400th anniversary of Doncaster pioneers voyage to America to be celebrated

The 400th anniversary of a group of pilgrims from Doncaster who made a historic voyage to discover the new world of America will be celebrated with a spectacular stage show this summer.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:15 pm
The event will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage.

This July, the major international Mayflower 400 commemoration event will take place on Plymouth Hoe - and free tickets are available to book now.

Having been postponed from the original anniversary date of 16 September due to the pandemic, the Mayflower 400 Four Nations Ceremony will now take place on Sunday 11 July on the biggest stage Plymouth Hoe has ever seen.

The ceremony is the UK’s flagship Mayflower 400 event and a grand finale to the commemorations.

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The 70 metre stage will host an epic production, which tells the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ journey in search of religious freedom and explores the impact of this on the world.

A massive array of singers representing choirs and schools from throughout the region will be accompanied by the full concert orchestra of HM Royal Marines Band Plymouth.

Together they will perform brand new music, accompanied by actors on stage and bespoke film footage all narrated to tell this unique story.

The script and lyrics have been written by Nick Stimson, Associate Director at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, with music by Chris Williams.

Mayflower 400 is the four-hundred-year commemoration of the voyage of this historic ship, passengers and crew, to America in 1620.

Prior to the Mayflower’s departure from Plymouth, Mayflower history was written in many towns and cities - each of them detailed in the Mayflower trail.

The trail includes Austerfield, Scrooby & Babworth near Doncaster as well as Gainsborough, Boston, Immingham, Worcestershire, Chorley, Dorking, Leiden, Holland, Harwich, Rotherhithe, City of London, Southampton, Dartmouth, Plymouth and Plymouth, USA.

For the first time ever, this commemoration event will include leading representatives of the Native American Wampanoag tribes, who have historically been excluded from the narrative despite having been greatly affected by the Mayflower’s arrival and subsequent European settlement.

All four nations involved in the story – the UK, USA, Netherlands and the Wampanoag tribes – will be represented by high-ranking dignitaries who will speak during the ceremony and reflect on what the historical voyage means for the world today.

Adrian Vinken OBE, Chair of Mayflower 400, said: “This is the major moment for the international Mayflower 400 commemorations and the culmination of all the activity that’s been taking place around the world to mark this significant global anniversary.

“Nothing like this has been done in Plymouth before, bringing together all four nations to tell the story that has had a profound impact on global history. It’s going to be a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime event so I’d urge people to book their tickets quickly.”

The event is being ticketed to safeguard against Covid-19 precautions, with all tickets free. Tickets must be booked prior to entry.

Gates will open at 1pm on the day, with the ceremony taking place from 3pm to approximately 4.30pm. There will be activity taking place on stage from 2pm, food and drink stands and toilets.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and drink with them, as well as blankets or camping chairs as seating will not be provided.

Free tickets are available to book now at: visitplymouth.co.uk/mayflower400ceremony.