The Art of the Possible will showcase Wampum Belt—a museum heritage and arts project partnered with the British Museum and Wampanoag artists and Advisory Committee as well as an outdoor arts spectacle/promenade, built on extensive community engagement and led by artists of international stature. It will also a new large-scale music theatre production inspired by the Mayflower story that will be a collaboration between the Wampanoag and Plymouth communities, working with local musician Seth Lakeman and writer Nick Stimson and directed by Alan Lane from the Slung Low company. It will also incorporate revitalising the Mayflower Steps monument to reflect their spiritual and ideological significance in global history.
The Art of the Possible is a partnership programme with key organisations collaborating together on four key projects that will enable audiences, participants and partners to understand and present historic narratives in a contemporary, diverse and accessible nature as part of Mayflower 400 Commemorations on the lead up to 2020. Key to the Art of the Possible is hearing contemporary Native American voices, engaging Wampanoag craft and culture.
As opposed to simply telling stories of the voyage, these four projects will engage in the Mayflower 400 themes, which are freedom, futures, humanity and imagination and will take Plymouth to the next level in its cultural and economic journey.
Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400, said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive such generous support from Arts Council England. The Art of the Possible is a cornerstone of our Mayflower 400 programme of heritage and modern culture. It will go a long way in developing Plymouth’s reputation as a major city of culture whilst furthering the already strong international relationships we have with our friends and colleagues in Massachusetts.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “We’re proud to be working closely with the Mayflower 400 team and to be strengthening cultural connections with our American partners from the Wampanoag community and British consulate during our recent trip to Massachusetts—these connections will help to boost the flow of talent that is so crucial to the arts and creative industries, one of the fasted growing economic sectors in England.
“The Art of the Possible cultural programme will benefit from £700, 000 of Arts Council National Lottery funding, creating unprecedented opportunities for people in cities across the UK, to consider afresh the meaning of the ship that set sail from the Mayflower steps some 400 years ago.”
Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400, and Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, were recently in the US meeting with representatives from the Plymouth 400 Wampanoag Advisory Committee and board directors of Plymouth 400. They also met with Massachusetts State Representatives and Cultural Council leaders, and had round table discussions with the Massachusetts Creative Youth Development Program, amongst other engagements.