Born to be Wilde 1997/98

An Oscar Wilde Tour of the US

Quadrant Productions The Show Cyril Holland Wilde Revival The Tour Contact

Quadrant Productions

James Walker and Ed Boase are both 18 years old and are students in their A-Level year at Radley College, Oxford, where they formed Quadrant Productions in 1995. Their first success came at the 1996 Edinburgh festival, where they performed Frank McGuinness' Someone Who'll Watch over Me to considerable acclaim ('Strong, credible and profoundly moving' ­ The Scotman). Since then they have recently made their first film, Taboo, which stars Desmond Llewelyn ('Q' from the James Bond films and most recently Goldeneye), a 40 min. feature which they hope will be screened on HTV or BBC Wales (the film uses a Welsh castle as its location). The film, which was directed by Ed Boase and written and acted by James Walker, has attracted considerable press attention from, among others, The Western Mail, The Times and the BBC World Service. Taboo is due to receive its World Premier at the Phoenix Cinema in Oxford on 28 June, 1997.

The Show

Quadrant Productions are now writing a one-man show based on Oscar Wilde's son, Cyril Holland, and intend to tour it around the US from September 1997 to February 1998. The show will run for approximately 1 hr. 15 mins. and will be acted by James Walker whilst Ed Boase shall direct and produce the show. The show approaches Wilde from an entirely unexplored theatrical angle: not what it was like to be Oscar Wilde, but what it was like to be the son of Oscar Wilde. What was it like to have a father who was the darling of society, always in the public eye whilst at the same time leading an extraordinary homosexual double life? Then what was it like to have that father suddenly torn away from you at such a tender age to be shunned by society, forced into foreign exile and uncomprehending shame? The script will attempt to find the child in Wilde, drawing from his largely unrecognised Fairy Stories and extraordinarily imaginative prose poems.

Cyril Holland

One of Wilde's two sons, Cyril Holland, came to Radley College (where Quadrant are based) in 1899 and left in 1903. However, in 1899, Wilde was so disgraced that Cyril took his mother Constance's maiden name in order to avoid recognition. It was not in fact until the 1950's that Cyril Holland was even acknowledged in the Radley Register as the son of Oscar Wilde. The Radley Archives have shown how deeply Cyril was tainted by the secrecy and ill-repute of the Wilde name, and after his father's death in 1900 he seems to have been on a quest to prove his manhood in defiance of his fathers supposedly effeminate aestheticism. It is hoped that the traditional American fascination with the British Public School system, coupled with the fact that Quadrant come from the same school as Wilde's offspring should interest American audiences.

Wilde Revival

Most of the English speaking world is on the brink of a huge Oscar Wilde revival at this very moment, with plays such as Lady Windermere's Fan running at the West End, along with Simon Callow's one-man show entitled The Importance of being Oscar. Quadrant met with Simon Callow to discuss Born to be Wilde and as a Wilde scholar, Simon Callow thought that the new angle the show proposed on Wilde was fascinating, and he put Quadrant in contact with Merlin Holland, both a personal friend of Callow's and the grandson of Oscar Wilde. Meanwhile, in the US The Trials of Oscar Wilde is running off-Broadway to great acclaim and is expected to extend its run, whilst the single biggest trigger will be a film of Wilde's life which comes out in September and stars Stephen Fry as Wilde himself. Simon Callow has predicted that the Oscar Wilde revival will be comparable to the Austen euphoria generated by the literary world last year. In view of all these facts, it is quite possible that Born to be Wilde might just tap into a rich vein at just the right time..

The Tour

Oscar Wilde undertook a lecture tour of the US from January-October 1882 following the recent success of his plays, including Vera. He was aged 28 when he embarked on the tour, which means that as Quadrant retrace his steps across America, they will be doing so 115 years later and 10 years younger than Wilde himself was. The show will travel across the US and will be performed in the same theatres, schools, bars and cultural societies that Wilde himself visited.

For further information, contact Quadrant Productions at:

Quadrant Productions The Show Cyril Holland Wilde Revival The Tour Contact
Quadrant Productions Homepage
August 1997
26 Vancouver
September 1997
12 Leave Vancouver
15 Sacramento
16 Arrive San Francisco
24 Leave San Francisco
25 Palo Alto
26 Santa Barbara
27 Arrive Los Angeles
October 1997
25 Leave Los Angeles
27 Las Vegas
28 Grand Canyon
31 Arrive Navajo Indian Reservation
November 1997
12 Leave Navajo Indian Reservation
16 San Antonio
17 Houston
20 Arrive New Orleans
December 1997
5 Leave New Orleans
7 Memphis
10 St. Louis
11 Springfield
13 Bloomington
15 Chicago
19 Fort Wayne
21 Detroit
23 Arrive Ann Arbor
27 Leave Ann Arbor
27 Hamilton
28 Arrive Toronto
January 1998
7 Leave Toronto
8 Niagara Falls
10 Buffalo
14 Arrive Washington DC
24 Leave Washington DC
25 Baltimore
27 Philadelphia
28 Atlantic City
30 Arrive New York (Babylon, Long Island, Long Beach)
February 1998
10 Leave New York
11 New Haven (Yale)
12 End of Tour
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