Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

One summer’s day I overheard 
a mighty war of words disturb 
a peaceful & secluded dale; 
between an Owl & Nightingale 

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage's witty and enchanting version of The Owl and the Nightingale was published in 2021 and is based on a traditional Middle English debate poem in which two birds engage in a fierce verbal contest to prove which is the superior bird.

Performed live on stage, this concert features Simon Armitage as narrator and two actors as the eponymous birds whose argument moves entertainingly from the eloquent and philosophical to the ribald, risqué, and ridiculous! This special performance includes avian-inspired, and argumentative music by Janiquin, Couperin, Watkins, Vasks and Vivaldi performed by City of London Sinfonia.

Touching on universal themes such as competition, the importance of beauty, and what constitutes a valuable contribution to society, Armitage's retelling of The Owl and the Nightingale is as pertinent today as when it was first published.

Presented by City of London Sinfonia in association with Faber Members.


Poet Laureate Simon Armitage narrator
Jenifer Toksvig director
Alexandra Wood director
City of London Sinfonia


The Owl and the Nightingale

Booking information

Prices and discounts

Standard: £36, £24, £15
Concessions: 25% off

Tickets on sale soon. You can register your interest here.