A photo of a group of students dressed in costumes to perform a play in a historic house

Congratulations to the LMH cast of The Woodcutter, or The Three Wishes, a lost 18th century family comedy reimagined and brought to life by our talented and creative students.

After a sell-out premiere in the Simpkins-Lee Theatre at LMH last Saturday, the cast and crew spent a week on tour, staging the play at its origin locations of Wimpole Hall near Cambridge and Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.

The Woodcutter was written by Elizabeth Countess of Hardwicke to entertain the family at Wimpole Hall over the Christmas period in 1797. It tells the story of Hodge, a lazy, obstinate woodcutter, who is unexpectedly granted three wishes by Oberon, King of the Fairies. Granted with such power, can Hodge make the right decision? The Woodcutter is a prime example of shared literary connections – first written for performance at Wimpole Hall in 1797, it was later performed at Wrest Park in 1849, this time by the grandchildren of the original 'Hodge' - Thomas Robinson, Earl de Grey. 

The performances of this previously lost play drew positive audience feedback, with one student commenting: “we had a blast!”. Which is perhaps not a surprise – the play’s big comic surprise involves a large eel! 

The production, sponsored by LMH and by TORCH, came about through a collaboration between Oxford, the National Trust and English Heritage, led by LMH's Professor Christine Gerrard and Dr Jemima Hubberstey.

Students in costume relax while preparing for a performance of their play in a large stately home