Back in the days when we were able to perform at large events (remember them?!), a large maypole was constructed to our outline specification for the village green at BBC Countryfile Live. Over the next 3 years it provided a spectacular focal point for us and members of the public during approximately 40 performances at both Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard.
Then, like so many things in lockdown, it was unused and stuck in a warehouse for a year, and the organisers of Countryfile Live offered it to us. Thanks to the generosity of some team members we were able to purchase it and, during the discussion, the idea of giving it a new home at the Chiltern Open Air Museum came up. Enquiries were made, discussions took place and all parties were in agreement.
Last week, in the final stage of the Saga, the maypole was installed in its new home at COAM, with the ribbons safely stored nearby and ready to be used when we are able to perform again. So far the only audience has been a flock of sheep in the small field next to it! There was also considerable excitement when the maypole delivery crew met COAM’s wonderful fork lift – a museum piece in its own right.
The Museum reopened on 26th March, and now visitors can admire the maypole in its new home. The first chance to see it with ribbons and dancers will come on Sunday 23rd May when the mAy team will be visiting to demonstrate and discuss the dances in an informal Live Rehearsal. This event will also feature plenty of music and the many other traditional country dances that our audiences have come to expect.
Other aspects of the Maypole programme, such as volunteer training, school sessions, weddings and corporate training, will be introduced as restrictions are lifted, and we are looking forward to a spectacular End Of Season show with full audience participation in September.