Blog


A Maids’ Eye View of Wolf’s Child

By Kyra
“Walk on our twos, buckle our shoes…”
Just over a month ago, I arrived at Helston School for my first Wolf’s Child rehearsal.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting in to, but as soon as I stepped into the school hall that morning, I was swept up into a crowd of around 70 women and girls, ranging in age from 6 to 80-odd, and without much hanging about, we were off!   Some quick warm-up exercises – a surprisingly violent keep-the-ball-in-the-air game, a briskly competitive hand-squeeze-passing game, and a rather nerve-wracking precision-bowing game of ‘Je mange’ – later, we split into three groups, Highs, Mids and Lows, and cracked on with singing.  Somehow, five hours later we had learned the bare bones, at least, of all of our parts for the songs that we sing in the show, and a few more for good measure.  Later I learned that some people refer to singing with Vicky Abbott as ‘extreme choiring’, and certainly there’s a real buzz to be felt from learning fast, singing rich harmonies, and being required to be really, really, really precise in terms of both tonal quality and diction (not to mention hitting the right note).
“…Keep our composure, keep our little mouths close-d….
Tie back our hair, sit upright in our chairs…”
Being really, really, really precise has become a running theme with us Maids.  And really, really, really neat.  Well, neat for us.  Hair is a bit of an issue.  Those with particularly short, or wild, hair wear demure bonnets, which starts a less-than-demure ‘online dating: giant baby’ section on the Facebook page that was initially set up for lift-sharing, but has now expanded to include caption competitions for some particularly fetching shots of Maids in varying states of un-Maidly demeanour.
Despite our un-Maidly natures, Becca Hulbert (as Larch) and Mary Woodvine (as Hazel) keep us all in line during the show, and it’s interesting to see how easily we relinquish our day-to-day sense of responsibility: what a relief it is to go with the brainwashed flow, and to know that if we slip up at any point, Larch or Hazel will be on hand to bellow orders.  To say nothing of Mother, our feared yet revered leader.  Whilst we’re waiting on the stone stairs for our first entrance, or – as has been pointed out – ‘huddling like penguins’ in the meadow prior to our second appearance, conversation turns to the Maids’ troubled relationship with Mother.  More or less savoury back stories and future possibilities are suggested.  There’s definitely a prequel, sequel and several spin-offs waiting to emerge by now: we could give Game of Thrones a run for its money.
Our readiness to toe the line really interests me.  As I get to know my fellow Maids, it becomes clear that we’re a naturally rebellious crew, and yet we readily fit in to the pattern of deferring to others, barking out our responses, falling into line, bowing our heads at just the right moment and angle as Mother passes down the line (yes, I know that bit’s been cut now! – but it was just so satisfying at the time).  As Vicky says quite early on, “We have a cult!”.  At Becca’s suggestion, we take to watching Japanese walking competition videos on YouTube (yes, that is a thing!), revelling in their precision formation.  We practice our homilies over and over.  We place our hands on our belly, left over right, even when walking to ‘The Pizza Place’: our refuge from the elements between acts, where the light and the setting makes us look like an unlikely flashmob version of Rembrandt’s ‘Study of a Woman in a White Cap’.
Over the last few weeks we’ve become very good at making sure we all know where we are, what comes next, and what we might be about to do wrong – there is a near-constant hum of correction and self-correction, as we pass on notes from the night before, hoik each other’s costumes into line, or remind each other of details in the next scene that we think someone might have forgotten.  I have seen grown women manage to get other grown women to turn and face the other direction using mere eyeball strength. Do. Not. Mess. With. The. Maids.
“Smile with good humour,
Imagine the future…”
So, a little more than a month on from that first rehearsal, the show is up and running, and I already know I’m going to really, really, really miss Maid life and the wider wildness of Wolf’s Child.  Even being laced into waist and neck corsetry is a small price to pay for this level of camaraderie.  And most of all, the experience of being part of making such beautiful sounds and powerful images is one I will always treasure: there is something so hugely satisfying about being a small part of such a big, vivid picture.  The other day Gaston Bachelard’s phrase ‘intimate immensity’ came to mind, and when I have time to reflect on this whole thing, I think this idea will somehow be a way of writing in more depth about what exactly it is that WildWorks do.  In the meantime, who else to turn to, to sum up what I’m finding hard to put into words, but Bill Mitchell himself?  I love this description from him about the events that WildWorks create:
A world where everything is narrative: the light, the night, distance and closeness, from vast to tiny, a flag on the horizon, a character holding a rose so close you can smell it next to you (2007: 11).
This in turn brings me to a suggestion from anthropologist Tim Ingold, that ‘Imagination is not the work of mind alone, but of one’s entire being’.  For the duration of Wolf’s Child, performers and audiences are asked to immerse themselves in this story, in this world, and to be open to it all, to imagine with their entire being as events unfold around them. This full-bodied approach to my surroundings and their possibilities is a sensation I want to remember and be able to call on in future.
Thinking about what else I might want to keep from Maid life, so far this is what I know: I really, really, really want to sing more, I want to make more time for hanging out and belly laughing, I want to work outside more and, having spent three weeks inhaling the one and eyeing up the other, I really want to come back to the New Yard Restaurant sometime when I’m not in an all-white costume, and have a tomatoey pizza and a glass of red wine. Cheers!
Kyra, 2017

