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‘Nobody is quite sure when lapwings roosting on roofs in the North West really began.’  
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The Playground Theatre proudly presents The Lapwing Act, a theatrical adaptation of a chapter from Patrick Galbraith’s critically acclaimed book, In Search of One Last Song, for three nights only. This adaptation is co-edited by Eloïse Poulton and Patrick Galbraith and staged by Anthony Biggs. Including video design by Matt Feldman, sculptures created by Jack Anthony Taylor and improvised sound design by Dom Bouffard, The Lapwing Act will fly audiences through time and place from Rochdale to West Wales, via canals, motorway flyovers, and the Manchester Mosses.

This is a haunting exploration of presence and absence. The fate of the lapwing, a beautiful iridescent wading bird is bound up with the march of time, with progress and destruction.

Adapted for Stage by Patrick Galbraith and Eloïse Poulton
Staged by Anthony Biggs 
Sculptures and Set Design by Jack Anthony Taylor
Sound by Dom Bouffard
Film by Matt Feldman  

Patrick Galbraith was born in Edinburgh in 1993. He grew up in Scotland and studied English literature at Bristol and University College London before dropping out to become a writer.

His work has appeared in Granta, The Times, the TLS, and 3:AM Magazine. He is commissioning editor for The Open Art Fair Magazine and is a columnist for Country Life and The Critic.

In Spring 2022, his critically-acclaimed first book, In Search of One Last Song: Britain’s disappearing birds and the people trying to save them, was published by HarperCollins.

Eloïse Poulton is a theatre and film director and writer. Her work centres on humanity’s relationship with nature and our relationships with each other, often through a feminist lens.

After reading English at Trinity College, Cambridge, Eloïse completed the Trainee Resident Director course at the King’s Head Theatre, where she is now a Junior Associate. In 2019, Eloïse was awarded Project Phakama’s Young Artist Bursary. Eloïse has directed and assistant directed at venues of different scales across the UK, including the Arcola Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre and the Southbank Centre; and her work has been deemed ‘Incredibly compelling(The Guardian) and 'memorable and bold' (The Reviews Hub). Since becoming a member of The Bach Choir in 2017, Eloïse has led their Creative Group, producing a series of innovative performances that used mixed media, including dialogue and BSL, to create original concert experiences, which attract diverse audiences. Following a sell-out run at this year's Vault Festival with Healing King Herod, a one person clown drag show, directed by Eloïse and co-written with performer Riss Obolensky, the duo are making plans for a run at this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival. Eloïse is thrilled to be working with this dynamic team of artists on The Lapwing Act, bringing to life a valuable and compelling nature story, told through people's eyes. 

Anthony has been the Co-Artistic Director of The Playground Theatre since it opened in 2017, where his directing credits include: Gregory EvansShirleymander with Jessica Martin, James Purdy’s ghost tale The Paradise Circus with Sophie Ward and Tim Woodward, The UK Premiere of The Jazz Age by Allan Knee (Finding Neverland) with Hannah Tointon, a new opera Army of Lovers composed by Mark Springer, and a new ballet The Great Bear written by Olly Williams with the Louisville Ballet. Previously, Anthony was AD of Jermyn Street Theatre for five year (Fringe Theatre of the year - Stage Awards) and has directed on the fringe, in regional theatre, the West End and off-Broadway.

Jack Anthony Taylor is a practicing multi-disciplinary artist working with and combining: sculpture, mask making, photography and painting. He has worked on various film projects and radio productions, including the BBC Radio 4 lockdown hit, 'Happy Little Trees', a documentary about: Millennials, Mental Health and Bob Ross.
In 2015, his work was shortlisted for Worshipful Company of Painters and Stainers.

His work has recently been exhibited at the
Saatchi Gallery and was shortlisted for the Martin Millers Gin Priz.

He currently works in a warehouse studio in King's Cross, in among wet fish storage units. His days begin early with the vans rolling out to Billingsgate beneath his window. 

