Into the Cuckoo’s Nest

Client: Lepus Productions

“Give me a girl that will wriggle and will twist; At the bottom of the belly lies the cuckoo’s nest”

An intimate show about intimate places in folk song

Project Weblink:

Martin Green (of Lau and Flit) is a true maverick (as the Lau website has it a brilliant musician, thrilling performer, a free thinking visionary and all round good chap)

And Into the Cuckoo’s Nest demonstrates that brilliantly. Martin is working with world-class folk musicians (including Brighde Chaimbeul on pipes) and performance makers, in examining the euphemism, the cuckoo itself and the folklore around it.

An intimate show about intimate places in folk song

Part performance, part documentary, part immersive theatre Martin Green (LAU) leads a crew of world class folk musicians, theatre performers, film makers and naturalists in examining the euphemism, the cuckoo itself and the folk lore around it.

Tales from Ireland, Dartmoor, ancient Greece and the natural world all play a role in what they discover, part dissection of gender in folk song, part journey into hypnotic rituals and the nature of human behaviour.

The creative team (see below) includes world class folk musicians with BAFTA award winning film makers and award winning immersive theatre makers creating a genre defying mix of folk music, film and theatre.

“I see it in your eyes and it fills me with surprise
That your inclination lies in my cuckoo’s nest.”

There’s an early opportunity to catch a glimpse of Into the Cuckoo’s Nest at this year’s SPILL FESTIVAL, where the company will be in residence.  As well as doing the next stage of development on Cuckoo we will also be presenting a Cuckoo themed concert on Friday 26th October (tickets at the bargain price of £10 are available from here) and sharing open rehearsals (Sunday 28-Tuesday 30 October).  You can sign up for the open rehearsals by following this link here

What we are looking for: Co-commissioning partners

Festival and similar large scale events interested in a unique intimate performance which combines camp fires and folk with intimate performance.

The Creative Team

Martin Green (lead artist, composer, performer)

Alongside Aidan O’Rourke and Kris Drever, Green formed Lau in 2005. The folk trio have (so far) won  Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards four times.  Since 2003 Green has been developing his solo career as a composer and has received a string of commissions, most significantly his theatrical song cycle Crows’ Bones for Opera North in 2012/13. In 2015 Green was commissioned to write music and create a new noise device by the Kronos Quartet. The new piece of music, Seiche, was performed on the Kronos Quartet’s UK tour in 2016.  

 Martin formed LEPUS productions in 2015 as a vehicle for his own work. Green began work on Flit in 2016, a new production created in collaboration with BAFTA-winning animators Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson of whiterobot. Flit featured musicians  Adrian Utley, Dominic Aitchison, Becky Unthank and Adam Holmes.  Flit was shortlisted for Best Album, and Best Original Track at the 2017 BBC Folk Awards 

Brighde Chaimbeul (Pipes)

Growing up in a musical family in Sleat on the Isle of Skye, Brighde was no stranger to the sound of the pipes, and indeed the sound of music at home. Inspired by hearing the playing of Rona Lightfoot she began learning at the age of 7 with local tutor and award winning piper Niall Stewart.

Brighde met pipe makers, players and revivalists Fin and Hamish Moore in 2014 where she was introduced to the smallpipes, and since has developed a unique style which has captured audiences across the globe. Mark Radcliffe of BBC Radio 2 described her playing as “mesmerising”, and Tim Chipping of renowned music magazine, fRoots as “exceptional”.  

 Winner of the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and 2017 Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Up and Coming’ nominee, Skye musician and piper Brighde Chaimbeul is one of Scotland’s fastest rising stars. She has collaborated with many established artists, most recently including Ross Ainslie, Aidan O Rourke, John McSherry, Carlos Nunez and Allan MacDonald.  

Recent performance highlights include appearances at major festivals including Cambridge Folk Festival, Celtic Connections, Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, Piping Live and Wickham Festival, as well as featuring on various TV programmes, series Port, Seirm, Trad ar Fad and the BBC Alba Hogmanay show.  

Sophie Bortolussi ( )

Sophie Bortolussi is a French choreographer, dancer and director based in New York City. She is currently internationally touring “Home”, the latest show of theatre extraordinaire Geoff Sobelle, and in research and development for “God’s fool” by Martha Clarke.  She was the director and choreographer of the special events at the McKittrick Hotel, home of “Sleep No More” in NYC in 2016 and 2017. She recently presented her work “One-in-Themselves” at La Mama in NYC. She directed and choreographed the critically acclaimed  Wilderness’ production “The Day Shall Declare It” in LA and London for which she was won the 2017 Stage Raw Theatre Awars for “Best Choreography” and nominated for a 2015 Ovation Award.  

Sophie played the lead role of Wendy in Punchdrunk’s latest production “The drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable” at the National Theater in London. Her performance was nominated for the 2013 UK Broadway World Award for “Best leading actress in a new production of a play” together with Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas and Natalie Chancellor. She also played the role of Lady Macbeth in Punchdrunk’s production “Sleep No More” for which she was awarded the 2011 World Falstaff Award for “Best Principal Performance”. 

Sophie also worked on multiple projects with Martha Clarke, including “The Threepenny Opera”, “Garden of Earthly Delights”, “Kaos”, “Angel Reapers” and was a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company.  

Sophie is a 2015 graduate from the School Of Body Mind Centering® as a Somatic Movement Educator and also has a degree in Philosophy from Paris 8 University, France.  

