Conference of the birds

Conference of the Birds is a Sufi poem written in the 12th Century by Persian poet, Farid ud-Din Attar. The poem follows the perilous journey of all of the birds of the world to find their sovereign, the Simorgh. Many of the birds perish along the journey, but those who make it to the end realise that ultimately, they are the masters of their own fate.

Frolicked’s version of Conference of the Birds plays out over a 45 minute performance that is both roaming and static. Five majestic birds operated by four skilled puppeteers interact with the general public (both individually and as a group) using improvisation techniques to respond to their environment and the audience around them. During the show the performers join together in flawless, four part harmony. The narrative of the piece is revealed as the performers wend their way through the landscape, with moments of improvised interaction in response to each individual audience and location.

4 performers
45 minute roaming performance with static elements
Up to twice a day
No spoken words

Each unique performance will loosely follow and be inspired by the events within the poem’s narrative. Established musician and composer, Chris Davies, has created a series of beautiful original songs for our magnificent bird puppets, based on the poem itself and influenced by Persian music, the choral stylings of Roomful of Teeth and bird song taken from recordings of the natural world.

Conference of the Birds is an idea developed from Frolicked’s existing performance piece, ‘The Birds‘. The concept for this new piece is similar in structure, but is a significant development, both narratively and musically, including the creation of five new mid-scale puppets. The music created for the piece is influenced by and is a fusion of world music and sounds, specifically music from both Europe and the Middle East.

Conference of the Birds was commissioned by Spot On Lancashire as part of a series of new works entitled ‘Commissioning New Lancashire’ and has been developed in partnership with Arts Council England, Fylde Borough Council and the Friends of Fairhaven Lake.

Beautiful… It was very moving…

I liked the four of them moving as a little team together. That was beautiful… And then all of us as a little flock behind them.

It was really poignant. I didn’t really understand it, but I was moved by it!

Audience members at Gisburn Forest, Summer 2021

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