Telling the Bees (2017-18)

Performance, Cryptic Nights, CCA, Glasgow

& Into The New festival, Pearce Institute, Glasgow and other venues.

Telling the Bees is an exploration of the interspecies relationship between human and bee, representing a microcosm of the current global ecological crisis. 

The project is underpinned by a variety of research, including entomological and environmental studies, and social history.

In Northern European mythology, the honeybee was a messenger between our world and the spirit realm and it was associated with mystical wisdom. For centuries, beekeepers across Europe have preserved this ancient conception of honeybees as messengers through the tradition of 'telling the bees’.

Historically, this is where the beekeeper would inform their bees of family news in the household. New births, marriages and especially deaths were marked by decorating the hive and telling the bees what had happened.

Now, bees have become an endangered species and therefore, as a gesture towards the importance of biodiversity and sustainable co-existence, Telling the Bees is a speculative meditation on how to care for the bond between humans and bees.  

Photographs taken by Julia Bauer, Julie Sparsø Damkjær, Neil Jarvie and Urška Preis



Telling the Bees was an exquisite reminder of how much mankind depends on the bees that his very actions are endangering. Music, in song and on harp, underpinned sequences of movement reminiscent of the dances bees use to communicate with each other… Epic and stunning.

-     Mary Brennan, The Herald


Supported by:

Scottish Beekeepers Association

Concept & direction:

Maria Braender


Ana Carolina Cunha Marcelino, Claus Otto, Julie Sparsø Damkjær, Kim B. Kjaerhus, Maria Braender and Urška Preis


Cryptic (2018)

Light design:

Jazz Hurtsby and Maria Braender


John Lemke, Ana Carolina Cunha Marcelino and Urška Preis

Performers (2018):

Claus Otto, John Lemke, Julie Sparsø Damkjær, Maria Braender and Urška Preis

Set design and costumes: 

Stine Brinkløv and Maria Braender


Kenny Christie and John Pooley (CCA, 2018)