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



  1. Helen says:

    I am heartbroken at this news. Being part of the wildworks team in Souterrain and watching Wolfs Child after the long journey from Penzance was one of the most brilliant experiences in my life. My heart goes out to Sue and all close friends a family..and yes the legacy will carry on xx Helen Burgess

  2. John O'Mahony says:

    Bill was a true artist, a great man and a very dear friend. I mourn his loss.
    Bear up Wild Works.

  3. Steve Jacobs says:

    I love you Bill. I miss you. Will always carry you in my heart. I have loved working with you over the years. It has changed the way I look at and engage with Theatre and life itself. You created many extrordinary worlds with communities of remarkable people and it has been inspiring and a privilege to have had the opportunity to create so many characters that have inhabited those worlds. Bless you on what ever adventure you are on now. Bye . XXX

  4. Alan Dix says:

    A great loss. Bill was an extraordinarily talented person. His imagination inspired so many artists over so many years and his work will, I’m sure, continue to do so. My love to Sue and everyone at Wild Works.

  5. Ray Spencer says:

    What an enormously bright light has gone out. His spirit is with everyone he ever worked with, everyone who ever saw his productions & everyone who had the joy to share his life.

    Lovely warm memories of a lovely warm man.

  6. Paul Kleiman says:

    So saddened to hear this news. I first encountered Bill when we were at Art School together, and it was clear, even then, that there was an intensely creative, imaginative spirit at work that affected everyone that came within Bill’s luminous orbit. Then, after a spending a magical summer on a beach in Greece with Bill and Sue and some other friends and colleagues, we worked closely together for a couple of years, with Bill always both inspired and inspiring. Then, as sometimes happens, our paths separated and we went in different directions and lost touch. But I followed his extraordinary work with Kneehigh and Wildworks with a sense of wonder (and a touch of envy!). I look back to the times we spent at work and play with huge affection and some wonderful memories. My heartfelt condolences to Sue, to close friends and family, and to everyone who knew and admired Bill and the fantastic body of work he created.

  7. Colin Seddon says:

    I am so sad to hear this news. I feel honoured to have worked with him on so many projects over the years. I just can’t believe such a big bear of a man and such a formidable presence in the world can have been anything less than immortal. Rest in peace. XxXxX

  8. Jane Cox says:

    Just so sad. Dear Sue thinking of you so much. And all your family. What a great loss. What a brave man. Much love.

    • Nick Stafford says:

      The first time I met Bill I was a student at Rose Bruford. With some others I was making a show about how humans treat animals. It was heartfelt, earnest and terrible. Bill had to witness the creative process and give feedback. With the appearance of a pirate ashore for some purpose he was nevertheless very diplomatic in how he saved us from ourselves. On the road we played our show before another show by some other students. Our show went quite well but the second show brought the house down (I still can’t see why). Bill put his arm around us and consoled us with: “you warmed the audience up.” I worked with him later, when I was a professional. He was always kind, modest, astute, enabling and hugely, mysteriously creative.

  9. Dan Ryan says:

    Very sorry to hear the news… Love to Sue

  10. Pip Thomas says:

    So very sorry to hear the news. I first met Bill and Sue when I was 14, I did work experience on Ship of Fools at the Minack with Kneehigh. The show was one of the most important experiences of my formative years. This summer I will be 40, I work as an Event Manager coordinating large scale outdoor performances and Festivals. I will raise a glass for you. Thank you for shining the light and showing the way to go

  11. Sheila Vanloo says:

    Such very sad news, a huge loss to everyone who loves ground breaking theatre. The legacy of creative passion Bill left will continue to enthuse and inspire for years to come. Sending love to Sue and the family and the Wildworks family.

  12. Lisa says:

    I remain changed and affected by every performance I saw. A creative force the world will not forget. I am glad Bill was here. He used his time well. Deep bow of gratitude.
    Lisa Cain

  13. Peter Lavis says:

    I was part of the Heligan team who collaborated with Wildworks on the production of “100 The Day our World Changed” in 2014.
    It was a truly remarkable event and, nearly three years on, people who attended Heligan on that day still say it was one of the most moving tributes they have ever had the privilege of experiencing.
    Bill will be so sadly missed by all those who were touched by his enthusiasm and passion – I count myself fortunate to have worked with him, and the team.

    Peter Lavis

  14. Jon Linstrum says:

    A great artist and a wonderful human being. I am privileged to have known and worked with him for a brief time in his incredibly productive life

  15. Alan Livingston says:

    Bill was a big man with a remarkable gift for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. He had a wonderfully generous spirit backed up by a profound belief that engagement with the arts can transform individual Iives. Always willing to take a risk, he much preferred to follow his heart than follow a pre-determined plan.
    His creativity and passion will be sorely missed.
    Love and sympathy to Sue.
    Alan Livingston

  16. Tony Coult says:

    [This has also been sent to the Guardian so apologies for repeating myself if they use it:]
    It was my good luck to join the same company, Key Perspectives, as Bill Mitchell in the late seventies. I soon saw that Bill was a great learner and an even greater teacher. He taught by doing. I’d written a script to tour Fenland village halls and community centres, and set in the same locations. Knowing it was undoable I’d written a final scene where the back wall of the village hall cracks open and a ghost floats in amidst mists and blinding light. I watched Bill’s eyes brighten for a moment and then become thoughtful. I read this as “Idiot! Does he think we’re on RSC budgets?” Three weeks of rehearsal later and night after night across the Fens that back wall cracked, sending a shiver through audiences. Bill had done it, and we all learned to raise ourselves to his creative level. In a recent interview with me Bill reflected that Perspectives was where he stopped being the quiet guy serving the design needs of others to being the enthusiastic talker, the great listener, the great teacher and artist we have now lost.

    Tony Coult

  17. Jon O'Donoghue says:

    I’ve only just heard this sad, sad news. To me, Bill was not only an exceptionally talented and creative director, but also a wonderfully inspiring and articulate individual. I’ve repeatedly seen him enrapture and silence a room when sharing his ideas and reflections. Amidst this sad news I take solace in two things: 1. That Bill’s impact within the extended WildWorks family will leave a rich legacy and that 2. His work has changed the playing field for site-specific performance; he’s shown us just how compelling the real narratives can be.

    Love to all and thanks to Bill for being a hero who will live in my mind and soul til I drop off this wonderful mortal coil too…!

  18. helen says:

    ouf….am finding it hard to believe that this is actually true. Bill was a brilliant, kind, inspiring and inventive artist that took buccaneering behaviour to its absolute limits. I loved all my encounters with him and thought he added hugely to the growing canon of significant outdoor work. What a loss. I can only imagine the grief felt by those close to him

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