We are very pleased to announce the successfully funded projects who applied to the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund.

In 2017, we received a £400,000 grant from the Government Treasury to build a fund which could support the creation of a number of headline cultural projects. We set up the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund to enable Plymouth’s artists and cultural organisations to create projects which explore the themes and stories of Mayflower 400.

After a very competitive funding process which saw 108 projects apply (with a total ask of over £3 million), the application process and judging panel decided on a final 10 projects who received funding. We are really pleased to announce them here!

We have also asked all of the successfully funded projects to secure further match funding (which Plymouth Culture has been providing on-going support to assist with). So far, the projects have secured £489,322 (excluding in-kind support) between them and we are expecting this figure to rise substantially!


‘Roots Up!’ by Street Factory was awarded funding by the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund. People across the city will take part in a mass street dance reaching from the Barbican to the Hoe in a bold and contemporary interpretation of the Mayflower story.

Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund – Successful Projects

‘Settlement’ by The Conscious Sisters and Cannupa Hanska. Eight Native American artists in partnership with the Conscious Sisters will create a radical large-scale installation of public art called Settlement, based in Central Park. This will run for four weeks during the summer of 2020 exploring colonialism, migration and their deep effects on indigenous people.

‘Roots Up!’ by Street Factory. People across the city will take part in a mass street dance reaching from the Barbican to the Hoe, led by the award-winning Street Factory in a bold and contemporary interpretation of the Mayflower story. This will incorporate four hip hop theatre pieces, telling real life stories through the cornerstones of hip hop culture – b-boying, grafitti, MCing, rapping, poetry, spoken word and DJing. They will be inspired by Mayflower’s core values – freedom, humanity, imagination and the future.

‘The Special Relationship’ by Le Navet Bête. A light hearted and irreverent look at Britain’s relationship with the USA – from 1620 all the way through to now by renowned comedy/clowning theatre company Le Navet Bête. Taking place at the Barbican Theatre between August and September 2020, it follows the hilarious attempts of four people trying to flee their past lives in the hope of finding a Special Relationship.

‘Being Seen’ by Beyond Face. Being Seen will bring together artists across the South West for three major artistic events by performance company Beyond Face, which aims to raise the profile of people of colour working in the arts. It will include 2,000 Stories, a piece of theatre that will be performed in May and June 2019 in schools and theatres in Plymouth, Exeter and Falmouth. In 2019, Beyond Face will host an ‘Introduction to the Theatre Industry’ day in Plymouth inviting young people of colour to meet and work with 30 professional artists of colour – before a ‘scratch day’ is held in 2020 for emerging artists to create a short piece of work. Finally, a major production called Beyond 2,000 Stories will be created in 2020, when four performers from Plymouth will be invited to create a new show for the Mayflower 400 programme that will then go on a national tour.

‘Mayflower Music’ by Plymouth Music Accord. A series of four classical concerts by University of Plymouth Choral Society, Plymouth and District Organists’ Association, Plymouth Symphony Orchestra and the Plymouth Philharmonic Choir. These will honour the sailing of the Mayflower at historic venues including St Andrews Church and the Plymouth Guildhall in May, June and July 2020.

‘Directions’ by Marcy Saude. A programme of film and video screenings will showcase work by artists from both Native American backgrounds and black, sian and minority ethnic communities in the UK. The series will feature newly commissioned short film work from emerging artists alongside curated screenings, talks, discussions, and workshops from autumn 2019 to autumn 2020 at art venues and community spaces around Plymouth.

‘Pride 2020’ by Plymouth Pride. Plymouth Pride will return with a Mayflower twist and increased scale in August 2020, creating a spectacular festival celebrating LGBT+ culture. It will include a parade through the heart of the city, workshops on the themes of freedom, humanity, imagination and the future and explore previously ‘hidden’ LGBT+ history.

