and community settings in Scotland and Europe before founding Eco Drama in 2007. As Artistic Director of Eco Drama, Emily is deeply involved in running all aspects of the company, as well as devising and directing the company’s theatre productions and creative learning projects in collaboration with a team of artists, co-devisors and performers. Credits for Eco Drama as a director/devisor include The Whirlybird, Uprooted & The Living Stage, The Worm – An Underground Adventure, The Forgotten Orchard and The Isle of Egg, as well as leading on Eco Drama’s longest running creative learning project Out to Play with an incredible team of drama artists and storytellers.

Emily regularly works with other organisations presenting on Eco Drama’s work and delivering training, most recently for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Youth Theatre Arts Scotland. She is a passionate advocate for the role of theatre in motivating positive social and environmental change, the place of the arts and creativity within the school curriculum and sustainable theatre making. Emily is most passionate about making theatre and creative learning experiences which nurture a sense of curiosity, wonder and care for our natural world, and as such is delighted to be collaborating with Zoe, Mona and Sarah to create The Listening Tree.