My Wolf’s Child

By Beth
I am currently volunteering as a Performer and Backstage Chaperone on Wolf’s Child. I have so much to say about my experience here so far that I felt this would be a good way to let you know (hopefully in a coherent fashion) what it’s like behind the scenes of this fabulous show.

I have been lucky enough to have a go at both the performing and backstage aspects of the show. I was originally down as a performer but having recently had knee surgery it was decided that walking and moving as much as I would be in the show was not such a good idea. However, everyone was extremely accommodating of this and I was offered other options and ways to get involved instead of just being told to go home. This created a real sense of belonging within the company and I cannot thank them enough for this. After a while of backstage work (wheeling round speakers, chaperoning the younger kids and adding finishing touches to the sets) circumstances changed and I was given the opportunity to become a performer once again.

Words cannot describe just how much I am enjoying myself here. Everyone has made me feel so welcome and (as cheesy as it sounds) we have all become one big theatre family. I have a lot of gratitude specifically towards the Crow ensemble for welcoming me into their group so late into the process. Steve and Sophie (Kafka and Kaz) have taught me so much and given me new confidence in myself to find new opportunities and jump at every chance I get. And although rehearsals have been sometimes wet and always muddy, everyone has kept in high spirits and worked so hard.

The thing that as really opened my eyes throughout this whole process is the level of respect that is being shown between all the cast members whether young, old, professional or amateur, nobody is pushed aside and all voices are heard. This has given me a whole new insight to how a theatre company should be and this is what it should be like when working with other people.

The shows themselves have been fabulous. I have thoroughly enjoyed every second so far. The audiences have all been so involved and co-operative, always smiling no matter what the weather is like, even when it was pouring down. Performing to such a large audience has been quite a scary prospect but seeing how much they are enjoying themselves means that I can start to relax as well.

I have learnt so many things from this project. Things that I will carry with me forever, not just in the theatre world but in life also. I have learnt to accept new challenges and face my fears. I have learnt that working with a cast of around 100 is an amazing thing but something I would never like to try and organise no matter how lovely the people! (massive respect to Kyla and Charlie and everyone else on the team!) And most importantly I have learnt that no amount of rain will ever stop a Cornishman from doing what they want!

I would 100% recommend this experience to everyone. Whether being involved in theatre is a life goal, a hobby or just something you want to try; it is something you will never forget.


Come have a little look at Wolf’s Chid

Apologies from team WildWorks for the radio silence this end … we’ve been busy at Trelowarren getting all set up and ship shape for Wolf’s Child.  We’ve now well into the run with ticket sales through the roof. If you’re thinking of coming really don’t put off getting your tickets. There are shows each night apart from Mondays plus matinees on Saturdays. Tickets here … here’s a sneaky peek ;

 

 

 

 

 

Photos : Steve Tanner / WildWorks

 

 


Meet Seamas

Seamas is a performer, composer and silent film pianist who grew up in Cornwall. At the age of 17 he escaped the clutches of formal education and began work as a multi-instrumentalist and composer for theatre. Since then he has toured continuously throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East and USA.

