“Where can I find a copy of this work?”

There is no complete published copy of Orghast. The work was experimental and it changed constantly as Peter Brook and his company of actors worked with it. There are fragments of text and a detailed description of its use in Orghast at Persepolis, by A.C.H. Smith (Methuen, London, 1972). There is also a sample of text in Ted Hughes: Selected Translations edited by Daniel Weissbort (Faber, London, 2006). (Review)

According to Smith’s book, there was a Rainbow Press limited edition of Orghast published in 1972. However, the bibliography of Ted Hughes’s work compiled by Keith Sagar and Stephen Tabor (Mansell, London, 1998) does not mention it. Olwyn Hughes, who was principally responsible for the Rainbow Press publications, has commented that she “once thought of publishing Orghast”, but she did not do so.

Ted Hughes had very strong views about language and about the primitive roots of language and its connection with music. He discussed these ideas in his essay, ‘Orghast: Talking without Words’(WP 122-7).

Conference of the Birds, by John Heilpern ( Faber, London, 1971. Recently reprinted in paperback) also deals with Peter Brook’s continued work with the Orghast actors and discusses their methods. Hughes was briefly involved with this project, too.

There may also be a few manuscript pages in the Ted Hughes Archive at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

© Ann Skea 2008. For permission to quote any part of this document contact Dr Ann Skea at

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