The Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400 project

by Katie Green in Retford, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 14th May 2019 we successfully raised £770 with 33 supporters in 42 days

Support our dance and heritage project commemorating the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from the UK to America

by Katie Green in Retford, England, United Kingdom

Who we are

Made By Katie Green specialises in creating danced responses to museums and heritage sites – work that is unexpected, memorable, moving, enjoyable and encourages people to reconsider their place in the world today by putting themselves in the footsteps of people who have come before.

Most recently, we have shared Beneath Our Feet, our promenade work for caves and underground spaces, with 6 sites across the UK.

“Stunning evocative performance by Made By Katie Green at Kents Cavern tonight. Live music, storytelling, dance, sound, theatre in a 385 million year old venue. Wonderful.” (audience feedback)

We have shared our original version of The Imagination Museum with 29 museums across the UK since 2013, created new work Choreographing The Collection for Dulwich Picture Gallery, worked on the Exploring Objects Sharing Cultures project with the British Museum and The Freedom Game (commemorating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta) with Surrey Arts. We have reached more than 12,000 people through our work in these locations. 

The Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400 project

“I thought it was fabulous, really moving” 

“the reaction was amazing last night! The children sat in front of us nearly fell out of their seats they were so excited…so innovative and visual.” 

(audience feedback from test performances for ‘The Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400’)

Our next Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400 project will be a new danced response to the Mayflower’s historic journey from the UK to America in 1620, finding out more about the passengers who set sail in the hope of establishing a new colony and beginning a new life. We are particularly interested in exploring the perspectives of people on board whose stories are seldom told, such as the women and children.

The Mayflower story is one of determination, of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We're looking for your help to bring this story and this project to 5000 people across 3 Hubs in Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Plymouth over the next 2 years, including many people who won't have experienced anything like this before. Read on to find out more...

On-site in Southampton; photographer Owen Benson; dancers Sarah Blanc, Megan Griffiths, Lucy Starkey


It will take place over the next 2 years, starting in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire (in the Pilgrim Roots area), the birthplace of many of the key figures on board the ship.

"Having the Imagination Museum coming to the Pilgrim Roots region is really exciting for us. I’m really hoping it will be able to engage with young people, people who are perhaps already interested in dance, but also other people who might not have heard of a project like this before. They’ll learn about the Pilgrim story and they’ll get a chance hopefully to be part of the project as well." (Anna Scott, Pilgrim Roots Regional Partnership)

Test performances in St Swithun's Church, Retford; photographer Steve Hatton; dancers Sarah Blanc, Megan Griffiths, Lucy Starkey

It will then move to Hampshire (particularly Aldershot, Fareham and Christchurch), where the two groups of passengers who would ultimately make the crossing to America were together in Southampton aboard the Speedwell and the Mayflower.

On-site in Southampton; photographer Owen Benson; dancers Sarah Blanc, Megan Griffiths, Lucy Starkey

The project will end in Plymouth where, after they had to abandon one of their ships, the two groups of passengers were all finally forced together onto the Mayflower, facing an arduous 66 day journey to America in cramped conditions.

"This is a continuation of our relationship with Made By Katie Green, and it fits as part of our overall strategy for how The Box will work which is very much as a cultural Hub for the city. Our approach is to experiment with different modes of delivery, so it’s perfect in that sense" (Adam Milford, The Box, Plymouth)

A very wet site-visit to the Barbican area of Plymouth with Dance Engagement Practitioners Kane John Mills and Kaitlyn Howlett!; photographer Roswitha Chesher


The project will consist of a series of performances, workshops, discussion events and more intensive periods of creation and rehearsal with community groups, taking place at a range of over 20 venues such as schools, shopping centres, historic sites, museums, galleries and community centres from 2019-20. As we start confirming the details of all the activities we’ll be sharing them via the What’s On page of our new Imagination Museum website.

So there will be multiple ways that people of all ages, experiences and abilities can get involved in the project, and we’re going to try to engage around 5000 people through our programme of performances and workshops, all, we hope, having the opportunity to access the project for free. 

This is a really ambitious project for us and we need your help!

How your donation will help

We have been successful in receiving a grant through the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring programme. However this grant is conditional on us raising an additional £70,000 of funding from other sources - a really challenging task - including £4,000 through Crowdfunding.

Any contribution you can make to help us reach our £4,000 Crowdfunding total – that’s less than £1 for every one of those 5000 people we’re hoping to engage through the project - will enable us to unlock over £90,000 of support, and will therefore have a massive impact on the project. 

