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20th Feb 2020

Part 1 — What makes Wildworks...

Photo: Steve Tanner – Wolfs child
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...Experimental?

Mydd here, hope you are all well, happy and hopefully not too windswept by Storm Dennis!

Last weekend was awesome! The WildWorks team and I battened down the hatches, harboured from the storms and spent a few days inside, experimenting with sound whilst exploring a new landscape for a brand new WildWorks production happening later this year. Yes, you heard right… An inside show!

Wait! Back up the truck!!! But WildWorks does all the outside stuff, Right?

But this is not always true. Yes of course there’s nothing we love more than getting soaked to the skin, knee-deep in mud, digging holes, setting fire to things and making stuff fly, but we have always experimented with the WildWorks form, inside and out. Shows on fishing quays, in castles, car parks, beaches, nightclubs and palaces, the work has always been and still is very much what we like to call ‘An experiment in landscape theatre’

Experiment is vital in how we work. We learn through play and discovering new things. Often taking huge leaps of faith and a deep trust in the process.

Experiment is about listening, attending, learning from what a site gives you. Nothing is ever static, everything is always moving. Ideas are often challenged by many contributing factors testing the form to create a piece of work that is charged and has a life of its own. If you listen enough it tells you what it wants to be.

I am lucky enough to have been part of every WildWorks project since the company formed in 2005. Mad, really, when you think of it. Each project experimenting with the WildWorks form in ways that were exciting, dangerous and forward pushing. Often where we didn’t know what results to expect. We lit the touch paper and stood back…

Photo credit: Steve Tanner – The Beautiful Journey

Projects - The experiment

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Hayle Quay – To perform a whole show in an entirely made up language.

Souterrain, UK and France – To tour a story and make it site-specific to 7 different locations throughout England and France.

Beautiful Journey, Devonport and Newcastle – To puppet cranes and abandoned machinery theatrically. To crane a real iceberg out of the river every day.

Memory Projector, Glasgow – To run a show for 8 hours a day, in the basement of a nightclub, often with the beginning, middle and end of the show running simultaneously.

Enchanted Palace, Kensington Palace – To make a list of “what you are not allowed to do in a Royal Palace”, then do it all!

The Passion, Port Talbot – To use the whole of Port Talbot as the stage, in a 72 hour, non stop telling of The Passion, starring over 1200 local community participants, ending with the Crucifixion of Michael Sheen on a round-about on Aberavon beach.

Babel, London – To bring together four separate boroughs of London, from both sides of the Thames to forge a new community.

Once upon a Castle, Belgium – To bring the ghosts of the castle back to life and make installations that felt like they have just left the room.

A Great Night Out, Sunderland – To create the best night out. A glitzy show featuring the real stories of the real people of Sunderland.

Wolf’s Child, Norfolk and Cornwall – To see the world through animal eyes and make a show entirely scored by human voice and animal calls.

100: The Day our World Changed, Cornwall – To start a dawn to dusk show with the landing of a traditional Mounts Bay Lugger called ‘Happy Return’ and end with the calling of fifty three names of fallen soldiers, that took over 20 minutes.

Yule-Tide Ark-Ive, The Eden Project – To make a show about the essence of Christmas, but stage and perform it in a tropical rain forest.

100: Unearth, Cornwall – To make a show about death and loss, love and hope months after losing our friend and director Bill Mitchell to cancer.

The Great Survey of Hastings – To create an archaeological dig pit without actually being able to break ground.

Ark-ive, London.  To sail a ship on concrete paving slabs, every night outside the National Theatre. Right next to the River Thames.

Travel Agents, Cornwall.  To take people anywhere their heart desired without them actually leaving the spot.

Not to mention Cinema of Dreams, Tunis. Nablus, City of Stories, Palestine – To see how naked and vulnerable we could be.  To immerse ourselves with no tool kit and no support systems into a community where we were truly strangers in a strange land. And yet we made connections, we had conversations and we created some beautiful things that had true meaning in places hungry for art.

Photo: Ian Kingsnorth – The passion

Living on the edge

In Cornwall we live on the edge, a geographical edge – outward looking. Scanning the horizon for new people, new ways of experiencing the world.  Actively inviting new voices, new rituals, new ideas.

As WildWorkers we take on the responsibility to put ourselves in strange places, edges, and horizons that feel uncomfortable, that feel new and different. That’s where you really find the magic. Magic that is very much hidden in what people dismiss as the everyday mundane.

We have always pushed against the rules and boundaries. Pushing forward with new ideas built on our successes and failures.
New growth, new shoots, new ideas branching off in exciting and fresh directions, firmly rooted in the rich foundations of the work that has gone before.

Let’s not waste time creating work that has already been created. Let’s experiment, forge new ideas and keep moving.

Curiosity is vital.

“The work must keep evolving and therefore changing”.  “Let’s not reinvent the wheel” – Bill Mitchell

Cheers for now, Mydd x