He has just returned from a 9 month tour of Kneehigh Theatre’s 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and is getting ready to be a Crow Singer in Wolf’s Child.

 


Meet Mary

Mary Woodvine, Actor 

Mary has worked extensively in theatre and television since 1989, from touring village halls through to performing at The Royal National Theatre and The RSC.

She was a core member of Kneehigh from 1991 where she met and worked with Bill Mitchell and Sue Hill many times. Her first WildWorks performance was In Masque of The Red Death at Battersea Arts Centre. More recently she has been working with Ed Rowe AKA Kernow King in the sell out show Trevithick!

She is very excited and honoured to be in this very poignant and special production.

 

 


Meet Kyla

Before his death at Easter this year, Bill Mitchell requested that Kyla Goodey be handed the baton of Show Director for Wolf’s Child.  Kyla, who performed in the original production of Wolf’s Child in 2015 is actor, director and writer based in Cornwall. 
 
She has worked extensively in Cornwall with various companies including  Miracle, Cube, Pipeline, Trifle Gathering Productions and most recently touring with Kneehigh in 946 Adolphus Tips.  She was also performance director on A Great Night Out 2016 and The Yule Tide Arc-Ive 2015 for Wildworks.

Information session: Monday 8th May

WILDWORKS NEEDS YOU
Our internationally acclaimed show Wolf’s Child is coming to Trelowarren Cornwall, near Helston this July.

We’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join the company as performers, makers, production and front of house teams.

We will be holding an information session at Trelowarren on Monday 8th May, 7pm. If you’d like to come along to find out more about what’s involved and how you can get involved, please contact info@wildworks.biz

Wolf’s Child will be at Trelowarren from 11th to 30th July. Volunteers may be required to be available from 1st June.


Our Bill

 

Some people worked with Bill for less than a day, some have witnessed his work and never got to meet him in person, some of us have worked with him for a few years and oh to be the lucky few who worked with him for decades. The overwhelming response from people (which we have loved and been so grateful to receive) can mostly be surmised to one statement “He changed my life!”.  How many people leave this earth with that as their legacy? We have been in the presence of greatness, a giant of a man. Giant stature, yes, but also giant artistic gift, giant heart, giant intelligence, giant generosity of spirit, giant, giant, giant…Giant loss.

He has been the centre of our world. Our leader, our rock, our friend, our Bill. This giant man with an eye for the little details, who always noticed the minutia in life and listened for the quiet voices, who could take one small comment and turn it into an epic vision, an incredible work of art and change the way people thought about theatre, about life.

Bill, we love you and we miss you.

You have given us everything you could with the whole of your being right until the end, a slate of work to continue and so on we go. We cannot replace you but we will honour you in the way that you have blessed and honoured so many of us. Bill Mitchell’s legacy starts here.

xxx

 

(image copyright: Dan Prince. WildWorks: A Great Night Out, 2016)

 

 


Bill Mitchell

We are heartbroken to confirm that Bill Mitchell, Artistic Director of WildWorks, died yesterday with Sue by his side and surrounded by WildWorks friends and family. Despite being very unwell with cancer Bill continued to work with passion and enthusiasm on WildWorks projects up until his last day.

He had been heavily involved in the current slate of projects including this July’s production of Wolf’s Child which he had reimagined for Trelowarren. Bill was at the peak of his creativity, excited by plans for the coming years.

He has left us a tremendous legacy, a blueprint for creating world class landscape theatre and a series of projects which WildWorks will deliver as a team.

At a team production meeting this April Bill said “This is life, this is what happens but the work will continue, it will develop and it will be brilliant.”

Bill Mitchell
2nd December 1951 to 14th April 2017


Love WildWorks ? Get your Wolf’s Child tickets today. #GetInEarly

‘An entrancing, dark, mysterious experience, knitting together play and place to create one of the most extraordinary pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen.  I’m hugely excited that Wolf’s Child is coming home to Cornwall.’ Gordon Seabright, Director, Eden Project

Tickets are on sale via the Hall for Cornwall box office – get in early.


Wolf’s Child now on sale

Tickets for Wolf’s Child are now on sale. The show, which opens on 11th July and runs until 30th is at Trelowarren Estate near Helston.

Get your tickets here.

