Press release: New theatre team inspires green thinking with captivating children’s play

Conversations about sustainability will captivate children across Scotland in Asylon Theatre’s compelling tale about ash-dieback, Fraxi Queen of the Forest. Part-theatre and part-dance, the play tells the story of Fraxi, a winsome ash tree who catches the devastating disease. Through Fraxi’s story we meet other creatures in the forest that depend on ash trees for survival, and are encouraged to think on our own human connection to the forest. At once steeped in ancient British folklore and modern scientific fact, Fraxi shows how central ash trees have been to our environment throughout history. The team will be touring between March and May 2016, visiting a variety of venues including the Borders hub the Catstrand and a selection of Inverness schools.

The play debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, where the team were met with critical acclaim for transforming a scientific narrative into a deeply moving, albeit unlikely, piece of children’s theatre. Shortlisted for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, the surprising topic was also praised by Ian Edwards of the Royal Botanic Gardens, who labelled the piece “poignant” and “beautiful”. Performers Melanie Johnson (Sanitise 2014), Agathe Girard (Jacques Brel: In Song and Dance 2013), and Robin Hellier (Scottish Opera’s La Cenerentola) weave a touching story onstage of friendship, resilience, and the natural world.

Ash-dieback has sparked public concern recently as spates of the deadly fungus have been discovered across the UK. Experts have predicted that 90% of British ash trees will be wiped out within twenty years, which accounts for 20% of all UK trees. Following landmark commitments taken at last December’s Paris summit for increased sustainable action, Asylon Theatre seeks to teach children to recognise early signs of ash-dieback and to consider the importance of trees to our environment. Workshops will also be available with some of the performances, where audiences are invited to reflect on ash-dieback and its effect on British wildlife.

Produced and directed by Asylon Theatre’s artistic director Marta Mari with original music score composed by Greg Sinclair (CATS award winner), and costumes designed by Annie Hiner. Starring: Melanie Jordan (Fringe First Award winner), Robin Hellier, Agathe Girard and Amelia Szypczyńska as a child narrator. Written by Scottish New Playwright Award winner Jack Dickson. Kindly supported by Creative Scotland, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, the Scottish Forestry Trust, Edinburgh Airport, and North Merchiston Club.


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Listings Information

Running time: 1hr

Venue: WHALE Arts
Date/Time: Friday 4 March 16:00
Tickets: Donation

Venue: ONFife – Carnegie Hall
Date/Time: Saturday 5 March 13:30
Tickets: £7.50 (concession £6.00)

Venue: Catstrand
Date/Time: Tuesday 8 March 13:00
Tickets: Free via Schools & CiR Project

Venue: Woodend Barn
Date/Time: Saturday 5 March 13:30 (workshop at 12:00)
Tickets: £5.01 per individual, £3.75 family ticket (4 tickets)

Venue: Summerhall (Edinburgh International Science Festival)
Date/Time: Monday 4 April 14:30
Tickets: £6.00 per individual, £20 family ticket (4 tickets)


Twitter: @AsylonTheatre
For further information, images, or to request a media ticket please contact Marta Mari at or 07903 300 327, or Becca Inglis at or 07522 001 838.