We will use your contribution specifically to help us to cover the costs of putting together final celebration performances in each of our Hubs; the point at which we will essentially hand over the project to each local community. We will do this in different ways in the different areas where we’ll be working, collaborating with local people to create and rehearse their own danced responses to the themes brought up by the Mayflower story such as determination, resilience, travelling, memories, but also integrating their voices as part of the sound score, speaking and singing, encouraging them to help us write the content for these celebration performances, and filming and photographing with a view to creating a record of the project that could potentially be exhibited at our partner heritage sites in the future.

Test performances in St Swithun's Church, Retford; photographer Steve Hatton; dancers Sarah Blanc, Megan Griffiths, Lucy Starkey

All of this will be done in collaboration with our wonderful team of local artists (meet them here), who will also be mentored to carry on their own work with dance and heritage beyond the end of the project in each area.

"We wanted to develop a team of freelance dance practitioners who could train to work around dance and heritage and who could then in the long term support the development and the work of The Box. Kane has been involved with youth dance in Plymouth all through his childhood, trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and then returned to Plymouth to work as a freelance dance practitioner. Kaitlyn came to us as a student at the University of Plymouth and graduated just over 18 months ago, then becoming an intern for Plymouth Dance and Exim Dance, continuing to develop her practice." (June Gamble, Plymouth Dance)

In rehearsal with Plymouth Dance Engagement Practitioners Kane John Mills and Kaitlyn Howlett; photographer Roswitha Chesher

Why is this work important?

“Fantastic, changed the way I thought museums could be made exciting, playful, vibrant and inclusive. Animated historical facts through high quality art”

"My children (and I) were mesmerised! An amazing opportunity to introduce children to dance, architecture, artefacts and history in an engaging way.” (audience feedback)

We know from the work we’ve done previously in museums and heritage sites that our work with dance and heritage brings us into contact with audiences who have never seen dance before, never visited their local museum or heritage site before and a proportion (information we’ve collected in the past suggests it’s about 13% for us), for whom our performance is their first cultural experience.

Our main aim for the Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400 project is to continue engaging new audiences for dance and heritage, bringing high quality dance performance to people of all ages and experiences, including people who haven’t seen anything like this before. 

"I think it will be an opportunity to engage people who haven’t come to the museum before, haven’t participated in any kind of dance as an art form before and to bring that together in the museums space not just for the participants but also for our visitors and our volunteers to engage with that, I think that’s going to be really exciting." (Laura Bullivant, Red House Museum and Gardens)

Test performances in Gainsborough United Reformed Church; photographer Steve Hatton; dancers Sarah Blanc, Megan Griffiths, Lucy Starkey

However, we also know from the preparation work we’ve been doing in our 3 Hubs for more than 2 years now, that for some people with whom we’ll be working the experience will be about more than seeing or doing something they haven’t done before. There will be potential for a profound impact, for example in terms of people who are usually socially quite isolated having an opportunity to come together, or a group of young people struggling with poor mental health to be able to participate in a regular activity that might contribute to making them feel a bit more confident, and will be enjoyable, and something that can give them ownership over their local history and their place within it.

Whatever their motivations for being on board the ship, the story of the Mayflower passengers is one of determination. We will be using the Mayflower passengers’ journey as a starting point that will inspire people to explore with us the very pertinent questions it raises e.g. about what it means to be a displaced person; the challenges of trying to settle in a new place; about difference and community; about the things that are most important to us, which make us who we are and the lengths we would go to to protect those things.

Thank you

We’re really grateful to our partners in all of our Hubs who contributed to making our campaign video above – do take less than 5 minutes of your time to watch and hear more about what we want to do. 

We hope you get a sense from our film and our story of how many people have already invested time, energy and passion into bringing The Imagination Museum: Mayflower 400 project into being. Please help us involve even more people from local communities in creating a truly joyful programme of work over the next 2 years.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to and read about our story, and thank you for your contribution.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£10 or more

£10 Reward - Thank you thank you!

Thank you online

£20 or more

£20 Reward - Sing along

Thank you online and a link to download Max Perryment’s original soundscore for the project when completed

£50 or more

£50 Reward - Picture perfect

Thank you online, a link to download Max Perryment’s original soundscore for the project when completed and a set of 5 postcards featuring images from our project photographers

£100 or more

£100 Reward - Limited edition

Thank you online, a link to download Max Perryment’s original soundscore for the project when completed and a limited edition Imagination Museum project t-shirt

£250 or more

£250 Reward - Design your own

Thank you online and design your own ‘behind the scenes day’ with us at one of our partner sites e.g. join us as we adapt The Imagination Museum for one of our performances; take part in a workshop or learn some music from the show; experience a guided tour of one of our partner heritage sites; be our guest at our final project event in January 2021 (venue tbc), attending a day of talks and discussion about dance in museums – the choice is yours!

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