I remember Scaplens Court from when I was a child; it was always an exciting place to go with my school for a day away from school, and of course lessons. Having now grown up (ish), I wouldn’t have naturally thought to return to the museum, so I was very interested to attend the Pirates, Castaways and Codfish event today, if only for the sense of nostalgia. The event was organized by Poole Bay Rotary Club who do a huge amount of work in the local community.
One of the highlights of the day was Mayhem At The Inn, a short 30 minute historical live piece of drama staged in Scaplens Inn. Set in the town of Poole in May 1623, the story follows some colorful characters as they try to avoid recruitment into King James’ Navy.
The inn itself was a perfect venue for such a piece, given its age and design. The audience were seated haphazardly, exactly as you would expect them to be in an old English Inn back in those days (and these days too, actually!), and the actors were all costumed and wandering around the expectant audience with what appeared to be flasks of mead. This was extremely effective as it gave the audience a feeling of being a part of the forthcoming proceedings.
I understand that some of the performers in the piece were slightly more experienced than others; however, you really would never know. Everybody taking part showed huge amounts of enthusiasm and were in character the whole time, delivering some very humorous parts alongside some singing which was quite touching. Another important point to make is that the piece was historically accurate, so all of the characters needed to be believable and real – and they were. There was a great magical feel about bringing history to life and it’s a shame that type of drama isn’t delivered in schools more often; it would certainly help to engage and inspire more students! Our only gripe was that it wasn’t long enough, which is certainly not bad feedback!
This inaugural event was designed for all ages and there were activities available for children (and some slightly less mature adults, aka me!). Each child had the opportunity to make and design their own pirate ship. My partner and I did make one and I am pleased to say that it has earned pride of place in my bathroom. Between the children and the volunteers there were some fabulously designed creations leaving Scaplens Court that day.
In addition, I also managed to catch the latter end of some classic sea shanties from the Wareham Whalers. This was good fun and you could see that they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the other highlights, which included storytelling and a presentation on Poole’s Maritime Heritage.
In a world where everyone is extremely busy all of the time, it’s so important to slow down and see to it that our local history is both nurtured and shared with all generations. These community events really encapsulate the passion that our community has for our heritage and it’s very touching that the volunteers have given up their own time to share their knowledge with us. A huge thank you for the invitation today and for making me feel very welcome. I look forward to hearing about future events by both Poole Rotary and Scaplens Court in the future.