Modern Fairies is a unique collaboration between leading songwriters, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers and researchers to develop exciting new work, presenting fresh perspectives on what folklore means to us in the modern world.

Tales about fairies are usually thought of as the province of children, yet the success of works such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and World of Warcraft proves that the mythical past still holds the power to enthral adult audiences.

Traditional folk tales speak to contemporary concerns and anxieties. These can teach lasting truths about romantic relationships, about exotic strangers and homeliness, stability and risk-taking – the academic and obscure becomes relevant, immediate and vivid.

"The timeless speaks now, through urgent new voices compelling us to listen."

The fantasy of the fairy world offers escape to a place of light and beauty, of endless food and drink, of laughter and happiness, where we can once more find those we thought lost forever. Yet there is a real cost to escape: priorities become skewed, responsibilities ignored, and fairy pleasures have a habit of becoming all-consuming and addictive. The allure draws people away from what is really important into a dangerous world of make-believe.

The Fairy Gatherings breathe new life into less well-known traditional tales. Focussing on the story-world of British folk-tales about fairies and the supernatural, we explore how this material can be re-mediated to be made relevant to modern audiences. The narratives foreground vital modern themes of individual identity and self-determination. Arguing that the vivid dramatisation of timeless and enduring truths about human existence still communicates powerfully today. The timeless speaks now, through urgent new voices compelling us to listen.

Our aims

  • Practice-based research with artists, academics, audiences and performance venues.

  • Surfacing artist and audience experience and knowledge through collaborative creative process.

  • Creating new works within the British fairy world that are meaningful to modern audiences.

  • Interrogating the relationship between ‘art’ and ‘audience’.