Wonderful Beast present The Last Woodwose by Thea Smiley

The Last Woodwose features a wild woman of the woods, a strong, dignified, mature character and a challenger of conventional ideas of femininity and beauty. Her language is entwined with nature writing and poetry; the play merges drama, shapeshifting, storytelling and music, expressing a powerful cross-genre wildness. The threatening forest of fairy tales is inverted, highlighting both its wonders and the danger of extinction, whilst the Suffolk legend of the Green Children is woven into the narrative, reinvigorating the traditional tale and infusing the play with its own local and historical potency.

Details: Wed 11 September, 4pm at Blackheath House Wood, Blackheath House, Friston, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1NX

Running time: 1h

Age Recommendation: 10+


The venue is approximately 15 minutes drive from Aldeburgh town. 

The turning for Blackheath House is through the black gates off the A1094 directly opposite the B1069 turning to Leiston.  The House is approximately 5 minutes drive from the road. 

Parking is available by Blackheath House. 

This is an outdoor production.  The performance will take place in a clearing 5 minutes walk from Blackheath House along a woodland path.  Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and dress for the weather.  

Seating: Please bring your own chair or blanket or cushion to sit on.  


The chief glory of this piece, apart from Smiley’s words, is Martin Bonger’s charismatic and brilliantly imagined central performance as the eponymous Wildman. Smiley’s delicate genius with language impresses throughout, but the piece also flows with fresh simplicity.

‘Return of the Wildman’, Operissima, Charlotte Valeri

Cast & Creatives

  • Huw Brentnall Actor
  • Rosalind Burt Actor
  • Thea Smiley Writer
    Thea Smiley graduated from the UEA in 2012. Her first play, The Books, was performed at the Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth, that same year. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and shortlisted for the Flipside Festival and the Bridport Prize. In 2014, she won the Words and Women ‘About’ competition, and her monologue was published and performed the following year at the Forum, Norwich. Her play, Powerhouse, was selected for the first INK Festival. Then Return of the Wildman, commissioned by Wonderful Beast Theatre Company, sold out at HighTide Festival 2015 and was performed in May as part of Wonderful Beast’s Storm of Stories. A short version of Role Play premiered at INK 2016, and has since been rewritten as a full-length play.
  • Hilary Greatorex Actor
  • Sylvia Hallett Musician
  • Alys Kihl Director
  • Wonderful Beast Producer
  • Jackey Linney Costume Designer