The Last Woodwose came to Kali woods in September 2018. The story of the WOODWOSE. Never heard of it? Neither had I until earlier this year. WONDERFUL BEAST put on this production in our wood, with great actors, imaginative lighting, and FREE to the Tribe.
Wonderful Beast Theatre company is here
Following a highly successful reading of its new play, The Last Woodwose, as part of the High Tide Festival last year, Wonderful Beast has been invited to premier the full production at this year’s festival in September. A tour of performances in local woodlands and churches will follow. Including Kaliwoods.
Wonderful Beast is inviting students in eight schools across rural Suffolk, in locations known to have woodwose carvings (including HALESWORTH), to take part in this project focusing on local history, drama, and art, in partnership with each school’s local museum. The school’s engagement will start with an introduction by the Wonderful Beast team, followed up by a visit to the local church to discover the elusive carvings of these mysterious woodwoses, and to make drawings. Then onwards to the museum, where the children will find out about the medieval background of the woodwose and enjoy a story-telling session with a Wonderful Beast actor. The children may even get to meet a live woodwose.
What is the WOODWOSE?
The woodwose is a curiosity harboured by many churches in rural Suffolk. Ancient and mysterious carvings of these wildmen-of-the-woods can be found on the staves of stone baptismal fonts or as reliefs adorning the porch of a church. Believed to date from around the 15th century, little is known about these ‘hirsute manimals’, all to be found brandishing clubs, some in combat with a wyvern (a two-legged dragon peculiar to Suffolk).Most visitors to these churches are completely unaware of the woodwoses hidden within, and their significance in East Anglian folklore. So, who is the woodwose?The Last Woodwose project will be led by Alys Kihl, Artistic Director of Wonderful Beast, the Suffolk-based theatre company whose work is inspired by myths, legends, folk and fairy tales. The Project Manager is Rebecca Marshall-Potter.
Conservation: The Last Woodwose play weaves fact and make-believe in a magical and mythical tale illuminating the lifeblood and wonders of the forest along with the woodwose as guardian of the forest. The site-specific public performances will provide a wonderful opportunity for audiences to enjoy a theatrical experience in an outdoor, Arcadian setting. School children will take part in forest workshops gaining knowledge and understanding of the life and future of the trees, flora and fauna around them, through the lens of myth and history.