 


The Hot Ticket…

Tickets for this summer’s hotly anticipated WildWorks production, Wolf’s Child, go on public sale this Monday (20th March). 

Wolf’s Child, which will be performed at Trelowarren Estate, sees the return of WildWorks to Cornwall after 10 years. 

 

“Many people remember A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings which we co-created with Kneehigh over 10 years ago. Since then our work has taken us to all sorts of places including Cyprus and Tunis and, closer to home, Kensington Palace and Sunderland but we’ve always wanted to come back to our roots in Cornwall eventually.” Bill Mitchell  

 

The company, famed for telling beautiful and moving stories in unusual ways, are pioneers of what has become known as landscape theatre, (it was infact Bill who coined the phrase), using the place they are working in as an inspiration be that an old nightclub, a royal palace or the woods.  Based in Redruth, WildWorks has become the UK’s leading company for landscape theatre creating award winning work around the world. 

 

“We never pretend to be anywhere than where we actually are – the landscape and communities are always an important part of the story rather than just being a backdrop to it” Bill  

 

Wolf’s Child, a fairytale for adults and brave children (aged 11+), tells the tale of ‘Mother’, a key character in the story who protects her girls from the dangers of the wild. When a wolf attack leaves her injured she sends her most trusted girl into the woods in her place. Here the girl discovers darkness, love, terror and freedom.

The show, which received 5 stars nationally, is a promenade production, meaning you follow the action though the woods and grounds at Trelowarren, including areas that are not usually open to the public. 

 

“We are really grateful to Trelowarren for all their support with the show – it’s going to be truly memorable and magical.” Bill 

 

Wolf’s Child is at Trelowarren from 11th to 30th July 2017. Tickets are available via the Hall for Cornwall Box Office from Monday 20th March. 

 

Utterly Magical : The Times *****

Originally commissioned by Norfolk & Norwich Festival and co-produced by WildWorks and Norfolk & Norwich Festival in partnership with the National Trust. Original research and development made possible with funding from Legacy Trust UK.

 


FIRST SPONSORS CONFIRMED FOR WOLF’S CHILD

Falmouth based web designers Venn Creative are confirmed as the first corporate sponsors for WildWorks’ production Wolf’s Child

Wolf’s Child, which will be at Trelowarren from 11th to 30th July this year, is the first time the internationally renowned theatre company has performed in Cornwall for 10 years. The production, which has a cast of over 100, leads audiences through the grounds of Trelowarren on a story of darkness, love, terror and freedom.

“We are delighted to have Venn confirmed as a sponsor for Wolf’s Child. Their support, and the support of our funders and donor, means we can bring Wolf’s Child home to Cornwall and we are really grateful” – Emma Hogg, General Manager, WildWorks

Venn, who look after WildWorks’ website, are we, design, digital and branding experts with clients across the UK. Their agency create everything brands need including web and print, and work with clients as wide ranging as Coolearth, World’s Apart and Cedar Juice.

“We are thrilled to be able to support our good friends at WildWorks and help bring them back home to Cornwall. We can’t wait to see the show so we all have something else to talk about for the next 10 years.” – Zander Greenfield, Venn Creative

 


IN THE BEGINNING…

… there’s an idea. A shard of light across a landscape, a conversation overheard on a train, a letter from an old friend or a character clamouring to be set free. Curiosity drives us and the adventure it leads us on is different every time.

Part of the early creative process is working out what the show will look like, how it might feel. We’ve raided the sketchbook of our designer Myriddin Wannell for his early ideas about our summer show Wolf’s Child, and here are some of his early design concepts.

 

Credit: Myriddin Wannell


Wolf’s Child: Sponsorship Opportunities

Get your business associated with the UK’s leading producer of landscape theatre.

In 2005 Kneehigh’s Artistic Director, Bill Mitchell, co-produced A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings in Hayle and out of this production WildWorks was born. Since then we have created work in all sorts of places including Kensington Palace and Palestine.

As a registered charity, we are grateful to our public funders Arts Council England and Cornwall Council. Their support is the bedrock of our organisation.

We raise the rest of the money needed to create productions from sponsorship, charitable donations and working on artistic projects for and with other organisations.

This summer we are bringing our internationally acclaimed promenade production Wolf’s Child to the Trelowarren Estate here in Cornwall.

