The Journey of the Mayflower
Stile Antico is proud to share The Journey of the Mayflower, a film marking the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Pilgrims from Plymouth on 16th September 1620. The film was made with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Stile Antico Foundation, and is available to rent via Vimeo.
This hour-long performance breathes life into the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower crew. The drama is woven around extracts from ‘Of Plimouth Plantation’, the diary of William Bradford. Bradford was the colony’s first governor, and wrote a detailed account of the Pilgrims’ journey from the North of England, via the Low Countries, to New England. Our script, written for the group by dramatist Katharine Armitage, also gives voice to other characters whose words do not survive, seeking to shine a light on other aspects of this important and complex story – including the consequences for the native Wampanoag tribe of the Pilgrims’ arrival. Interspersed with the spoken text are full-length performances of some of the finest vocal music of the time. Musical gems by William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tomkins, and others, bring this extraordinary tale to life with passion and immediacy.
Before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had planned a series of performances, workshops and education projects as part of the official Spirit of the Mayflower 400 programme. We still plan to perform our programme live as soon as is possible, and performances will extend into 2021.
Resources for educational use
We are firmly committed to introducing the wonderful repertoire of Renaissance choral music to the next generation. As part of our Mayflower project, we held a series of workshops with three London state schools – Holland Park School, West London Free School, and Bishop Thomas Grant School – in early 2020. Sadly the planned gala performance was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Our film, ‘The Journey of the Mayflower’ is free for schools to watch through Music Mark. If you are unable to access the film through Music Mark, please contact Becky at email@example.com to request free access for your school. In addition to the feature-length film, we have produced three short videos, which explore the musical elements and historical context of individual pieces from the programme. They are available below as a YouTube playlist. The sheet music for these three pieces can be downloaded here. If you make use of these resources, we would be very grateful if you could fill in this brief feedback questionnaire.
How to Watch
The Journey of the Mayflower is hosted on the Vimeo platform. Tickets to rent the film cost £15, and offer unlimited viewing for three months from the date of purchase.
The film can be watched on computers, tablets, phones, and on televisions with any of the following capabilities: Apple TV, Android TV, ChromeCast, Roku, Amazon Fire. Please see the Vimeo viewing guide for further technical information.
Stile Antico give us, as usual, some stunning performances… The musical material is intelligently contrasted, and there’s an instinctive understanding of the period… The arrival in the New World, the establishment of settlement, the controversial relationships with the Wampanoag people, and the outbreaks of disease and conflict are all sensitively dealt with, and here, Bradford’s account is cleverly contradicted by the views of the ordinary settlers, who demonstrate to the audience the hope and the despair both of their own situation and for the precarious future.
Amner: A stranger here
Tomkins: Woe is me; O God, the proud; O sing unto the Lord
Gibbons: O clap your hands
Sweelinck: Estans assis
Campion: Never weather-beaten sail
Dowland: Shout to Jehovah
Morley: Laboravi in gemitu meo
Byrd: Praise our Lord; Retire my soul
Script: Katharine Armitage
Producer: Jonathan Coates
Director of Photography: Anton Jeffes
Audio: Ben Pugh
With grateful thanks to the National Centre for Early Music.