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Written by Steve Hennessy

15 Oct 2002 to 26 Oct 2002
Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol

06 Jan 2004 to 31 Jan 2004
Finborough Theatre, London

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Part of the 'Lullabies of Broadmoor' sequence* which also includes 'Venus at Broadmoor', 'The Murder Club' and 'The Demon Box'.

* All four plays can be staged and seen separately.

William Chester Minor (1834 - 1920) served as a surgeon in the U.S. Union Army during the American Civil War. Terrible experiences there weakened an already fragile mind and the Army pensioned him off. He came to live in London where he walked out of his lodgings in Lambeth on 17th February 1872 and shot a complete stranger dead. The man was George Merrett, a furnace stoker at the local brewery. Minor was imprisoned in Broadmoor for the next thirty-eight years. While there he became deeply involved in the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary. Eliza, the widow of his murder victim visited him for a number of years and, although illiterate herself, brought him books from London for his Dictionary work.

'Wilderness' was the first co - production between the Stepping Out Theatre Company and leading local company Theatre West. A second production of the play with a different cast toured to the Finborough Theatre in 2004 as part of a double bill entitled 'Lullabies of Broadmoor'.

The complete text of this play featured in the Summer 2003 issue of 'Plays International' magazine along with photos by Ian Wilmot.

A video of this production in a special souvenir case is available from Stepping Out Theatre Company priced at £10 (includes package and posting).


Bristol Production

Dr. William Chester Minor - Chris Jackson
Mr. Coleman - Jason Stapleton
George Merrett - Marco Rossi
Eliza Merrett - Sara Brooks

London Production

Dr. William Chester Minor - Chris Courtenay
Mr. Coleman - Marc Danbury
George Merrett - Andy Michell
Eliza Merrett - Natalie Hobday


Bristol Production

Director - Cheryl Douglas
Production Assistant - Jan Prior
Design - Ann Stiddard
Set Construction - Colin Williams/Lynden Lewis
Lighting - Tim Bartlett
Costumes - Penn O'Gara

London Production

Director - Caitriona McLaughlin
Producer - Steve Hennessy
Design - Colin Williams
Lighting - Tim Bartlett
Costumes - Penn O'Gara
Sound - Hoxa Sound
Photography - Ian Wilmot


"Powerfully performed, in Catriona McLaughlin's absorbing and atmospheric production . . The result is a piquant mix of witty Gothic ghoulishness and serious moral questioning"
 Paul Taylor, The Independent

"Steve Hennessy's double-bill of plays is clever, competent, and skilfully performed"
 Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

"Steve Hennessy's fine play ... profound and unsettling ... tongue-in-cheek 'love' scenes are brilliantly played... A tightly constructed plot keeps you hanging on to the dreadfully symbolic end."
 Matt Warner, The Telegraph Online

"every character is created with care and finely executed . . This is a consistently interesting, though harrowing evening."
 Derek Smith, The Stage

"A most wonderful story. Hennessy's writing is great too, wonderful three dimensional characters . . plenty of humour."
 Vicky Frost, Bristol Evening Post


Stepping Out Theatre
13 Creedwell Orchard

Registered Charity (CIO) 1179310 (since July 2018), Formerly Charity 1117912 (since February 2007)

m. 07896 684097

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