I cannot believe how fast this past year has gone by. It has been a busy year full of exciting firsts for the Wildwood Theatre. We have been so lucky to begin building a community of people who are as passionate about The Wildwood Theatre as we are. The mission of the Wildwood asks us to create safe spaces where individuals can feel comfortable to ask personal questions, explore feelings, investigate social norms, and excavate truth. All of this is in hope that we can cultivate a culture of empathy, and we believe community is so important for that. When we can sit in those spaces and hear stories from each other, in order to look at ourselves more closely.
This past year, the Wildwood hosted multiple events to allow us to hear real stories from one another. Our community round-tables allowed people to come together and talk about mental health and mental illness. We partnered with our friends at Intertwine NE for our two part “What’s Your Story” event where we were able to examine the stories that define us. We also were able to partner with our friends at Broken Clock Brewery for our Mental Health Awareness event “What’s Your Self Care” and our first annual Autumn Opal Festival. I’ll talk more about that a little bit later.
This April, we produced our first production, Spontaneous Combustion. After a year of saying we are a theatre company, we were humbled to have been able to be just that with the support of our donors. Theatre can create the safe place to tell stories of being vulnerable and allow us to connect with characters and discuss difficult parts of ourselves through the characters we see on stage.
The Wildwood Theatre is a bridge between the theatrical world, which has long been examining the impacts of mental illness, and the community which is impacted every day by mental health struggles. Our work on stage is irrelevant if we don’t also create a platform for people who feel marginalized or shame because of their stories. That is why we are so excited that we were able to announce Tales from the Wood, a new series that allows people to share their story of mental illness in their own voice. ACowSay Cinema graciously partnered with us and filmed our first stories which will launch soon on Patreon.
As we continue to move forward, we want to continue to be the bridge to help our audiences move towards empathy and acceptance. However, this is not possible without continued financial support from our community. At our Autumn Opal Festival, we launched our Patreon Page which allows supporters to give throughout the year and receive perks like free Wildwood Finery and tickets to our productions. We are also preparing to celebrate Give to the Max Day 2018 which is this Thursday, November 15. Last year many of you gave your support to the Wildwood as we asked "What Beckons Ye to the Wood?"
Over the last 12 months, many people have shared why they were called to the wood. This Thursday, we will be sharing stories of why people were called to the Wildwood and how the Wildwood Theatre has impacted them this past year. These stories are what bring the Wildwood to life and allow us to continue to engage with audiences and the community. I’m looking forward to sharing stories from this past year!