Return of the Wildman

performed in the High Tide Festival, Aldeburgh 2015,  Storm of Stories, 2016 and toured Autumn 2017

 "An extraordinary script and performance. Great direction and an inspirational interpretation of the Wildman story. Exceptional theatre!"— Audience Member

The Suffolk  legend of the Wildman of Orford says he was captured at sea and incarcerated in  Orford Castle where he was hung upside down in an attempt to make him speak. Not only would he not oblige but to the horror of the towns people he showed no respect for Christianity when taken to Orford Church. Who was this wildman….devil,  merman, sea spirit?  After six months he finally escaped and found his way back to the sea and disappeared for ever. Or did he?


Our story tells another tale, one in which his presence is very much still alive…



Writer: Thea Smiley

Actor: Martin Bonger

Composer and Musician: Sylvia Hallett

The Wonderful Beast Singers

Voice overs from Orford and Aldeburgh Primary school children

Script Editor: Julia Blackburn

Director: Alys Kihl



Alys Kihl for more details and bookings

T | 01728 451 408

E |

Audience comments


"A really startling piece of theatre. Martin Bonger gave a brilliant performance in the title role, both muscular and vulnerable; the chorus of fishermen and the use of sea shanties and chants was incredibly powerful, and I loved the script and the way it seemed to grow out of the place we were in. Altogether memorable."

 - Dan Franklin, Publisher, Random House.


Smiley has created an incredibly well-weaved story of great quality and skill.


Wonderful, evocative, lots of local references, historical and contemporary. Very effective soundscape and use of chorus; great to see a simple story told really well.


Excellent story, great local colour, and simple effective staging. Inspired music. Loved it.

It was directed very well and the interplay between the singers and the Wildman worked brilliantly.


Martin Bonger provided a faultless performance.


Martin Bonger’s remarkable performance managed to combine the wild and the human characteristics so well.


Fantastic! Great atmosphere and loved the sound and music.