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25 March 2024

Brierley Hill – These things I know

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“I’m excited! I always feel like Brierley Hill (and the rest of the Black Country) is a bit of a sleeping beauty. She fell asleep some time in the mid 80s and I’m hoping that this work might finally wake her again.” – Workshop participant

Some beautiful feedback from the participants of our initial ‘Pheonix Project’ workshop in Brierley Hill March 2024

It’s rare to get the feeling you’re witnessing a planted seed begin to germinate. Spending the weekend creating with Wildworks, and a bunch of brilliant Black Country creatives, might be as close to that as you can get. Just getting to this stage is testament to the single-minded persistence of Frank Chamberlain, who apparently watched a documentary on a previous Wildworks project and said, ‘we’re going to do that here in Brierley Hill’.

I’m always a bit in awe of people who do that. Take a leap, set off on a journey with no idea where the destination is, sow seeds even though they’re not sure what was in the packet. Having spent a few days on a creative workshop produced with such care, respect, and skill by the Wildworks team, I’m confident that seed will turn out to be a giant Redwood. Apparently they are thriving these days.

Jake Oldershaw – He/him


I had a very fun and inspiring weekend with Wildworks. It was very refreshing to create and collaborate in a very relaxed, informal, and authentic way where I felt my contribution was valued. It was great to generate material from my life and the environment around me without any pressure on the quality of the end product. It felt as though the process and the safe space for everyone to be honest and brave was the focus of the work. I would love to work with Wildworks again in any capacity as their ethos, and the way they bring it to life with the community, and the space that they’re in, match each other. I wish more theatre companies worked this way!

Lorna Rose – She/her


As someone who struggles in social settings and sees this as a barrier to my creativity, I wasn’t at all sure that the RE:WILD workshop was for me. But the atmosphere was so warm and supportive that I was, almost unwittingly, coaxed out of my shell. Those two days helped me to see that we can sometimes tie ourselves in knots with self-imposed limitations. Wildworks gently and playfully undid some of those knots for me. As a result, I was able to let go of some of the self-censorship that happens to my writing between the idea and the page. I was also able to let go of some preconceived ideas about my hometown and see it with fresh eyes, finding genuine magic in the mundane.

I’m excited to see how these skills I learnt might deepen and expand my work and my relationship with the place. So, something I was worried might be an awkward experience turned out to be incredibly joyful and meaningful. The world outside my front door will always look a bit different to me now, and I will be thinking about this workshop, and be very grateful for it, for a long time to come.

That weekend was such a gift, and I wouldn’t have missed meeting you for the world. Spring is happening both literally and figuratively for me now that I’m creating again and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I’m excited too! I always feel like Brierley Hill (and the rest of the Black Country) is a bit of a sleeping beauty. She fell asleep some time in the mid 80s and I’m hoping that this work might finally wake her again.

Hannah Simpson – She/her


I was fortunate to meet Mydd along with some of the team on one of their first visits to Brierley Hill back in 2023.  Consequently I was eager to be involved in any forthcoming projects stewarded by Wildworks.

Following the submission of my Expression Of Interest for the Pheonix project I was excited to be offered a place on their weekend workshop sessions .

We received a very warm welcome at 9 am on the Saturday morning and were all invited to participate in a number of creative activities encouraging us to connect as a group – the shared participatory singing was particularly magical as we were skilfully blended into a beautifully crafted vocal ensemble. Following this we were invited to explore stories of place by collecting gifts of colour from our local landscape.

 As someone who views themselves as a facilitator and crafter, the performative element of some of the tasks – to be seen – felt slightly anxiety-inducing (which was a useful insight into the expectations we may place on others).  Every activity however became magical within our very skilfully and safely-held space. The resulting emotions – both witnessed and experienced – again served to bind our small creative community together as we each offered small moments and sensory memories. The importance of active listening, respecting silence, and filtering the narrative through an artistic perspective, resulted in beautiful gifts to each other – many of which were incorporated into our 2 final presentations.

I am full of gratitude to Frank for his vision and also to Mydd, Vicky, Amy and Mercedes for such a beautiful opportunity to explore Wildworks’ methodologies of gathering stories and sharing them through performance.

The weekend felt truly transformative . I have so many ideas to explore and lots to ponder on. I have also begun to find the courage to sing and write and perform after many years of their absence.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this magical experience.

Deb McDonald – She/her


As a part time creative – I sometimes feel slightly unworthy of the title ‘artist’ and wondered if I would be out of my depth at the RE:WILD workshops. It is a testament to the skill of Mydd, Vicky, Amy and Mercedes that, from the beginning, I felt at so at ease and despite my fears – as deserving as my fellow participants to be there.

The Wildworks team set an atmosphere of calm, of psychological safety and of such positive regard that meant we could allow ourselves to be vulnerable, authentic and creative in ways that were sometimes out of our comfort zone. There were challenges I thought I could not rise to, especially when time was limited – but I actually shocked myself by writing a half decent poem within 15minutes! Wildworks’ techniques for drawing out gifts of art, story, poetry and song from people are deceptively simple and accessible, belying the complexity, beauty and depth of emotion they evoke. It was so interesting to ‘peer behind the curtains’ at the foundations of their theatre productions.

The notion of ‘gifts’ was a theme that weaved throughout the whole weekend – gifts we could create from and in response to the various venues and landscapes we were working in; including found items, the written word and the sounds/voices around us. Gifts to a loved one and to each other as participants. This fostered a generosity of spirit and bonding between everyone – a gift that will stay with me forever. There was laughter, there were tears and it really does not feel too whimsical to say that there was magic!

Kim Archer – She/her


Outside of the studio



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