Mayflower 400: Looking ahead to an exciting commemoration programme in 2021

Dec 31, 2020

The Mayflower 400 programme of cultural events, activity and sport will continue into 2021, commemorating the historic journey of the Mayflower.

It offers something for everyone and includes live performance, music, dance, comedy, public art, community activity, sport and much more to look forward to this coming year, culminating in July 2021 with the Mayflower Four Nations Ceremony in Plymouth as part of the Mayflower International Festival (8-11 July).

The Mayflower International Festival will feature three fantastic events across Plymouth Hoe and the waterfront to showcase this historic moment and to close the landmark 400th anniversary commemorations:

Next year offers you the chance to take part in this commemoration and to enjoy all that we have to offer, so don't miss these key event dates for your diaries:

The Rehabilitation Triathlon, hosted by the Royal Marines

Thursday, 8 July 12-5pm on Plymouth Hoe

A triathlon like no other, this event will get your adrenalin going as you see the pure determination and commitment of these outstanding athletes including Paralympian’s and Invictus Games competitors.

Over 200 participants from the UK Tri-services, United States Marine Corp, and the Netherland Marine Corps will swim, cycle and row their way to the finish.

The event will kick off with swimming in the beautiful art-deco Tinside Lido. The cycle time trials will take place across the Hoe promenade and on the roads surrounding the historic Royal Citadel. The athletes will then move onto static rowing machines on the Hoe promenade before crossing the finishing line.

The all-important awards ceremony will be held on the main stage on the Hoe that evening.

A public spectator event for the first time in its nine-year history, the Royal Marines Rehabilitation Triathlon will leave you inspired, amazed and brimming with respect.

Mayflower Muster

Saturday, 10 July on Plymouth Hoe

Daytime programme 11am - 5pm

Evening programme 5-10.30pm

The Mayflower Muster will be one of the largest and most exciting military events Plymouth has ever seen. Showcasing the most impressive, interactive military equipment, from the past, present and future, this is your chance to get up close and hands-on.

Chat to the Service personnel and Veterans who will be delighted to share their experiences with you. See how the Royal Navy uses the very latest in future technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics.

View the international war ships anchored in Plymouth Sound and prepare for the major highlight - an exhilarating ‘action movie-style’ live display that will thrill audiences as it takes place across the land, sea and air.

With a full arena and stage programme, hosting the formidable Field Gun Competition, unarmed combat displays, military bands and choirs, there will be plenty to keep the whole family engrossed and entertained all day long.

The event will finish with a free evening concert for all to enjoy. With the fabulous backdrop of Plymouth Sound, you can sing-along and dance the night away to the great selection of live music.
Full programme to be announced in 2021.

Mayflower Four Nations Ceremony

Sunday, 11 July on Plymouth Hoe from 3pm

The Four Nations Ceremony is the UK’s flagship Mayflower 400 event, and marks the closure of the international Mayflower commemorations.

This epic theatrical production with live music, song, drama and film will tell the Mayflower story from all angles, including direct from the Native American Wampanoag tribe.

At the heart of the event will be a gigantic choir of 1,000 voices accompanied by the full concert orchestra of HM Royal Marines Band, Plymouth.

Visiting Royals and dignitaries will also be taking part, reflecting on what that historical voyage means to our world today.

This will be the biggest and most internationally significant production Plymouth has ever seen. Get immersed in the storytelling, moved by the music, and engrossed in the film. Be part of history.

The Four Nations Ceremony will be preceded by a range of performances and live events throughout the day.

Full programme to be announced in 2021.

Other events and activities to book into your diaries

Mayflower 400: Legend & Legacy

Running until 18 September 2021

The Box, Plymouth

Featuring more than 300 objects drawn from museum, library and archive collections across the UK, USA and The Netherlands, Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy is an epic journal of survival, imagination and 400 years of America.

Created in partnership with the Wampanoag Advisory Committee to Plymouth 400 in Massachusetts and uses objects, images and ideas to explore early English attempts to colonise America, the exhibit acknowledge conflict with Native America and the impact of colonisation on the indigenous population.

The exhibition also discusses the context of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, details the lives of the passengers, and considers the cultural, demographic and personal legacies of the story.

Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America

8 January to 14 February at The Guildhall, London
15 May to 26 June at 
The Box, Plymouth

The ‘Stories and Shells’ exhibition is a nationally touring exhibition that will acknowledge our cultural connection to the Wampanoag people who met the Mayflower and ensured the survival of the English settlers.

It will include the commissioning of a new wampum belt, made exclusively by the Wampanoag people of the Mashpee and Aquinnah nations.

View from the Wampanoag Nation

5 to 13 June

Bassetlaw Museum, Retford

Bassetlaw Museum will welcome representatives of the Wampanoag nation, who will build a traditional wetu in the grounds of the Museum.

This will then remain as a visitor space and education resource for the 400th anniversary of the ‘first Thanksgiving’.

The visitors will showcase their heritage through art, craft, music and storytelling, and during the visit there will also be a conference entitled 'The Wampanoag Perspective', highlighting issues of acceptance, freedom and migration.

The house of Christopher Jones

Planned opening Spring

The Mayflower's Captain Christopher Jones lived and married in Harwich, Essex, before he guided the Mayflower across the Atlantic in 1620 before returning the following year on the ship. His original home still stands in the seaside town and is planned to open to the public in Spring 2021, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

The opening of the Elizabethan House

Planned opening July

The Elizabethan House on Plymouth's Barbican has stood for centuries and was one of the buildings standing when the Mayflower arrived in the maritime city. The restoration of the historic house is planned to finish in 2021 when it will open as an interactive attraction transporting visitors back through the centuries.

The 400 – Le Navet Bete

9 June to 4 July

The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth

Plymouth’s favourite funny men will be back in the city at The Drum to premier 400: A Historical Comedy commissioned by Plymouth Culture and Mayflower 400.

Expect 400 years of history in 100 minutes, from the West Country to Wild West, from the Barbican to Boston.

Great Torrington Cavaliers Mayflower 400 Bonfire & Pyromusical

28 August

The Old Bowling Green, Great Torrington

Great Torrington Cavaliers will be hosting its Mayflower 400 Bonfire & Pyromusical on Saturday, 28 August.

Unfortunately the event this year had to be postponed, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 50th anniversary bonfire will now take place in 2021.

Preparations are well under way, and the 'Mayflower' is progressing with a bit of colour, while the top of the Mayflower arch is taking shape.

With more events and activities still to be revealed, keep checking the Mayflower 400 UK website for the full programme as it is updated.

*Event dates correct at time of article

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