From the heart of the woods, you hear the call. You are told not to stray from the path, but, nevertheless, the call comes and you are compelled to follow. There is no choice.
Led by sharp-tongued crows, you walk from the safety of civilisation and into the deep-dark wild, where the wolves are watching your every move.
Wolf’s Child starts in a clearing around Felbrigg Hall where a chorus of women, dressed in white, perform rituals and habits from their perfect, ordered and clean lives. A woman appears on horseback, with a scruffy child in tow and the carcass of a wolf slung over her saddle. It is clear that she leads these women and keeps order amongst them; it is a school for reform. Her overall mission is to keep the wild at bay.
But one of the girls starts to explore; she goes out into the wild and discovers all those things that she has been kept away from; darkness, love, terror, freedom, the true wild and the wolves that live within it. She is allowed to be herself, to follow her desires, to live as one with her fellow beings. Slowly, she becomes an animal. Slowly, she becomes a wolf.
Combining tree-top set pieces, singing crows, a pack of wolves, and, occasionally, a torrential, very dramatic downpour of rain, Wolf’s Child is a story for all the senses which stirs the soul and explores the very essence of being human. The audience were led through the estate, venturing from scene to scene, standing alongside trees, hiding in the shadows and watching this profound story unfold before their eyes. As dusk fell, the magic happened; the transportation into the true wild was complete.
Wolf’s Child was performed for the first time in May 2015 at the beautiful Felbrigg Estate in Norfolk. A co-production between WildWorks, National Trust and Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the show was also supported by the local community; volunteers from across the county came to perform with us, as maids and crows, as well as those who acted as audience stewards. The Felbrigg estate truly captured the imagination of the WildWorks artists, and, working together with this big team, all were transported, absorbed and changed by the wilds of the woods.
Utterly disorientated, there is no other option than to follow the call and meet yourself in the eyes of an animal.
The Wolf’s Child image is designed by Myriddin Wannell, with photography by Steve Tanner.
Below is a link to Director Bill Mitchell’s notes on the reasons why Wolf’s Child came into being and some of the stories, people and places it is inspired by.