'I am A Woodwose' (taken from a line of the play) was an ambitious and exciting schools’ project focusing on the carvings of medieval woodwoses (naked hairy men bearing a club) carvings that appear prolifically on church fonts and porches in Suffolk in the same towns, or near enough, to the selected eight schools – Leiston, Benhall, Snape, Earl Soham, Bedfield, Holton, Edgar Sewter and Thomas Mills. The children went on a historical and cultural journey, visiting churches and museums, followed by drama and poetry workshops with actor Tim FitzHigham, Artistic Director Alys Kihl and poet Dean Parkin (Poetry People). Another day involved a woodland expedition, exploring the ecology and the future of our forests, led by woodland experts and finishing with a fabric printing session, creating banners inspired by their woodland walk to be on display at every performance during the tour. The project culminated in the children attending two free matinees of The Last Woodwose.
Wonderful Beast and The Association for Suffolk Museums hosted the launch of 'I Am a Woodwose' and its involvement in the production of The Last Woodwose, in the historic Saxmundham Market Hall on Thursday 6th June.
Teachers from our eight schools, staff and volunteers from the local museums and churches involved (Saxmundham, Framlingham, Orford and Halesworth) joined Gary Battell (Forestry Advisor for Suffolk County Council), woodwose experts Matt Salusbury and Pete Jennings (both publishing books on the subject) and many of our loyal supporters came together to share in the anticipation and excitement of this ambitious and unusual outreach project.
Actor Sally Ann Burnett treated us to a snippet of the play and brought the woodwose to life, and Alys Kihl invited everyone to join in singing Trees Grow Tall, Deep in the Forest, creating a fabulous atmosphere and stirring excitement all round.
Alys Kihl, Founder and Artistic Director of Wonderful Beast.