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Mayflower 400

The official Mayflower 400 UK commemorations will showcase an exciting year-long programme of ambitious cultural and artistic events.

It started with the spectacular and dazzling Illuminate light show in Plymouth’s Royal William Yard, Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park, The Barbican, The Waterfront November 2019 which was a resounding success, featured some outstanding light shows, installations and projections we have ever seen at Royal William Yard.

Image Credit: Penny Cross
The launch of the Mayflower 400 celebrations at Plymouth’s Royal William Yard.
Pix by Wayne Perry -07801289134
The launch of the Mayflower 400 celebrations at Plymouth’s Royal William Yard.
Pix by Wayne Perry -07801289134
Tree of Life – Image Credit Plymouth Herald

Tree of Memory above is an artistic installation of projection mapping, light and synchronized music, in memory of the lost.

This year in the South West we will have more outstanding light shows, unforgettable festivals, touring exhibitions and world class events that will captivate a memorable 12 months of commemoration through to November 2020 and the closing Illuminate ceremony.

Mayflower 400 – A Remarkable Year of Culture

Over 400 moments to explore all aspects of the Mayflower voyage 400 years ago, its legacy and the relevance of its themes to our lives today.

We are so excited to be sharing some details of the commemoration year, which will include art, music, theatre, exhibitions, storytelling, digital innovation, literature, crafts, festivals, debates and more.

I hope that you will find something for everyone in this programme, and see how the activities embrace different perspectives and different voices.

More will be added to these details as 2020 approaches and progresses, and as even more organisations, groups and individuals finalise further plans to contribute and take part in different ways in a landmark year for Plymouth.

A year for Plymouth to be proud of the great things about this city, and to showcase Plymouth to the outside world’Charles Hackett, Chief Executive, Mayflower 400

2020 is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, one of the most influential journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US and the Netherlands.

This is a unique opportunity to highlight Plymouth’s exceptional heritage, promote our brilliant visitor offer and bring communities together to celebrate our city.

Developed in response to this opportunity by a city-wide partnership, the Mayflower 400 programme will be an exceptional year of over 400 moments including art, music, theatre, exhibitions, immersive storytelling, digital innovation, literature, crafts, sports, festivals, debates, business activity and more.

The Mayflower 400 programme will explore all aspects of the Mayflower history and legacy, incorporating contemporary Native American voices and welcoming diverse approaches to the themes of Imagination, Humanity, Freedom and Future.

The main cultural programme will begin with Illuminate in 2019, building over 12 months to culminate with Illuminate 2020.

It will put Plymouth in the international limelight, providing an opportunity to reflect on our past, present and future role as Britain’s Ocean City while celebrating our status as one of Europe’s finest waterfront destinations.

Things to look forward to in 2020 – Illuminate Festival, other notable events include:

The Mayflower Ceremony

Will be an inspiring event and takes place on 16 September 2020 (Time not confirmed) – the anniversary date of the ship’s departure from the UK to the US.

This four-nation civic ceremony will see a 1,000-person choir perform a brand new piece of bespoke music which tells the story of the Mayflower in an entirely new way, along with representatives from the UK, US, Netherlands and Wampanoag.

The Rehabilitation Triathlon, hosted by the Royal Marines

For the first time in the event history, the Rehabilitation Triathlon, hosted by the Royal Marines, will be held as a public event. Traditionally held in Lympstone, it will be moved to the spectacular setting of Plymouth Hoe for 2020.

This exciting event on Thursday, 17 September will start at 12pm with the swim, which will be hosted in the historic art deco Lido in Plymouth Sound, followed by cycle time trials, held around Plymouth Hoe.

The athletes will then seamlessly move onto the ‘Concept2’ rowers which will be located in a marquee on the Promenade, before moving over the finishing line. The event finish with presentations on the main stage.

The Mayflower Trail – launched in February alongside the Hoe and City Centre trails.

The Theatre Royal Plymouth’s first transatlantic community production, This Land.

The reopening of the Elizabethan House after major restoration work.

The 400– a light-hearted, historical comedy production looking at Britain’s relationship with America for the last 400 years.

A programme of over 400 ‘moments, ranging from international civic ceremonies to local community events, giving everyone the chance to get involved through the year and highlighting Plymouth’s exceptional creative and community talent

Major new cultural attractions, including The Box, new heritage trails and the Elizabethan House

Investment in Plymouth’s public realm, to ensure the city looks its best and provides a great canvas for everything that happens through the year

• Associated capital projects valued at over £200m that will transform the city for residents, visitors and businesses, providing an ongoing legacy for the city post 2020

An international marketing programme that has reached an estimated audience of 722m to date and given Plymouth an unprecedented presence at global events such as World Travel Market, the world’s leading travel trade show

1m additional visitors are anticipated to arrive in Plymouth for 2020, with the commemoration expected to deliver an additional £352m in direct spend across the national partnership

• We have received crucial support from Plymouth’s business community, who have so far committed over £400,000 to ensure we’re making the most of the commemoration for all the city’s residents Mayflower 400 – An International Moment

Plymouth has been appointed the lead of a national partnership of 11 destinations who are working together to commemorate the Mayflower’s journey and the associated heritage of their communities.

Further partnerships have been developed in the Netherlands and US, including with the Native American Wampanoag Advisory Council, which will provide an ongoing legacy of co-operation post 2020 and drive an enhanced economic and social impact by raising the profile of the commemoration. Collaborations include:

The creation of a national Mayflower trail, that will link destinations across the UK and drive visitor footfall

The creation of an aligned cultural programme, with key events such as Illuminate linked nationally to enhance impact

Shared branding across national and international partners, creating a unique tourism product and raising awareness

• Shared resources and skills across the international partnership.

For example, over 100 institutions are contributing artefacts to Plymouth’s Mayflower Exhibition, while Wampanoag artists have been commissioned to create a new Wampum Belt which will tour in the UK and US

E: [email protected] | W:

Mayflower 400 UK @Mayflower400uk #Mayflower400 #Getonboard2020

You can browse our selected highlight events or search for events by destination or type below.

You can also download a complete overview of the international Mayflower 400 programme and a detailed guide to the programme of commemorations in Plymouth, UK


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