Rob McNeil

After graduating from LabanTrinity in 2003, Rob began working with Punchdrunk; devising, creating, teaching and performing on many works with the company, including: Sleep No More, The Firebird Ball, Faust, Mask of the Red Death, The Duchess of Malfi and most recently ‘The Drowned Man’. 

As a freelance Dancer and Actor he has performed for many Directors and Choreographers in the UK and internationally across Theatre, Opera, Dance and Film. Credits include: National Theatre; The Young Vic; Sadlers Wells; Glyndebourne Opera Festival; English National Opera, Royal Opera House, Regents Park Theatre, American Repertory Theatre and others. Film credits include: ’28 Weeks Later’ (2005); ‘Sweeney Todd’ (2007), ‘Anna Karenina’ (2012) and ‘Mary Queen of Scots (2017) 

His own work is a mix of Curation, Choreography and Direction, in 2010 he choreographed ‘Les Enfants Terribles’, A Dance Opera by Phillip Glass for 4 dancers 4 singers and 3 pianos at the Arcola Theatre. In 2015 he worked alongside Sophie Bortolussi for the new inflight safety film for American Airlines. 

In 2011 he was appointed Artistic Director of arts organisation Stream Arts, curating artists working with technology based practice. In 2013 Stream completed leading a successful EU Culture programme of collaboration with partners in Finland, Hungary and the UK for the company, involving work of over 50 + artists in 3 capital cities. 

WhiteRobot (

BAFTA-winning animators whiterobot (Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson) together with film director Ruth Paxtonare providing the projects accompanying films, some of which are integrated into the performance. 

 Will Anderson is a BAFTA winning Writer/Director from the Scottish Highlands. Will’s first short film ‘The Making of Longbird’ won over 30 awards internationally at film festivals & received a British Academy Award in 2013. Since then he has written and directed other shorts films including ‘Monkey Love Experiments’ with co-director, Ainslie Henderson, and is currently developing a feature project. 

Ainslie Henderson 

Ainslie Henderson is a writer/director/animator/who in, 2012 was awarded a BAFTA for his  co-writing of ‘The making of Longbird’ Ainslie’s films “I Am Tom Moody” and “Monkey Love  Experiments” were both BAFTA nominated, and have won over 60 international festival awards,  including; Best British short at Encounters, Disney, best student film at Ottawa, the special jury  crystal at Annecy and Edinburgh International film festival’s McLaren award. Ainslie has a particular love for stop frame animation and is currently freelancing in Edinburgh. 


Ruth Paxton is a filmmaker named in Canongate’s FUTURE 40, a list of storytellers anticipated to dominate the next 40 years of creative life in Scotland.  Her award-winning short films have been exhibited and nominated in competition at numerous international events and prominent film festivals.  Short drama PARIS/SEXY won the UK Film Council’s award for Best British Short at the 2011 London Short Film Festival and Paxton won Best Woman Director at the same festival in 2015 for her film, PULSE.  Recently selected for Guiding Lights 8, the UK’s most prestigious professional mentoring scheme and has the great fortune to be mentored by Christopher Hampton. She was also part of BFI NETWORK’s development programme during London Film Festival 2017.     

She’s been participant of the Toronto Talent Lab, EIFF Talent Lab, Wellcome Trust’s Ideas Lab, CPH:PIX Sessions, British Council’s Film and Music Archive Lab in association with PRS for Music Foundation, BFI and Manchester’s HOME, and also jury member at Ukraine’s Wiz-Art International Short Film Fesgival.  In 2014 Paxton was Artist in Residence at the Cucalorus Film Foundation in NC, USA. 

Other commissions include BAROQUE for Milan’s Festival Delle Lettere, ROCKHAVEN for the Royal Philharmonic Society and NEVADA, commissioned and featuring music by folk trio, LAU.   In 2018, she will shoot a short horror BE STILL MY BEATING HEART, commissioned for production via BBC Films and SFTN, produced by BFI Vision Award recipients, barry crerar with whom she is developing her feature, FIFTEEN WOLVES.  

This year Ruth will Design and part Produce Maja Borg’s feature dramatic documentary, PASSION.  And is delighted to be collaborating with her brother, filmaker Louis Paxton on a short film he’s written and will direct called APEX OF MAN, which Ruth will co-produce.  She is commissioned to work with Martin Green’s Lepus Productions for a filmic element to his latest theatrical production, INTO THE CUCKOO’S NEST.  And is also due to direct the perfomance of a 360 VR piece with producer Ashley MacPherson and BBC Scotland, viscerally examining the nature of panic attacks.   

A professional mentor with Raindance and International MA film programme students, and visiting lecturor at Screen Academy Scotland.  Ruth has recently begun making commercial work with leading Scottish company, Mallinson Television Productions.  And is represented by Mark Casarotto of Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.   

Maddy Prior (guest vocalist)

Over fifty years from her first appearance on the late sixties folk club circuit, Maddy Prior is one of the most enduring, influential and respected artists in British music.  

Born in Blackpool, and raised in St.Albans, Maddy first came to prominence as a duo with singer/ guitarist Tim Hart, building a reputation around the folk clubs and releasing two albums. As a new decade dawned, they joined forces with Ashley Hutchings (of Fairport Convention) with the idea of forming a band to fuse folk song and rock technique. Together with Gay & Terry Woods, the group took its name from traditional Lincolnshire ballad ‘Horkstow Grange’ – the tale of a character called Steeleye Span. 



Further info:

Cuckoo Songs