Performer / Musician / Sound Artist for WHISTLERS Outdoor Arts Project (Green Carpet Commission)

We are looking for a performer with wide ranging experience to join our team in an exciting European commission, developed through residencies and in relationship to four local communities. There are 3 elements to the role. We’d like these to be taken on by one person ideally but would consider split the role between up to three people.  


Humans are hard-wired to relax when they hear birdsong – the song indicates there are no predators. It’s safe. It’s when the birds stop singing that we need to worry. Recent research demonstrates that1 in 8 bird species are threatened with global extinction. 

The diversity of human languages is also decreasing, with 40% of the world’s languages at risk. There are over 50 places where locals use a whistled form of their spoken language. Once such is Kusköy, the ‘Village of the birds’ where rapid change means that children are no longer whistling.

The project is based around the concept of WHISTERS – a fictitious culture of people who live in the woods, in symbiosis with songbirds and who communicate by whistling. It brings investigates the confluence of bird song, language and the art of listening.


There will be a short R&D period at 101 Outdoor Arts Space, enabling us to develop character behaviour and relationships and make decisions around sound. 


There will be residencies in each of the four locations, where we will develop and test the interactive elements of the performance with local people through workshops. We will further develop the installation and show on site, consolidating the basic structure and discovering the unique nature of each different location. 

We will work with local wildlife experts and community members, to identify and record local bird song to be used in the installation and show elements of the project. 


We will run a durational installation, intersected with 2-3 performances across a day. 

The Installation

You enter a wooded area with a whistle and some simple, written instructions. You hear a bird calling. You call back. They reply. As instructed, you follow the sound and visual leads, calling and listening intermittently, deeper into the woods. You find a bird hide. Inside is someone triggering the bird calls. You record your voice / whistle, adding to a growing chorus. 

The Show

The audience is divided in half and travel to two different areas of the wood. Each group is met by a character in colouful dress, with curious bird-like gestures, who communicates through whistling. The groups learn a number of whistled words, with instruments distributed between them. 

They travel through the trees listening to birdsong (live and recorded) until they reach a designated place. The two groups spot each other and communicate to exchange goods – one has bread, one has water. They come together and a number of fun and flirtatious rituals occur. They become a flock.

They are led to perform our musical composition, repeated as their confidence grows. The pre-recorded sounds merge and gather momentum. The bird song is gradually replaced with noises, of industry, travel, war. A series of loud bangs and a flurry. The audience turn to each other. The characters have disappeared and the birds have stopped singing. 


Working with Paschale Straiton and Kim Tilbrook to create and deliver Whistlers

1. Music Composition

  • Creating a simple piece of music, to be played on bottles and/or whistles, that can be easily taught to and played by non-professionals. 
  • To help source whistles/bottles for this purpose
  • 2 days tbc – deadline 28th March 2020

2. Sound

  • Taking recordings at residencies (tbc)
  • Compiling and editing soundscapes to an agreed brief
  • Advising around touring equipment especially speakers
  • Sharing technical skills amongst the team
  • 4 days within the period 30th March-3rd April 2020

3. Tech Support / Performer 

  • Taking part in a short R&D process to develop characters and storyline
  • Facilitating music/sound workshops during residencies
  • Supporting with other engagement activities in residencies as required
  • Leading on technical installation at each site
  • Playing the part of a Whistler in the show
  • All dates in the timeline except Dorset Residency 30th March-3rd April 2020


  • We will have some recording equipment but the Sound Artist will need your own editing equipment and be able to do this ‘on the road’
  • You must be covered by your own Public Liability Insurance.
  • You must be registered SELF EMPLOYED and liable for any tax and NI that may become payable.
  • Spoken French an advantage


All project dates are inclusive of travel in a van, except for Research and Development dates which are to be confirmed. 

Feb2 days, w/c 17th(tbc)R&D: 101 Creation Space, Newbury (plus travel)
Mar28thWhistle/Bottle Tune Deadline 
 30th – 31stResidency: Dorset 
Apr4th – 11thResidency: Port Saint Louis, France (inc travel)
May28 Apr – 2nd MayResidency: Chassepierre, Belgium
 3rd – 5thRest in France (arranged by company)
 6th – 14thPerformances: Port Saint Louis, France (inc travel)
Aug20th-23rdPerformances: Chassepierre, Belgium (inc travel)
Sep4th-13thResidency and Performances: Amiens, France (inc travel)
 16th-21stPerformances: Dorset (inc travel)


Fees are £150 per day, except £50 for a tour travel day, plus travel, accommodation and subsistence. 


TO APPLY: Please send a CV and a covering letter or sound file, describing why you would like to work with us on this project and describing any relevant experience to

  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday 4th December
  • Shortlist Decision: Friday 6th December
  • Skype Interviews: Tuesday 10thand Wednesday 11thDecember

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