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Whispering Willows - a FREE family show

Wednesday 18 May 2022, 16:33
By Wassail Theatre Company

Whispering Willows perfromance photographed by Paul Blakemore

Wassail Theatre Company presents Whispering Willows: a FREE family show that is currently touring Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, and is coming to the Greening the eARTh Gallery (Clementina, 7 High Street, Wincanton, BA9 9JN) on Saturday 21st May 2022, with two 1hr performances starting at 11am and 2pm.

It’s 1929. Morris has been planting, harvesting, basket making and drinking tea on his Somerset Willow farm since before he can remember.

Every year the same pattern repeats itself. Plant, harvest, weave. Plant, harvest, weave.

One day he pulls up a particularly large piece of Willow with a girl clinging to the end of it! She eats too much, breaks everything in his workshop and is a complete nuisance. But as time moves on, they teach each other the ways of the Willow. Planting, harvesting, weaving... the cycle continues and all is well in their world until the chaos of WW2 and the invention of plastic threaten to destroy the farm and their livelihoods.

Can they find a new use for Willow before it's too late?

Whispering Willows perfromance photographed by Paul Blakemore

Whispering Willows is a non-verbal piece of theatre using music and puppetry, created especially for the people of Somerset. It transcends age, as it’s equally accessible for young children, teenagers, the older generation and everyone in between.

It is an original story, devised by Wassail in collaboration with young people and willow farming experts.

Told through the eyes of a willow farming family, against the backdrop of World War II in Somerset, the show asks:

  • What is our relationship with nature, and how does that influence how we live our lives?
  • What happens when forces outside of our control destroy that?

“Drawing from ancient legends, recent history and current issues, Whispering Willows weaves its audience into the story with humour, pathos and energy. It’s a delight.”

 - The Fine Times Recorder

“Whispering Willows is a short, playful and wordless exploration of roots, loss and homecoming that will charm both younger audiences and any adult's inner child.”

 - Bristol 24/7

“I loved all of it. Seeing the man weaving, the lady pretending to cry and the animals, also sound effects. And when we got to weave our own crowns. BEST DAY EVER!!!!”

 - Year 6 pupil

Whispering Willows perfromance photographed by Paul Blakemore


Whispering Willows is suitable for anyone aged 5+.

Given the subject matter, the links to cultural traditions in Somerset, and the nature of passing time, it is accessible for young children, grandparents and everyone in between. Because it is a non-verbal piece, we recognise that it will also have significant additional appeal to people with English as an additional language (EAL), D/deaf audiences and neurodiverse audiences with additional needs.

Audience comments

Such a spellbinding performance that at moments brought a tear or two to my eye.

“[It] took us on a beautiful journey through time, history and, ultimately, life. It was perfect for all ages - even my 3 yo stayed surprisingly quiet, and my 7 yo totally understood what was going on. You can’t beat live performance done well.”

“Experiences like this are rare and treasured.”

“A poignant, imaginative and amusing production, beautifully produced and acted.”

“It’s such a stunning play… it’s incredibly moving and so beautifully acted, it really blew me away!”

Creative team

Directed by Jesse Briton
Original music composed by Greg Hall
Set & Costume design by Julie Read
Puppet design & direction by Helen Foan
Production Manager Anthony Clements
Devised and performed by Clive Duncan and Georgia Wall


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