‘Illuminate’ by Made In Plymouth CIC. Illuminate is a spectacular light-based festival that will connect Mayflower 400 destinations and signal the start and end of the anniversary year in November in November 2019 and 2020 respectively. In 2018 Plymouth’s Illuminate celebrations saw the Royal William Yard turned into an amazing display of light-based installations and projections from local, national and international artists, attracting over 28,000 visitors. Illuminate’s ambition is to further develop in 2019 and 2020, increasing its scale and depth of audience engagement to become a signature event in the Mayflower 400 programme, and an annual large-scale light festival that will be a highlight in Plymouth’s event calendar for years to come.

‘This Land’ by Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Wampanoag. A truly remarkable performance of the Mayflower’s voyage, involving 2,000 people on both sides of the Atlantic to create an inspiring production at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. It will see 25 members from the Wampanoag Tribe and residents of Plymouth, Massachusetts join their counterparts from Plymouth, UK, as 140 people in total perform the Mayflower story from multiple viewpoints with music from global folk artist Seth Lakeman. This project has received additional funding from The Art of the Possible, a multi-project programme funded by Arts Council England.

‘The Special Relationship’ by Le Navet Bête was awarded funding through the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund. A light hearted and irreverent look at Britain’s relationship with the USA – from 1620 all the way through to now by renowned comedy/clowning theatre company Le Navet Bête.

The Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund Application Process

The Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund closed for expressions of interest (EOIs) on 17th November 2017. We received 108 expressions of interest to the fund with a total ask of over £3 million; a huge number of applications which reflects the interest amongst Plymouth artists in exploring the themes of Mayflower 400.

A team made up of Plymouth Culture and Mayflower 400 staff was created to assess the eligible applications and draw up a long-list of just over half the applications (55 in total). These long-list EOIs were then sent to a judging panel which contained expertise across multiple artforms as well as the community and youth sectors. To ensure impartiality, a number of the judges were from outside Plymouth. There were many excellent submissions and the hard process began of shortlisting the very best projects. Staff from Arts Council England, Mayflower 400 and Plymouth Culture were present on the judging panel.

In December 2017, 35 projects were shortlisted and in January 2018 these applicants were invited to draw up more detailed plans for the second stage of their application. These were submitted by 19th March, and once again the judging panel read over the applications and sat down to assess the projects. Some very difficult decisions had to be made between several brilliant projects competing for a limited fund. Unfortunately we were not able to award funding to all of the shortlisted projects.

10 excellent projects ranging from very large to small were selected from the shortlist and have been asked to secure their remaining partnership funding or be well on the way to achieving this by November 2018. The panel agreed that all of these projects explore the themes of Mayflower 400 in innovative ways, and represent a broad number of artforms as well as arts organisations and individuals.

“Arts Council representatives were pleased to be part of the decision-making panel for the Mayflower400 Cultural Fund. The quality of the applications and ideas presented were very strong which meant we had to make some tough decisions about how to invest the limited resource. The expertise involved in supporting these decisions was sought from the wider arts and culture sector and were a valuable resource. We are very pleased with the outcome which supports a diverse range of artists, disciplines and innovative ideas for Mayflower 400.”
– Nema Hart, Relationship Manager Creative Media, Arts Council England South West

Plymouth Culture is also working closely with many of the shortlisted projects who were not successful in their Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund applications to explore other avenues of funding and new potential partnerships. We have also offered feedback and advice sessions to all 108 initial applicants to the fund, many of whom have taken up this offer. On the 5th June 2018, we held an event with Arts Council England on their new Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants fund which included a presentation and one to one surgeries.

The Illuminate light festival attracted over 28,000 people in 2018 and was awarded funding from the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund for festivals from 2018-2020. Image by Dom Moore.
Plymouth Culture offers a free advice service if you are looking to create an arts project in the city, or you need advice on an existing project. We specialise in funding advice and support. If you would like advice on your arts project, please feel free to contact Plymouth Culture through the contact form below. Please note that we are a very small team with part-time staff members, and are involved with lots of projects across the city – we will reply as soon as we can!

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