Artist Tom Bailey announces walk across Scotland, Norway and Denmark in response to the challenges of green theatre touring

In response to the challenges of touring performance in an environmentally sustainable way, Tom Bailey – theatre maker and creative director of Herald Angel award-winning theatre company Mechanimal – will be touring on foot and ferry across Scotland, Norway and Denmark to perform new theatre show Crap At Animals at Passage Festival near Copenhagen. Over the course of two months, Tom will be following past, present and future boreal ‘treelines’ (that were common across Scotland and are still abundant throughout the Nordic regions) to better understand the landscape shifting North due to climate change. As the planet heats up with global warming, the huge boreal forest biome (spreading from Russian to Norway to Canada) is moving northward into the Arctic region. The whole forest is migrating northwards, year by year. Walking through these present forests, and past and future ‘ghost’ forests, he’ll be documenting the walk through imagery, writing and vlogging to create a new digital artwork of his journey.

Throughout the walk, Bailey will be wild-camping in ‘right to roam’ areas, carrying not only his own gear, but also a large piece of fabric containing a list of 44,000 extinct and endangered species on the IUCN Red List that he will display poignantly across various landscapes on his journey. (IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a global charity mapping the state of the world’s biodiversity). Tom will be walking over 800km, while added sea journeys make the distance over double that. People he meets along the way will be invited to make personal imprints on this fabric  – contrasting the bleak past and present of species extinction, with feelings and hopes for the future. Bailey is also using the walk as an opportunity to raise money for a cause close to his heart – Flynne’s Barn, a retreat centre for young people experiencing cancer treatment.

From Scotland’s deforested, scarred landscapes to south Norway’s abundant forests, Tom will trace past, present and future treelines of boreal forests while picking up and spreading seeds methodically and rhythmically as part of the artwork.  In his characteristic performance style, the walk will be playfully themed as echoing journeys of Paleolithic hunter gatherers at the retreat of the last ice age, a clown-esque nomadic work of art that is both stupid and serious.

At the heart of the walking tour is Crap At Animals, a brand new intimate, outdoor work about species and our relationships to them, offering audiences a playful, poignant space to meditate and explore the current mass extinction that’s happening. Co-commissioned by Without Walls and Norfolk & Norwich Festival, and a sequel to Edinburgh Fringe 2019 hit Vigil, the show blends clowning and physical theatre to introduce audiences into a bonkers big world of currently extinct and endangered species, as one man attempts heroically and fails epically to do the impressions of 44,000 listed animals.

Mechanimal’s 2019 Edinburgh Fringe hit Vigil will also be making a comeback to this year’s Fringe for a limited five day run 20th – 25th August at Zoo Venues Main House. One human attempts to perform 26,000 other species in the space of an hour, blending projection design from Limbic Cinema, movement, fooling, poetry and a stunning soundscape, in a wildly playful, tragicomic exploration of life in an age of extinction.

Tom Bailey said, “When the company made Vigil just before the pandemic, the list of extinct and endangered species was 26,000 long. Following the pandemic it leapt to 44,000 long. I wanted to make a show that responded to this sad fact. The need to explore the mad and beautiful biodiversity that’s vanishing on this planet feels even stronger now. Equally, I feel that climate change heralds a massive shift in the way that we make and tour creative work in the Anthropocene. This journey looks to ask some of those questions. One of the things I’m looking to explore is – what happens if the touring of human artwork can take inspiration and learning from the way that nature travels – for instance, migration pathways of other species?”

Mechanimal is a Herald Angel award-winning company that creates devised theatre and immersive installations. It’s led by Tom Bailey. Each project involves collaboration with a range of different artists and researchers. The company makes touring performance that explores life on a changing planet. Based in Bristol, England, Mechanimal currently tours performances both nationally and internationally.

@MechAnimalCo | #MechanimalWalkingTour #CrapAtAnimals | 

The walking/sailing Route (Subject To Change)

  • Start in South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.
  • Walk and island hop up to Harris/Lewis
  • Ferry to mainland Scotland, Ullapool
  • Walk up over the far north of mainland Scotland to Thurso
  • Ferry to Orkney. Walk Orkney
  • Ferry to Shetland Islands
  • Ferry Shetland to Bergen.
  • Walk from Bergen to Oslo.
  • Ferry Oslo to Denmark, to deliver the show

Listings Information for Crap At Animals

*Press welcome to all performances


11 & 12 May Norwich and Norfolk Festival’s Welcome Weekend

1pm, 5pm | FREE | 01603 531800


1 – 3 Aug Passage Festival, Denmark

Time TBC | FREE | +45 53860811


31 Aug & 1 Sep Greenwich + Docklands International Festival

Time TBC | FREE | 020 8269 4799


Listings Information for Vigil


20 – 25 Aug Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2024 

Zoo Venues Southside  | 12.30pm | Various prices | 0131 226 0026


Social media

Twitter:   @MechAnimalCo

Instagram:   @_mechanimal_

Written by Theatrefullstop