One Small Bird

Ballad of the Red-necked Phalarope 28 Jun 2022 - 30 Jun 2022

by Kate Stilitz & Jilly Jarman

Presented by the Minack Theatre and Cornwall Music Service Trust
and performed by students from the following schools:

28th June

  • St Maddern’s C of E School
  • St Mary’s C of E School
  • Ludgvan School
  • St Hilary School
  • St Levan Primary School

30th June

  • Nancledra Primary School
  • Mousehole Primary School
  • Trythall Community Primary School
  • Pencoys Primary School

with choirs from Cape Cornwall School and Humphry Davy School, members of the Cornwall Youth Chamber Choir and dancers from The Lockwood Urban Dance and Theatre School

A song cycle inspired by the RSPB’s 2014 discovery of the migratory route of one of Britain’s rarest birds, the red-necked phalarope.

Facing huge obstacles, this tiny creature which weighs no more than a packet of crisps, successfully crosses the Atlantic between Shetland and Peru every year. It passes through environments as diverse and challenging as the icy regions of the north and the storms of the Caribbean.

This little bird’s journey tells an inspiring story about strength and resilience in the face of harsh conditions, and of the unstoppable drive for survival among earth’s creatures.

One Small Bird has been performed by young people and community groups across Britain and we are thrilled to share this extraordinary story with you at the Minack, through the voices of the children of Cornwall.

Kate Stilitz

Kate is a composer, theatre director, workshop leader and teacher specialising in creating new musical works for young people.

Kate trains teachers and runs school and community-based projects for young people and intergenerational groups across Britain. Over the past six years, she has developed several projects which have provided an opportunity for children across Britain to connect with stories from the natural world through music and the arts. Her song cycles Meadowsong, and One Small Bird (co-composed with Jilly Jarman) were commissioned by Haringey. Both projects culminated in performances at the Royal Albert Hall by choirs of 2000 young singers and instrumentalists. One Small Bird Projects have since taken place in North-East Cumbria and South Lakes. In 2019, she collaborated with the RSPB at the Shetland Nature Festival, running a week-long One Small Bird project involving young people, their parents and local musicians culminating in a performance at the Mareel Arts Centre in Lerwick.

Kate is currently collaborating with the RSPB and WWF on the next stage of the Meadowsong project, working with schools and training primary teachers across Britain to deliver a nature-rich curriculum celebrating the wonders of wildflower habitats through outdoor learning, the Arts, Science and English.

Jilly Jarman

Jilly is a composer and improvising jazz musician, artist and film-maker. Based in Cumbria since 2000, she is founder and Creative Director of BlueJam Arts (

Jilly has written loads of tunes for schools and community choirs which are free to use and popular around the UK. She has also been commissioned to write for festivals and events. She also has a body of jazz/folk/electronic music which she enjoys reworking and adding to with various combinations of generous improvising musicians.

She is lucky to have access to some wonderful artists and instruments through BlueJam Arts including "Dwi Gambira Sari", a fantastic bronze gamelan, a full samba band, stone lithophones, vocalists and found-sound artists, and is currently collaborating on soundtracks for a series of short films looking at place and reminiscence.
Jilly Jarman - YouTube
BlueJam Arts - YouTube

"Founded in 2002, BlueJam is an innovative community music and arts organisation who run a full programme of inclusive creative workshops, training, and professional and community performance activities and events. Directed by Jilly Jarman, we initiate and collaborate on music, film, performance and digital art-centred work, which we deliver through sessions in the community, in schools and at our Art Space in central Penrith. Our specialism is improvisation, which we pursue through jazz workshops and performances, and also use as a discipline to inform the way we deliver programmes and structure groups. We offer practical creative work experience, volunteering, and training opportunities for young people and adults, in both creative and technical disciplines."