In autumn, Arts and Gardens presented a climbing concert in Epping Forest, where oak trees were transformed and branches became the stage for a performance unlike any other.

Premiering new tree song Epping by Robert Macfarlane with music composed by Oliver Weeks.  A chorus of children, guest soloists, London Forest Choir and Tottenham Community Choir sang to the grand giants of the forest, with works by John Clare, Grace Nichols, Benjamin Zephaniah and Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant.

Sung from the canopies of mature trees, GIANT is the first in a series of ‘climbing concerts’; devised by Arts and Gardens to connect children and young people with arboriculture.  Stay tuned for climbing concerts in October 2020 in Alexandra Palace Park.





Years, Bartholomäus Traubeck

Trees, Pulp

‘The Selfish Giant’, Oscar Wilde

Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Jimmy Kennedy (words) / John Walter (music)

Epping, Robert Macfarlane (words) / Oliver Weeks (music)

Acorn, Robert Macfarlane (words) / Oliver Weeks (music)

‘Hurricane Hits England’, Grace Nichols

 Autumn, John Clare (words) / Oliver Weeks (music)

Chainsaw Song, Molly Hunt and David Antrobus (words) / Oliver Weeks (music)

Trees Please, Benjamin Zephaniah (words) / Sohini Alam & Oliver Weeks (music)

Ombra Mai Fu, from ‘Serse’, Nicolò Minato (words) / George Frideric Handel (music)

Autumn Leaves, Jacques Prévert (French) & Johnny Mercer (English) / Joseph Kosma (music)

Oak and Ash and Thorn, Rudyard Kipling (words) / Peter Bellamy (music)

Ono Shomoy, Moushumi Bhowmik

Conker, Robert Macfarlane (words) / Oliver Weeks (music)

‘Kindness Of Trees’, Jackie Kay



Creative Producer and Concept:  Arts and Gardens

Climbing leadership and logistics: Mark Hawes

Director: David Antrobus

New tree song ‘Epping’ written by: Robert Macfarlane

Composer: Oliver Weeks

Music Director: Tom Appleton

Designer: Samantha Dowson

Movement direction:  Beatrice Perini

Voice: Sohini Alam

Voice: Elenor Bowers-Jolley

Viola:  Anisa Arslanagic

Guitar:  Oliver Weeks

Double Bass:  Ben Heartland

Lighting and sound:  RNSS Ltd.

Children from Selwyn Primary School, Longshaw Primary School, Mission Grove Primary School, St. Mary’s C of E Primary School, St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School

London Forest Choir

Tottenham Community Choir

Special thanks to:

The Great Big Tree Climbing Company, Jacqui Eggleston, Gavin Bodenham, City of London and the generosity and hospitality of the Epping Forest team, Nick Putz, Jonathan Rathbone, George Webster, Nicki Williamson, Matthew Wilson, Cornershop PR, Amy Garfield and all our ‘Legends of the Forest’, Sam Hunt, Abigail Viner, Niccy Halifax and the brilliant marketing, programming and producing teams at Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019!

Ambitious, touching, mesmerizing, challenging.  About time we have excellent work that’s produced just for children.  – Ian Read, Hull Culture Capital

I learnt the name of the trees that we climbed and to trust the tree. – Samuella, singer, 9 years old

The most obscure thing I have seen all year; the children are brilliant. – William, audience

Photos credit: Robert Piwko



Commissioned by Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019


Arts and Gardens is supported by PRS for Music Foundation.