Major cultural programme celebrating the international significance of the sailing of the Mayflower announced

Mayflower 400 commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship sailing to America in 1620 a significant voyage that unites the UK, America and the Netherlands.
Thirteen towns and cities from all three countries will work together, creating a huge programme of events and activities in the run-up to and throughout 2020, themed around the four key Mayflower values: freedom, imagination, humanity and future.
The Art of the Possible gives people in cities across the UK to consider the meaning of the ship that set sail from the Mayflower steps some 400 years ago.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “We’re proud to be working closely with the Mayflower 400 team and to be strengthening cultural connections with our American partners from the Wampanoag community and British consulate in Massachusetts – these connections will help to boost the flow of talent that is so crucial to the arts and creative industries, one of the fasted growing economic sectors in England.
 ‘The Art of the Possible’ cultural programme was announced at the end of November and will receive £700,000 of National Lottery investment, including:
Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America, one of the first commissions, acknowledging the UKs connection to the Wampanoag people
A large-scale community theatre production inspired by the Mayflower story written by local writer Nick Stimson, directed by Slung Low’s Alan Lane with songs written and performed by Seth Lakeman
An amazing outdoor spectacle around Plymouth city centre, Plymouth Hoe and the Mayflower Steps –  where the ship set sail 400 years ago
There are a host of other arts and cultural projects linked to the Mayflower 400 commemorations, many which have been supported through Government and National Lottery funding distributed by the Arts Council.  These include Street Factory CIC’s ‘Root’s Up!’, a Plymouth based hip hop company and are recognised for their work with young and disadvantaged people, who will co-ordinate a mass dance.  Barbican Theatre and Le Navet Bête will be working in partnership on a comedy theatre piece looking at the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the USA.  The Box, Plymouth’s new museum and gallery and a member of Arts Council’s National Portfolio, will open in 2020 with the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition, with artefacts that will bring the Mayflower story to life through objects, images and ideas from both sides of the Atlantic.

Plymouth is leading the Mayflower 400 programme with the other eleven towns and cities to create a Mayflower Trail, encouraging visitors from the US to explore the UK,boosting tourism outside of London and allowing us to analyse and reflect on our collective history.  The twelve places linked to the Mayflower are: Boston, Lincolnshire; Leiden, Holland; Scrooby and Babworth; Austerfield, Doncaster; Dartmouth; Gainsborough; Harwich, Essex; Immingham; Plymouth, England; Southwark, London; Southampton; Worcestershire.

The Art of the Possible cultural programme will benefit from £700, 000 of Arts Council National Lottery funding, creating unprecedented opportunities for people in cities across the UK, to consider afresh the meaning of the ship that set sail from the Mayflower steps some 400 years ago."

Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400, said: “Plymouth’s programme for 2020 is looking truly spectacular and we’re excited to be revealing more details. Thanks to support from Arts Council England, Plymouth City Council and the government, it will go a long way to cement Plymouth’s reputation internationally as a major city of culture.”
Pete Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “Mayflower 400 offers amazing opportunities for Plymouth, which played an important role in the original journey nearly 400 years ago. During the next two years, the commemorations will have a positive impact on the city, attracting more visitors and giving every local person the chance to get involved.
Photo credit:  Arts Council representatives; Adrian Vinkin, Chair of Mayflower 400 with members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Community at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts 
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