Mayflower 400 commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing from Plymouth to America, carrying the pilgrims who founded the modern United States. In 2020, this significant moment in history will be commemorated with a series of events and projects which explore the history and legacy of the Mayflower story.

The Mayflower 400 commemorations span the culture, education, military, sports, tourism and business sectors. We are working with partners across destinations in the USA, England and The Netherlands. These include the Wampanoag Native Americans, Southampton, Doncaster, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Harwich, Southwark, Dartmouth, Worcester, Leiden (The Netherlands), Plymouth (USA) and Boston (USA).

Mayflower 400 is a complicated story with a history which traverses generations, cultures and people. We believe it is important to explore of all of these stories and histories. Plymouth Culture is supporting arts organisations and projects to achieve this.

For more information on Mayflower 400, you can visit the Mayflower 400 website and contact Destination Plymouth’s Mayflower 400 team at

The Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, which are near to the original departure point of the Mayflower in 1619. Image by Andy Fox.

Cultural Developments

Plymouth Culture is helping artists and arts organisations in Plymouth’s cultural sector to create projects which explore the Mayflower 400 story. This includes assisting with funding applications, brokering partnerships and leveraging funding for Mayflower 400 projects.

To date, Plymouth Culture has delivered funding or has supported a number of successful funding applications to enable cultural projects to be created. These include:

  • a £500,000k grant from the Government Treasury which was given to Plymouth Culture via the Department of Digital, Culture Media & Sport and Arts Council England. Plymouth Culture has used this to create the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund and support the Mayflower 400 Community Sparks Fund (previously Vital Sparks) – read more about these below.
  • a successful £700,000 funding application to Arts Council England (led by Plymouth City Council with support from Plymouth Culture) towards The Art of the Possible – a multi-project programme with major headline events which explore different aspects of the Mayflower 400 story. These include a production by the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and ‘Wampum Belt’ by The Box. For more information on The Art of the Possible, please visit:
  • The Box – The Box is a symbol for the city’s current regeneration and its future as one of the UK’s finest visitor destinations. Opening in Spring 2020, it will be a museum for the 21st century, with extraordinary gallery displays, high profile art exhibitions as well as exciting events and performances that take visitors on a journey from pre-history to the present and beyond. Plymouth Culture has been supporting Plymouth City Council’s funding applications to Arts Council England to deliver The Box’s National Portfolio Organisation status and capital development funding for their contemporary arts building.
  • Illuminate – a spectacular light-based festival that connects all of the Mayflower 400 destinations across the UK and internationally. In 2018, over 28,000 people attended this four day festival in Plymouth. Illuminate is delivered by Made In Plymouth CIC – a partnership between the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), the University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth Culture.

Alongside this, Plymouth Culture is supporting many more independent projects, artists and arts organisations to help achieve their events and ideas for Mayflower 400. If you have a project idea you would like to be realised, please get in touch with our team for advice and support. Please note that Plymouth Culture does not have additional funding to support these projects because the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund has now been allocated following a rigorous process but we are more than happy to assist with funding advice and application support. For example, the Mayflower 400 Community Sparks Fund is open for it’s second round and there are other funding options available.

If you would like to volunteer as part of Mayflower 400 and develop new skills, Mayflower 400 is running a volunteering programme:

The Illuminate light festival attracted over 28,000 people in 2018 and was substantially funded by the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund. Image by Dom Moore.

The Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund

A series of headline cultural projects have been supported using £400,000k of funding secured from the Government Treasury, which was given to Plymouth Culture. We used this to create the Mayflower 400 Cultural fund. These will deliver unique and thought provoking experiences, largely developed by Plymouth based artists. To find out more about the projects being funded by the Mayflower 400 Cultural Fund, please visit


‘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 in a bold and contemporary interpretation of the Mayflower story.

The Mayflower 400 Community Sparks Fund

Plymouth Culture received a further £100,000 from the Government Treasury which we have given to Plymouth City Council to help build the Mayflower 400 Community Sparks Fund. This is a funding scheme that enables community groups across Plymouth a chance to get on board with Mayflower 400. For more information on the Mayflower 400 Community Sparks Fund, please visit

We are keen to support all cultural projects developed for Mayflower 400. If you have a project which you would like to happen, please contact us on the form on the right with details of your project and where you would like assistance. Please note that Plymouth Culture has a very small team with only two full-time staff members and may not be able to reply straight away.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more about the Mayflower 400 commemorations, history and plans, you can visit the Mayflower 400 website.