Last week, to coincide with Thanksgiving, we announced details of Mayflower 400, a year-long four-nations programme involving the UK, USA, Netherlands and Wampanoag. Mayflower 400 will commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the Mayflower departing the UK for the ‘new world’ of America in September 1620 and explore its legacy.
The Wampanoag Nation, who have inhabited present day Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island for more than 12,000 years, and wider Native American nations are central to Mayflower 400. Through collaborative projects including a Theatre Royal Plymouth production, This Land; a The Box commission, Wampum Belt; and contemporary art installation Settlement, they will tell the story of the Mayflower and the impact of its arrival in their own words.
Throughout the year ahead, Mayflower 400 will bring a world class public art and cultural programme to 13 destinations across the UK with links to the Mayflower story, including Austerfield, Scrooby & Babworth, Gainsborough, Boston, Immingham, Worcestershire, Chorley, Harwich, Southwark, City of London, Southampton, Dartmouth and Plymouth.
Plymouth was the Mayflower’s final departure point in the UK and the city is the lead partner in the commemorations. We marked the programme announcement with a press trip to Plymouth for national and international press (including The Observer, La Repubblica, RFI and EFE) for a briefing on highlights from the year ahead. Media were also treated to a preview of Illuminate 2019 – a free, spectacular light festival enjoyed by the public last weekend.