Wilde Shadows

Working with Nature Nurture on this project was a delight. We asked Natalie Ganpatsingh founder of Nature Nurture to tell us a bit about their involvement in the project.
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“Back in Summer 2015, Stephen Fry delivered an incredible lecture in Reading Town Hall. I learnt so much about Oscar Wilde and that very night, I came up with the idea of ‘Wilde in the Wild’.
Wilde Shadows is the second of 3 Wilde projects we’re planning for 2016. In January we were received a Cultural Partnership grant for Project 1:  ‘Wilde Workshops’ in partnership with Reading Museum. I collaborated with local Theatre Maker Benedict Sandiford to run drama and art workshops and all the children were involved in bringing to life ‘The Selfish Giant’ through a puppet show. As if by magic, Ben acted in the 1997 film ‘Wilde’ with Stephen Fry who played Oscar.
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Suzanne asked whether Nature Nurture would like to get involved with Walking Words I was so excited and knew that the Oscar Wilde panel was the one for us. The ideas and artwork created by the ‘Wilde Workshops’ children fed into the devising of Project 2: The outdoor ‘Wilde Shadows’  show performed beside the prison walls in Chestnut Walk. This little know tranquil walkway is located beside the Kennet and commemorates Oscar Wilde. Local creative carpenter Bill Matthews built a bespoke shadow puppet screen and we brought on board musician and actress Jude Haste. On arrival everyone was offered a hot drink and despite being a chilly winter evening, the intrepid audience turned up, including many young children.
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Project 3: Our most ambitious yet – an outdoor spectacular ‘The Selfish Giant’ performed on the grounds of Reading University in Autumn 2016. Planning and fundraising is taking place for our finale event involving local puppet and automaton makers Red Van Man, shadow film maker Alex Hall of Pebble Illustration, Beautiful Creatures Theatre Arts  and Director Benedict Sandiford. Watch this space…
Our Wilde Projects  seek to raise the profile of Reading’s most famous literary genius and in doing so, support The Museum of Reading in bringing history alive for local people.

Sadly, Oscar Wilde’s links to Reading are little known around the town and if asked, many people respond with knowledge of his infamous imprisonment rather than his literary and philosophical genius.

Our vision is to raise the profile of Oscar Wilde in Reading and to bring his children’s stories to life through creativity, providing an accessible learning and creative experience for the families involved and the wider community.”

Nature Nurture CIC, established 5 hears ago is on a mission to connect people with the wild spaces on our doorstep. We run wild workshops for nursery and primary schools in Reading and train teachers to take learning outside the classroom and into the wild. We love to engage communities with Reading’s green spaces through ‘Family Wild Days’  and believe creativity can be the key. We often work with musicians, artists, sculptors  and theatre makers as well as Forest School Leaders, conservationists and environmental educators.  The story of the Selfish Giant is a manifestation of our mission; the giant, just like any adult, holds the key to enabling children to spend time in the wild. Children are the future custodians of our precious planet, and when children and nature and connected, they both thrive.