How to film The Linden Tree

This is a text-based guide for how to create and share your photos and videos for The Linden Tree. You can also check out our video-based guide here.


Hi guys, I’m Freya and I’ve been asked to direct The Linden Tree for online release. Although we may be separated by many miles, I love that we can still come together to create work. To do this, I’m going to set you some simple tasks: some can be done at home and some can be done outside.

Our idea

Schubert’s song cycle follows a wandering protagonist who has left his home after the woman he loves marries someone else. His journey is a sad and lonely one but he hears the call of the linden tree offering him peace and solace.

But still your leaves were whispering
They sang their siren song:
‘Come back to me and rest here
For here’s where you belong.’

The characters we play understand the path he has trodden and sing with empathy and solidarity. We’ve been in his shoes and will meet him at the Linden Tree when he is ready to return.


So that we all look like we belong in the same video, we would like you to wear clothes in greys, blacks, browns, blues, creams and peaches. Please don’t go out and buy anything – just use what you have available. Here are some examples:

Tasks Overview

I would like you to try and capture some video and photography footage for me. This can be done on your phone or with a camera.
For those of you that can, I would like you to be sitting or standing with your back to a tree for these tasks.
If you can’t get out or don’t have access to a tree – could you find a pot plant to put behind you? Or some leafy wallpaper/curtains?

Checklist For Filming

  1. Check your background and make sure you’re happy with it. Could you move the camera a bit and get a better shot?
  2. Check you are well lit and that there are no obvious shadows on you. Do you need to turn on a light? Have you picked a good time of day?
  3. Make sure your photo is in landscape and not portrait: hold your phone horizontally and not vertically.

Task one: Video Portraits

Step 1 Find your background.
A tree in a local park or woods, somewhere in your garden or something green in your own home. Make sure you have good enough lighting to be seen and that you are happy with what else can be seen in the photo.

Step 2 Get your camera ready
Filming in landscape with your back to a tree or pot plant, I would like you to film some ten second clips. Your posture should be still: the focus is on your face. Remember: Try to keep the camera as still as you can.

Step 3 Take Your Videos

  • Take a 10s video of yourself looking at the camera with a neutral expression.
  • Take a 10s video of yourself looking at the camera with a smiling expression.
  • Take a 10s video of yourself looking at the camera. In the middle of the video say the words “You’ll find your peace in me”. If you can sing them as we do in the song, even better!

Task two: Leaf Messages

Step 1 Find a leaf
Find a leaf to use. It could be from the park, garden, street, a pot plant or get creative and make one out of paper!

Step 2 Write on your leaf
Write a message to our protagonist on the leaf. If you can think of your own message of support then write that. Otherwise please write one of the following:

  • Come back to me and rest here
  • For here’s where you belong.
  • Come back
  • Rest here
  • You belong

Step 3 Photograph Your Message
Find a nice plain background. This can be outside or inside. Take a photo of your leaf making sure we can see the message.

Step 4 Add yourself to the picture

Take a photograph of yourself holding the leaf. I’d like to see the leaf close up but some of your face behind it. Make sure you’re happy with the background for this. It would be great if these can be done outside or by a window.

Step 5 Film The leaf getting closer to the camera

In the same place as you took your photograph in step 4, make a 10s video. Start with the leaf further away and slowly move it towards the camera (you may need a buddy for this!).

Check out all our leaf message examples in this video:

Extra Tasks

If you’ve found those tasks easy and enjoyed them, we’d love your help with these extra tasks.

Tree Portraits

Take a photograph of the tree you sat back to back with. This might be a close up or a distant shot.

Look Up and see the sky

Take a photo of the sky through the branches of a tree.

Tree Carvings

If you see any carvings of messages in trees take a photo of these. Please make sure the messages are family friendly

  • Please don’t harm any trees in the making of this production!

Blow A Leaf Out The Window

Anyone with a buddy? Try getting them to film you as you blow a leaf out an open window. Check out our video on how to do this.

Anyone with a buddy? Try getting them to film you as you blow a leaf out an open window. Check out our video on how to do this.

How to share your files with us

Once you’ve got all the photos and videos you want to submit, you can do so using the WeTransfer website. Here’s a short tutorial about how to do this:

Thank you!

We are so looking forward to your contributions.

If you wish to discuss these tasks, join us for our Digital Tea Break on Zoom with Freya Wynn-Jones on Tuesday 7 July at 12:00 noon. We will publish the details in the We are Streetwise Opera group on Facebook.

If you are struggling with any of the tasks, or just want a bit of help, remember to get in touch with your local support worker.

You can find a video-based version of this guide here.