Wolf’s Child is a huge project. It involves local communities, actors, musicians and makers working together during a month-long project. We have a strong track record of delivering artistic excellence with community engagement embedded into the process. We will be looking for up to 80 local volunteers to take part as performers, local craftsman, to be part of a choir or as volunteer stewards.

There will be opportunities for local people of all ages and abilities. People don’t need prior experience to take part. This is an amazing opportunity for people to work with a world class theatre company. But we need sponsorship help to make this happen.

Sponsorship starts at just £250.

In exchange for your help we can offer;

  • Association with a world-class theatre brand
  • Access to an audience in excess of 5,000 in Cornwall
  • Benefits associated with a high profile local and national marketing campaign
  • VIP invitations

There are additional opportunities for bespoke sponsorships including headline sponsor.

To find out how you can be involved please drop us a line at sarah@wildworks.biz

 

Trelowarren is a historic Cornish estate with an established tradition of working with artists and arts organisations. The Wolf Child’s performance will be adapted to showcase Trelowarren’s estate and gardens.  It will be the first time in the estate’s recent history that large audiences will have access to the gardens, opening our grounds more broadly to the local and regional community.

 

WildWorks has 10 years of experience in delivering large scale outdoor performance projects that involve community engagement. Wolf’s Child was the headlining show at Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2015. It received 5 stars by The Times and was included in Susannah Clapp of the Guardian, top ten shows of 2015.

 


WildWorks’ 10 Year Anniversary

Credits - Photo: Steve Tanner, Fire Sculpture: Sue Hill/Pete Hill

Credits – Photo: Steve Tanner, Fire Sculpture: Sue Hill/Pete Hill

On Monday 5th December, Wild-Workers from near and far came together to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of WildWorks. Gathered at the cliff-top location of Mount Pleasant Ecological Park in Porthtowan, Cornwall, considered friends and family of the company raised a glass to the vibrant and successful past of WildWorks, with a big nod to an exciting future.

The barns were decorated with iconic props from previous productions, including the Very Old Man’s wings framing the stage where live music from Rosie Crow and her band entertained guests into an evening of reunions between friends, old and new.

Without past shows (A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, Souterrain, The Passion, Wolf’s Child – to name a few!), WildWorks would not be in the position to have the plans that they do in the pipeline. But more importantly, those productions wouldn’t have happened without the inspiring people who made them – the guests. Bill Mitchell, Artistic Director, emphasized this in his moving toast, which saluted the people, the past, and the future.

With full bellies from the delicious one-pot tagines, guests were invited to watch the premier of Dave McKean’s trailer for Wolf’s Child, in advance of the new production at Trelowarren Estate next summer: a perfect showcase of our past, future and those wonderful people who we came together to celebrate.

After a commemorative moment of the lighting of the breath-taking fire sculpture pictured below, the party was in full swing including flowing chatter, echoing laughter and fancy dress with fruitful photos in front of the bespoke hand painted backdrops from The Beautiful Journey.

 

WildWorks would like to say a big thank you to all those who came to celebrate the last 10 years, and to toast to the next.

 


A message from Bill…

When Emma Rice was appointed the new artistic director of the Globe a year ago I applauded their vision, trust and bravery. I thought it a perfect combination. What an adventure for both parties, Emma and the Globe. So many beautiful, funny and unique productions that would blossom over the years, blurring the divide between audience and players, capturing the true spirit of the Elizabethan playhouse.

I have to declare an interest here as I worked with Emma on many productions at Kneehigh including Tristan and Yseult; that will be seen next year in what is now Emma’s last year at the Globe. Emma is thrilling to work with – a brilliant contemporary theatre maker full of ideas, energy and honesty. In her interview she would have been completely open about who she is and how she works. The board appointed her knowing everything. So why has the Globe board withdrawn their support of their chosen artistic director in such an embarrassingly short time and after such a scorchingly successful opening season?

Bill Mitchell, WildWorks


Hastings calling…

We are sat on the cliff top at Lady’s Parlour, Hastings.

Here is just one of the 24 stories that our archaeologists have uncovered in their quest to discover the current wealth of Hastings.

 

Open today until 7pm and again tomorrow from 1-7pm.