Illuminate & Thanksgiving 2016 is a fun but truly symbolic partnership community arts and heritage Mayflower 400 event.
History and Significance
Through Mayflower 400 we are commemorating 400 years in 2020 since the intrepid voyage of the pilgrims in 1620 from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts, U.S on the Mayflower ship. This journey became significant in the founding of the United States of America and its core values of freedom and democracy which to this day are a beacon of hope to many people around the world. The light symbolism at the heart of Illuminate is epitomised in this quote by one of the pilgrims, William Bradford, who become Governor of Plymouth Plantation:
'Just as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many’.
Photo: Fiona Evans
Native American Theme and Event Elements
This year Illuminate/Thanksgiving is focussing on a Wampanoag Native American story. The Wampanoag were the tribe who supported the pilgrims on their arrival in the New World and whose lands included Plymouth, New England when the Mayflower landed. Without their support, it is doubtful whether the pilgrims would have survived to reap their first harvest, which is celebrated as Thanksgiving.
On 24th November, we will transport you to a magical world; part parade and part performance where community groups, schools and colleges transform themselves into imaginary tribes.
Following a ceremony starting at 4.45pm with speeches, poetry, music and song at the Mayflower Steps, these tribes will process at 5.40pm from Commerical Wharf on the Barbican to the Guildhall telling the tale of Moshup the Giant as they go through illuminated costumes, lanterns and theatre. This extraordinary character is central to the culture of the Wampanoag. Moshup is believed to have been a benevolent being of gigantic frame and supernatural power, so enormous that he caught whales with his bare hands. Come and meet him! The parade will pass nearby Plymouth Arts Centre where there will be projections against its wall before arriving at the Guildhall where you will be treated to a further fantastical digital projection display against the building at 6.30pm!
Photo: Fiona Evans
What Impact will Illuminate/Thanksgiving have?
- It will provide inspirational, inclusive and creative opportunities and examplars for children, young people and communities who often don't have access to these forms of self-expression, arts and community participation. These can lead to improved well-being, confidence and community cohesion.
- It will raise awareness about the Mayflower 400 story and the importance and role of Plymouth UK in this, leading to increased civic pride and a sense of ownership in our city's amazing history leading up to 2020.
- It will build international and national understanding by connecting us to our partners across the Atlantic in Massachusetts as well as in the other Mayflower compact partner locations in the UK and Holland which are all integral to the Mayflower story. Many of these partners will also be holding Illuminate events.
Photo: Georgia Hare
Why are we raising money?
We are raising money for the ceremony (band, production), parade (school and community workshop costs including materials, artist facilitators and transport) and projection display (school and student workshops, technical expertise and equipment). Once we get to 25% of our target figure (£2500 ) it is likely that Plymouth City Council will pledge in 50% of our target figure as match funding - i.e. £5000 - so getting the first £2500 is all-important! Please believe in us to get to that stage! This year (Illuminate's 3rd year in Plymouth) we are making it bigger and better than ever in order to reach more people and this is why we need your help! We have a co-production ethos behind our project which means that most of it (e.g. the video, photos, costumes, lanterns, projections, ceremony) has been produced in partnership with communities, schools and students from Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University.
Photo: Georgia Hare
Lipson Cooperative Academy
"I had the most amazing experience working with the Illuminate team last year. They supported my students in the technique of making illuminated sculptures and gave them the confidence to produce their own work. The evening was a fantastic culmination of all their hard work and we had great fun parading through the Barbican with the sculpture. It was a great evening of sharing. Where we had over made some things there were people to hold or wear them, and the students were able to meet and learn from others. It helped some students with their A level work. They adopted techniques into their own finished pieces and many included Illuminate on their CVs. The parents who came to drop their children off stayed to join in which made it a real family event. It left us all wanting to know when the next one was." - Debbie Sweet, 6th Form Leader & Art and Textile Teacher
High View School
"It was really good because I liked how crafty and decorative it was. My favourite part was the sticking and knowing we were going to wear our costumes in the parade." - Sienna
"I really enjoyed sticking the colourful tissue paper. Also, I am really looking forward to the parade. Soraya was very kind and was great at explaining to us what we had to do." - Mia
"I really enjoyed when we were covering the dragon fly tail and sticking the shiny pieces on. Soraya was really nice and she is a very talented artist so it was great to get to work with her." - Lillie
"My favourite part was when we were covering the wings in paint. I liked this because it was very messy. Soraya helped me by teaching me a technique of how to paint."- Dylan R
"The children have thoroughly enjoyed the project so far. We are all immensely excited about the parade and getting to wear the costumes that we have made ourselves. Working with an artist has been an incredible experience for all children and something that they will always remember. We are so pleased to have been able to be a part of this fantastic opportunity." –All the yr 3/4 teachers at High View
Who are we?
We are a broad partnership of Plymouth Culture, Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, Plymouth University, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth College of Art, RIO, Plymouth History Centre, Arts Council England, Plymouth Arts Centre and Plymouth Waterfront Partnership. More are welcome! For more information, please see http://madeinplymouth.co.uk/stories/, http://www.mayflower400uk.com, https://www.facebook.com/madeinplymouth/, https://www.facebook.com/plymouthculture/, @PlymouthUK2020, @Mayflower400UK, #Illuminate2016, #Mayflower400.