2020 brings exciting plans and new projects for WildWorks. 2019 was a highly unusual year for us, as we didn’t present any work to audiences! This was the result of the lull in new project planning that happened just after Bill passed away. However, behind the scenes we’ve been as busy as ever.
In October, I was invited to speak at the Regional New South Wales Artstate conference. Pulling together my presentation was a timely moment that caused me to reflect on the months leading up to it and the challenges we had been facing as a company. I had been asked to speak on the theme of ‘arts in the age of uncertainty.’ During my visit the wild fires in the region were just beginning and in Tamworth, NSW, where the conference was taking place, the tension from the unbreaking heat was palpable; a city a few years into drought with a scorched landscape and a polite request to use the 3-minute egg timer next to the shower. I cannot reflect on my time there without acknowledging the devastation that has happened across large parts of the area since I returned and the uncertainty that is now facing thousands of people and wildlife.
I used my conference slot to talk about WildWorks’ process and projects and how we are used to working with uncertainty. We embrace uncertainty; be that working in public spaces, unpredictable weather or working with communities who themselves are living in uncertain times through conflict, loss of industry or ever changing economics. And how in late 2015 we were thrown into a world of our uncertainty with Bill’s cancer diagnosis. With Bill still at the helm, we carried on but always a little unsure of what was around the corner, contingency plans always at the ready, and then of course in 2017 the contingency plan became ‘the plan’. The early focus was to deliver Wolf’s Child in Cornwall and despite some interesting issues with mud and rain we had a great success and similarly with 100: UnEarth in 2018 (except a heat wave not torrential rain!) however since 2017 the big question has been ‘what do we do next’?
I’m sure no one will be surprised to know there was a period of time since Bill’s death where it felt like we were lost in a deep fog. Knowing we wanted to carry on but laden with grief and unsure of where the path was. I asked whether the organisations listening to me speak ever talked about succession planning or confronted the ‘what ifs’ in their own worlds- something that I think is particularly pertinent for artist led companies.
Over the last 12 months we have been joined by some new board members, we have explored new project ideas with R&D playtime, we are refreshing our branding (watch this space) and have had the headspace away from being on the frontline of project delivery. Each of these tasks has led to conversations about our values. In our projects, we know that the strongest outcomes in our work come from working with communities where there are clear and strongly held values and we have trusted our values to guide the process. As a result, we reminded ourselves that we have nothing to fear from uncertainty and have realised that in our values we find the answers. By following and trusting in our values the fog begins to clear and the path to the future is visible again.
Over the next few months we are going to discuss more about these values through a series of blogs by the team and how they present themselves in our process. And of course, we will start to share our plans for the future.
We are an altered company without Bill but the values of WildWorks are strong and if a project holds those values closely the work will continue and we are excited about it. 2020? Bring it on!
Happy New Year
The full auction catalogue is here … inside you’ll find details of each of the 21 Lots which have been kindly donated by friends and family. A huge thank you to everyone who has donated.
If you can’t make it to the auction on Thursday 5th December at The Redruth Drapery in Cornwall you can still bid.
We are accepting sealed bids. Email your bid, by noon on Thursday 5th December 2019 to [email protected] Rose will bid up to that amount for you at the auction. Mark your email BID CONFIDENTIAL.
Auction items as at 28 Nov 2019
Bill Mitchell, internationally recognised Artistic Director of WildWorks and Kneehigh, created shows that dazzled: 100:The Day the World Changed; The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings; Tristan and Yseult; Wolf’s Child; The Passion. (more…)
A call out to friends, fans and family. Help us to give Bill Mitchell’s Attic, a space packed with 40 years of collection and creativity, a new life.
On Thursday 5th December we’ll be hosting an evening of celebration and fundraising with live music, dinner, charity auction, surprises. More information coming soon.
Thursday 5th December 2019
The Redruth Drapery, Cornwall.
Amy from University of Exeter continues to explore the WildWorks Archives held at Penryn Campus.
Interested in joining us for a 2-day residential workshop? Applications are now open …
In the autumn of 2018 we were contacted by a Canadian theatre company asking us whether we would be interested in talking to them about applying to the New Conversations, a fund created by British Council, the High Commission of Canada in the UK and Farnham Maltings with support from Arts Council England.
What to do on #CanadaDay ? Actually, it’s the day we wave goodbye to our shores for a week as we set off on the first leg of our Canadian exchange. Like an excited school exchange student we’ve been counting down the days to go on our artistic adventure.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the all material used on the making of a WildWorks production? We set Amy, a student from University of Exeter, a challenge to explore the WildWorks Theatre archive held at the University’s Penryn Campus. In a series of blogs Amy will show you what she has found during her delve into the archive.
We are delighted to hear that Len Gibson has been awarded A British Empire medal in the Queen’s birthday honours list this weekend for ‘Services to World War Two Remembrance and the community in Sunderland.”
We’re delighted to welcome Guest Director Angus Farquhar who joins us on our next major project.
We had our first meeting with our brand new board last week, well, all bar one as Trustee Chris Morris was away working. See you next time Chris!
It was brilliant to see British actor, Olivia Coleman, honoured at the Oscars a few weeks ago. I’ve saved her speech to watch when I need cheering up…the perfect combo of emotion and humour !
The Favourite starring Olivia Coleman is the story featured in ‘The Room of Quarrels’ in The Enchanted Palace, commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces for Kensington Palace 2010-2012
Happy World Poetry Day!
A Beautiful Friendship
to this princess
in a time
She is born weeping
and doesn’t seem
to be able
As a toddler
she is sent
the Royal Oculist
in her golden frock
holding her small lapdog.
All who look after her
just seem to die.
When she comes home
it is her mother’s turn.
ENTER THE STEPMOTHER.
She is ousted
She is loveless.
She is cared for
The princess is sad,
Until one day
to play with.
She is gorgeous,
and a bit bossy.
she is willing to become
the shy, plain princess’s
and dress up
in each other’s clothes.
the kitchen table.
is the bossy one
and she likes that.
They grow up.
There are weddings,
there are sorrows.
there are many
And still the friends
in their kitchen domain.
Now the princess
and her friend
is the Mistress of the Robes.
There are intrigues.
There are betrayals.
There are WARS.
into the kitchen
with Queenly concerns.
presumes too much.
The Queen turns her back.
She will be bossed no more.
It is the end
of a beautiful
When friends so fast part forever
their bitter words etch through the walls
and leave a trace.
You can hear them still.
Poem: WildWorks/Mercedes Kemp
Images: WildWorks/ Steve Tanner
We are delighted to have confirmed the appointment of Emma Hogg as our Executive Director.
We are over the moon to be one of the first UK performing arts companies to be selected to take part in New Conversations.
We’re on the look out for a Guest Director for our next project.
By Charlie Bunker
Over the past few months we’ve been working with WildWorker Seamas Carey on a project inspired by ‘Bill’s Attic’. This has formed part of our ‘Wildly Talented’ training and development strand, which is about nurturing new artistic leaders of the work; by giving them the space, support and encouragement to create.
At WildWorks, sites that are loaded with story fascinate us. Classically, we’re known for creating shows on a large scale but we’ve also made work in smaller spaces; such as a cabinet.