Dom Bouffard is an Anglo-French performer-composer and inter-disciplinary artist, who’s work focuses on experimental approaches and surround sound.

His work intersects performance, installation, drawing and sculpture and has been staged internationally. From his roots in alternative rock bands Sona Fariq and Queen Adreena, he has worked extensively in experimental theatre and contemporary dance, collaborating with artists including Robert Wilson, Victoria Chaplin, Lou Reed, Coco Rosie and cutting-edge performance makers such as Parisian director Charles Chemin and Athens choreographer Marianna Kavallieratos.

His work has been performed by major interpreters including Sergio Sorrentino and Ludi Quartet, exhibited in the Musée du Louvre and nominated for the prestigious Kriegsblinden and Karl-Sczuka prizes for radio art. 

Matt Feldman is an award-winning artist and filmmaker living and working in London.

His practice often responds to specific geographies through installations that incorporate 16mm film, sculpture, and sound. By hybridising documentary, diary, and abstraction his work seeks to unpack the political and ecological concerns of particular landscapes.

His works have been exhibited internationally at a variety of film festivals including Film Diary NYC at the Millennium Film Workshop and CICLOPE at Cinema Sāo Jorge in Lisbon. His most recent exhibition Strange Phenomena, completed during his residency with Eastcheap Projects in Letchworth Garden City, investigates the Letchwroth’s history as a hub for the Theosophical Society and their impact on the broader Garden City Movement.

Praise for In Search of One Last Song:

‘A treasury of a book … filled with beautiful moments, amazing and sometimes rather surprising characters, and, if we could only learn from them, reasons for hope.’
- John Burnside, New Statesman

'It's a delight to jump into this slightly strange parallel world. Galbraith is such an able communicator of its weirdness, that it is a pleasure to go along for the ride’
- The Times

‘In terms of both scope and execution, this book is a hugely impressive achievement, and it will be fascinating to see where Galbraith goes from here.’
- The Scotsman

‘One of the great oral histories of British nature and the British countryside … Sad and honest and important and often very funny’
- Richard Smyth, Review 31

"A sterling piece of journalism and a funny, warm study of people who don't often make the headlines. It's the editor's book of the year".
- Charlie Baker, The Fence

- Jamie Blackett, Country Life

‘Galbraith’s writing is beautiful … In Search of One Last Song feels like an important step in the right direction’
- Stephen Rutt, British Birds

‘The birds come to life in his fine writing’
- Helen Bynum, Literary Review

‘Galbraith combines the ability to write lyrically with a formidable grasp of his subject’
- The Week

‘Patrick Galbraith’s engaging debut volume will appeal to the layman as much as to the committed naturalist, being a quirkily enjoyable journey through a slightly nether worldly version of Britain.’
- David Profumo, The Critic

‘The writing is strong, the book an impressive debut, establishing Galbraith as a quality writer.’
- Tim Dee, Caught by the River ​​

‘The best book on conservation and the countryside I have read in years’
- John Lewis-Stempel

‘Beautifully written and earthy’
- Philip Womack, The London Magazine   
We are also very excited to host the poets Tom Pickard and Emily Oldfield and Katrina Porteous; author and academic, Noreen Masud; and author and critic, Richard Smyth, who will be discussing, variously, place writing, poetry, packhorse trails and Pennines cuisine with Patrick Galbraith after the performances. 
Richard Smyth is a writer and critic. His books include An Indifference Of Birds and the novel The Woodcock. His new book, The Jay, The Beech And The Limpetshell, explores the relationship between children and the living planet (starting with his own young family). He also writes on books, nature and culture for The New Statesman, Prospect, Aeon, The TLS, Literary Review and New Scientist, among others.

