Wednesday 8 July 2009

Wookey Hole wants a resident witch and is prepared to pay handsomely

Wanted: Old hag. Must like cats, have a convincing cackle, be prepared to wear rags and live in the dark.

No, it is not a lonely hearts advertisement from a dating agency for witches and wizards but the qualifications for a job which will earn the successful candidate £50,000 a year at one of Britain’s leading tourist attractions.

Wookey Hole, a complex of caves near Wells in Somerset, is looking for a resident witch. The advertisement placed in a Jobcentre and local papers states that it is open to men, women and transsexuals, in order to comply with sexual discrimination laws.

Local legend says the original Wookey witch was turned to stone when a Catholic monk, sent by the Abbot of Glastonbury, splashed her with holy water. A large, vaguely witch-shaped stalagmite in one of the caves is said to be her petrified remains.

Now Wookey wants an actor/guide to bring the character to life at weekends and in school holidays. The successful applicant should also expect to be busy at Hallowe’en.

Daniel Medley, general manager of Wookey Hole Caves, said: “Wookey Hole wants the appointee to go about her everyday business as a hag, so that people passing through the caves can get a sense of what the place was like in the Dark Ages. This was when an old woman lived in the caves with some goats and a dog, causing a variety of social ills including crop failures and disease.

“The job is straightforward: live in the cave, be a witch, and do the things witches do.”

Applicants will have to work when required, which may also include tours to publicise the attraction. Auditions are being held this month when applicants’ costume and character, as well as the ability to perform witch-like tasks, will be assessed.

Mr Medley added: “Wookey Hole is advertising nationally and hopes to attract a strong field of candidates, with the £50,000 salary serving as a major incentive. Ambitious witches, looking for a key career move, should turn up dressed for work and bring any essential witch accoutrements. A limited range of potion ingredients will be available.

“We are witchless at the moment so we need to get the role filled as soon as possible. The successful applicant will need to like dark, enclosed spaces, be good around a cauldron, enjoy the company of cats and have a good cackle. We are looking for someone who is friendly, a little mischievous and with lots of character.”

The advert for the role goes on: “Wookey Hole HR has been advised that, under sexual discrimination law, unless it can provide documentary proof that the original witch was female, it can’t issue a gender-specific job description. Since Wookey Hole can’t furnish the required, legally binding proof, it has had to accept that the post might eventually be awarded to a man.”

Interviews will take place on Tuesday, July 28.

TimesOnline Article: HERE

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