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We have a brilliant range of activities over all five days, making this an unmissable event for any fans of The Hobbit, Tolkien’s other works (in Middle-earth or elsewhere), and Sir Peter Jackson’s excellent films.

Daytime Events

Charlie Ross

The Return of the Ring isn’t just about scholarly talks and academic panels - that’s not even half the picture! The Return of the Ring is a celebration of Tolkien in its purest sense, which is why we have a veritable smörgåsbord of other activities going on. This includes the following performances:

  • Charlie Ross (pictured right) and his internationally-acclaimed ‘One Man LOTR’ show, a sequel to ‘One Man Star Wars Trilogy’;
  • Performances from Chloë of the Midnight Storytellers of such delights as ‘The Lost Legends of Britain’ and ‘J.R.R.T. Therapy’;
  • International reading session led by Brian Sibley where verses from Tolkien’s works will be spoken in dozens of languages from around the world;
  • Musical, dance and live poetry performances, suitable for seasoned Tolkien fans and much younger fans;
  • Exciting, lively and captivating storytelling that will be a delight for attendees of all ages.
Poster of Born of Hope

And some other activities...

  • Dealers’ room with traders from across Europe coming to sell you their Tolkien ephemera;
  • With all these wonderful authors around, we could’ve let the weekend pass by with out some serious book signings going on;
  • Three different quizzes, with one aimed at children and another by our very own quizmistress Angie Gardner;
  • Screenings of both Born of Hope and The Hunt for Gollum;
  • ‘The March of the Entwives’, a parade of costumes around the Loughborough campus;
  • Walking Tree Publishers’ ‘Arda Slam’ competition where each person has only 10 minutes to speak on any subject of their choosing.

And a tour...

  • A tour of Oxford, with lunch at the Eagle and Child (or Bird and Baby) culminating in Enyalië, the wreath-laying ceremony at Tolkien’s grave.

Not only that, but we have some exciting workshops for you to get stuck into:

  • Participative drama with the Dutch Tolkien Society Unquendor;
  • “Basics of drawing Fantasy” and “From lineart to colour a watercolour demonstration” with Jenny Dolfen
  • Calligraphy - learn to write your own name in Elvish Tengwar;
  • A prosthetics workship with the guys behind The Fellows Hips film;
  • Merry and Pippin’s Dance Workshop - learn to dance as if you were in the Shire!;
  • Learn Quenya, Sindarin, and Elvish pronunciation in our triptych of linguistic workshops.

Art Show and Exhibition

Our art show will be running over the entire duration of the weekend in our light, airy, large exhibition space. Check out our list of guests to see which guests are currently attending and out news page for the latest announcements. So far we can confirm that Ted Nasmith, Cor Blok, Anke Eissmann, Jay Johnstone, Ruth Lacon, Tor Fauskanger, Jenny Dolfen, Maike ‘Lúthien’ Dulk and Sue Wookey will be showing off his artwork in our exclusive exhibition this summer. We believe that this constitutes ones of the largest collections of Tolkien artwork ever.

Tuor Reaches the Hidden City of Gondolin Bilbo finds the Ring
Tuor Reaches the Hidden City of Gondolin by Ted Nasmith Bilbo finds the Ring by Cor Blok
Smaug over the Lonely Mountain Theoden rides out from Helms Deep
Smaug over the Lonely Mountain by Anke Eissmann Theoden rides out from Helms Deep by Jay Johnstone
The Ruin of Isengard Gollum
The Ruin of Isengard by Ruth Lacon Gollum by Tor Fauskanger
Black Despair Gollum
Black Despair by Jenny Dolfen Ai Ithil! Or chth hwiniol by Maike ‘Lúthien’ Dulk
Gandalf His majesty prince Curufin
Gandalf by Sue Wookey His majesty prince Curufin by Catherine Karina Chmiel

Above the exhibition all there is a cosy mezzanine area where we will also be exhibiting:

  • The Tolkien Society’s archives.
  • Talks and Panels

    We have a superb selection of speakers and academics coming from all across the world amounting to (at the most recent count) over 100 hours’ worth of talks in parallel sessions. Click here to view our full timetable.

    With such a wide variety of speakers there will be something here for everyone, particular themes of The Hobbit, fairy-tales, languages and spirituality. Some of the highlights include:

    • Tom Shippey delivering the talk ‘Tolkien on Leadership’;
    • Michael Tolkien tells us about his own writings for children and how they relate to his grandfather’s On Fairy-Stories. He weill also be taking questions from the audience;
    • Professor Martin Barker takes us through his huge Lord of the Rings International Audience Research Project and focuses on the idea of ‘Gollum as a pop culture icon’;
    • Brian Sibley speaking on a subject he knows well: ‘Sibley in Middle-earth, a 30 year ramble’;
    • Dr Mark Atherton, lecturer in Old and Middle English at Oxford University, launching his new book There and Back Again: JRR Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit;
    • Nancy Martsch will be taking us through ‘30 years of Tolkien Fandom’ followed by the Beyond Bree awards.

    This is aside from the numerous and interesting panels:

    Fellowship of the Green Dragon

    We have talked about the Fellowship of the Green Dragon on our guests page, but as they are offering us such a unique experience we felt they deserved their own section on our events page. As you can see below, The Fellowship of the Green Dragon (La Compagnie du Dragon Vert) are a French re-enactment society.

    Rohirrim march through the streets Inside the tents
    Woman playing the flute Two men fighting with swords

    Founded in 2006, they aim to produce a faithful representation of Middle-earth through the methods of classical historical re-enactment. They will be with us for the full five days and they will be contiuously performing with events throughout each and every day as they will be performing - and living in! - their tents pitched up in centre of our conference area. Expect to see their handicrafts, open-air theatre and swordfighting at various points throughout the weekend.

    Evening Activities

    The Return of the Ring doesn’t stop at dinner time - we carry on through into the evening. Not only have we got a private bar, but we’ve got some great events going on:

    Ceilidh - Friday


    On the Friday, we have a Middle-earth Ceilidh. A ceilidh (pronounced kay-li) is a traditional Gaelic gathering of folk music and dancing. To help us celebrate, we’ll have the Celtic folk rockers Tinkerscuss and Metheglin - this is something you cannot miss!

    Costume Masquerade - Saturday

    All our very best costumers will be showing off and exhibiting their beautiful creations for the rest of us to enjoy. We may even get some little sketches from groups of people showing off their costumes.

    After the masquearade, our very own member of Messrs Grubb, Grubb and Burrowes - and The Return of the Ring’s Deputy Chairman - will be conducting an auction of some very precious items to raise money for good hobbity causes.

    If you have any items you would like to donate to the auction, please contact Shaun. To find out more about our auction please click here.

    Banquet - Sunday

    Ever thought, ‘I’d like a party just like Bilbo!’ or ‘Wouldn’t it be good to have a feast just like the elves of Mirkwood?’? Well, now you can! On our Sunday evening we’ll be having a magnificent banquet with as much food as you could possibly dream of.

    Many people will be dressing up for the banquet, but come in whatever feels best! Whilst all this is going on expect to hear music throughout, troubador-style, including a harpist, and performances from The Fellowship of the Green Dragon. How do we fit it all in?

    Note: There is a £40 charge for the banquet as this takes place instead of an evening meal.