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Harleston revisits the time of the Mayflower with a voyage into the past




A town’s history has been brought to life as celebrations of the 400-year anniversary of the Mayflower voyage continue.

Actors from amateur dramatics society Harleston Players took on the roles of carefully researched characters from the 1600s and occupied spots around Harleston for two hours on Saturday.

They delivered speeches based on what is known about their characters at the time of the Mayflower voyage, which saw the first European colony formed in America.

Harleston, Norfolk, 19/09/2020..As part of Mayflower crossing anniversary, actors from a local group are dressing up as characters from 1600s and delivering speeches and historical info from the time at key locations around Harleston...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Harleston, Norfolk, 19/09/2020..As part of Mayflower crossing anniversary, actors from a local group are dressing up as characters from 1600s and delivering speeches and historical info from the time at key locations around Harleston...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

The voyage is being celebrated by the town, as four of those aboard the historic journey were from Harleston.

Nicky Stainton, from Harleston, who helped organise the event, said: “Our aim was to bring real characters to life, and we had chickens, long-horn sheep and other animals with us, so it was logistically difficult.

“The seven actors involved did brilliantly in delivering a combination of scripted and improvised speech and interactions.

Harleston history
Harleston history

“The theatre group itself has been around for 100 years and the costumes were made especially for the day.

“It was such a significant event for Harleston so I wanted to get involved.”

Eileen Ryan, from Harleston, who also helped to organise the event, said: “It went really well and it was nice to have something going on in the town. We had lots of safety precautions in place and it was great to see people out in bigger numbers than we normally see on a Saturday.”

Harleston, Norfolk, 19/09/2020..As part of Mayflower crossing anniversary, actors from a local group are dressing up as characters from 1600s and delivering speeches and historical info from the time at key locations around Harleston...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Harleston, Norfolk, 19/09/2020..As part of Mayflower crossing anniversary, actors from a local group are dressing up as characters from 1600s and delivering speeches and historical info from the time at key locations around Harleston...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

She continued: “Hopefully, it helped the shop, too – the town was definitely more alive. We had families with kids and a Suffolk punch horse called Yale, which the kids loved.”

“All in all, the day was a huge success.”



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