Four players in a complex ecosystem. At the centre, a life-giving tree which holds the others in balance.
Every two minutes, winter returns and the yearly cycle begins again.
Someone holds the trump card that could change everything. 


Known as ‘the tree of life’ in Norse and Celtic mythology, ash trees are a frequent sight in woodland throughout the UK. They provide a perfect habitat for a number of species; the wellbeing of the tree is crucial for  the ecosystem built around it. In 'Ash', SHOAL explore the impact on this ecosystem when a new player, ash dieback, is introduced.

'Ash' is a strategic improvisation. The musical characters each player adopts are informed by the biological features of different species linked to the ash tree. These are selected at random at the start of the performance as players draw cards. One player will also draw the ‘top trump’ card of ash dieback; this can be entered into the game at any point. 

Browse through our musical top trumps cards below as you listen - who drew which card(s) in this recording?