Noreen Masud is a lecturer in twentieth century literature at the University of Bristol, and an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker who has shared her research on BBC Radio 3. In writing A Flat Place, she walked through the flat landscapes of Orford Ness, Morecambe Bay, Orkney, the Moors of Newcastle and the Fens. A Flat Place is her first trade book.  

Tom Pickard born illegitimate as Thomas McKenna, in Tyneside in 1946, labelled educationally ‘sub-normal’, and leaving school at 14, Tom Pickard went on to become one of the initiators of the British Poetry Revival. Tom has written sixteen books of poetry, prose and oral history. He has written a play, Squire (BBCtv), worked as bookdealer, a stone dyker, and a documentary director for Channel 4. Tom has worked with Paul McCartney, John Harle, Ben Murray and collaborated with many other musicians. Tom has toured the USA, coast to coast, several times. He was a finalist in the National Book Critics Circle Award 2007 for Ballad of Jamie Allen.  

NY Film & Television awards: Gold Medal, best performing art series.
NY Times:
listed in best ten poetry books 2017.
Sunday Times: “one of our most skilful lyric poets”

LA Review of Books: “precise, austere, rooted in the wildness of a frontier locale”.

Books in print: Hoyoot, collected poems and songs (Carcanet), Winter Migrants (Carcanet), Scribblyjack (SoundEye-Cork).  

Emily Oldfield Born in Burnley in 1995, raised largely in Rossendale (Lancashire) and now living in Todmorden (West Yorkshire), Emily Oldfield is a writer who has been long-interested in the edgeland spaces and hidden histories of these Northern English counties.

She is in the process of writing Scraps (due to be published by Saturday Boy), a book following her walking journey along a series of historic routes through this part of the country and the food culture and customs along the way.

She also was part of Penned in the Margin’s Edgelandia series with her project ‘Winter Hill’, exploring this part of the West Pennines and the 1896 Mass Trespass through a multi-media response and range of collaborations.

In 2022, a series of pieces titled ‘Minor Moorland Roads’ was published on the website Elsewhere: A Journal of Place following her creative journeys along these now largely obscure routes.

Emily is also a poet and spoken-word artist, with material recently released on a compilation by Folklore Tapes. Calder is her latest poetry pamphlet (published March 2023 by Poetry Salzburg), exploring the landscapes, communities and folklore of Yorkshire, particularly the Upper Calder Valley. Her debut Grit was published in 2020 (also with Poetry Salzburg), exploring the Rossendale Valley, where she grew up. 

Katrina Porteous is a poet, historian and broadcaster, specialising in work on the theme of ‘nature’ in its widest sense, and ‘place’ in its deepest.

She has lived on the Northumberland coast since 1987 and is best-known for her innovative radio-poetry, which has been described by BBC Senior Producer Julian May as ‘extending the boundaries of the genre’. Her 2014 collection, Two Countries (Bloodaxe Books), was shortlisted for the Portico Prize and described as ‘one of the most distinctive and important collections of the year’ (Morning Star).

Her most recent full collection, Edge (Bloodaxe Books, 2019) draws on her long involvement in scientific projects. In 2021 she was one of the Society of Authors’ Cholmondeley Award winners for Poetry.

Katrina is President of the Northumbrian Language Society and the Coble and Keelboat Society. She is a particularly strong performer of her own work, and has collaborated with both traditional and electronic musicians, from the late computer music pioneer Peter Zinovieff to leading Northumbrian piper Chris Ormston.  

Jack at Work
For more information about the venue, how to get here and FAQ's please see our your-visit page.
10-12 MAY | 7.30pm 

Wednesday 10th
Tom Pickard and Emily Oldfield

Thursday 11th

Noreen Masud

Friday 12th

Richard Smyth and Katrina Porteous
Tickets (All unreserved)

General Admission

Concession £18

Access for All £18 
Note: Please contact boxoffice@theplaygroundtheatre.london to let us know on your access requirement

Tenner £10
limited to 10 tickets per show
This project is fully supported by Ambassadeurs Group