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  • - [Sarah-Jane] Reenactment is as close

  • as we can get to a time machine.

  • - [Lisa] When you're in costume and you're in character

  • and you're surrounded by a site

  • that's hundreds of years old,

  • you've got the walls, you've got the fabric around you.

  • It's magical, and it does give

  • a snapshot of history to people.

  • - [Tom] I remember, as a child, if something cool

  • or dangerous happened, I'll remember that a lot longer

  • than just reading a sign.

  • So I think children have long memories

  • and it's our job to help plant those memories.

  • - My name is Sarah-Jane Worrall,

  • and the character I play is an ARP,

  • Air Raid Precautions, welfare worker.

  • - I'm Lisa Dickson, and I'm a knight.

  • - My name is Jake, I do sword fighting shows as a knight.

  • - My name's Tom, and I work for English Heritage

  • largely as a fool or jester.

  • - My name's Mark Griffin,

  • I'm going to be portraying a legionary

  • from the classic invasion period of England,

  • when the Romans really conquered the country.

  • - Fooling is a large part of my life,

  • but at the moment, my main job is to be a father.

  • I'm a brand new father.

  • My little boy has been pretty full on,

  • a baptism of fire for me, and I've enjoyed it.

  • - I've got my old pony here at this yard.

  • I can't ride her. She's far too small, but she's sweet.

  • She's 25, her name's Jem, Jemima Puddle Duck,

  • And we go for little walks around the lane,

  • I took up archery recently.

  • I'm not a great shot, but I do enjoy it.

  • There's something just quite different about it.

  • - This year I've been a dad for the first time.

  • So it's really, really exciting for me at the moment.

  • I have a two-month-old son, Leo,

  • and he's absolutely fantastic.

  • I've always loved being at work and always loved doing that,

  • but now I'm finding myself going,

  • "I can't wait to get back and see the boy."

  • (horn fanfare plays)

  • (playful music)

  • (bells jingle)

  • - A lot of people have studios, workshops

  • and I have, I have a shed.

  • I went to drama school

  • and thought I'd be the next Brad Pitt.

  • And that didn't happen.

  • I know! How dare they!

  • But with physical theatre you have to work with props.

  • And I picked up a sword and I loved it.

  • Sword work is a way into history.

  • - What keeps me interested in history

  • is the unknown stories.

  • There is something really mystical about history

  • because everything that we know is somebody's perspective.

  • The research we have is what's been written down

  • by somebody else.

  • - I came at it more from a dressage point of view.

  • Dressage means preparing the horse for war.

  • My horse was extremely brave and just took to it

  • like a duck to water.

  • The rest is history, as they say,

  • we went on from there.

  • - I'm sure chartered accountants around the country

  • would love to swing a sword around.

  • (dramatic music)

  • - What we do is very dangerous.

  • We say, "you're going to play with swords,

  • you're going to get hit."

  • I think the worst thing that I have had happened

  • was I took it the point of a dagger

  • into just above my eyebrow.

  • We're in armour, we're in real armour, it's very heavy

  • and the weapons, they're blunted,

  • but the tip of the blade is still traveling 80, 90,

  • 100 miles per hour. If you get hit with them,

  • you're going to get hurt.

  • So we make full contact in a very controlled way,

  • which means the armour has got to be

  • as authentic as possible.

  • Authenticity is so important

  • when people are trying to watch it

  • because we don't want to be telling them a lie.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - Originally, this was a stable, probably,

  • in the 18th century and I've turned it into

  • a sort of a workshop basically.

  • So there's woodworking lathes, there's pillar drills.

  • There's lots of grinders and polishers,

  • but upstairs is where all the costumes are kept.

  • All these things we've made

  • or acquired over the years,

  • and it just builds up and builds up and builds up

  • until you've got nearly a thousand costumes.

  • And Victorian farm workers, there's a 1940s mac,

  • English Civil War bucket boots to a medieval riding boots,

  • Napoleonic soldier's shoes,

  • and the shoes need upkeeping and repairing and polishing

  • and waxing and oiling and goodness knows what else.

  • You can't get to it because of the heap of stuff!

  • Well in here, I've got gloves, ties, shirts,

  • cravats, more gloves, purses and pouches,

  • a hundred pairs of braces, leggings,

  • officer's swagger sticks, that's a Russian soldier's coat,

  • no idea what that's doing there.

  • And that's a Benedictine habit, so there we go.

  • Not high fashion, but it'll do.

  • (playful music)

  • - I do a whole stilt show where I get up without help.

  • And then you rise like a phoenix!

  • I have been practicing.

  • Just, you just rise!

  • It's more mind over matter.

  • I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm in full control.

  • And it is scientifically, physically almost impossible.

  • Very difficult, Ah! Sorry, just, a.

  • When you think you're going to fall off, you fall off.

  • Um, have you got a stick?

  • But also fire breathing.

  • It's expected, everybody thinks an idiot can do it.

  • And it is quite hard.

  • So I have been practicing with the firebrands.

  • It's a stupid thing to do, I wouldn't recommend it.

  • - [Jake] Practicing archery, it's a lot of fun

  • and I always try to get better.

  • You've got to keep on training,

  • you got to keep on practicing and just make sure

  • your instincts are still as sharp as they can be.

  • - [Lisa] The horses that we pick for jousting,

  • they are hand-picked and the ones that genuinely enjoy it

  • are the ones that do the shows.

  • My horse is called Fireworks.

  • We train every day.

  • He is very much in the starting stages

  • of becoming a war horse.

  • He is used to loud noises around him.

  • We use barrels on him before we even get to the point

  • where a rider gets on him in armour.

  • I think he enjoys his work.

  • He's always sort of straight to the stable door

  • whenever you go into the yard every day.

  • And he's a very buzzy little thing.

  • He never wants to say no to anything and he never tires.

  • - So I'm doing pretty much what all reenactors

  • will be doing now, starting the season off,

  • getting everything out, checking it over,

  • making sure it's all in working condition.

  • So we do things like polishing sword blades

  • to make sure that there's no surface rust or anything,

  • and the same with the armour as well.

  • Also there's things like repairing the shields,

  • making launces, we're a mobile living museum

  • and because it's outside and because people are handling it,

  • it gets a bit grubby, it gets rained on.

  • So it just needs constant upkeep

  • to making it look as nice as possible.

  • The emperor might turn up and not be very happy.

  • - [Jake] I cannot wait to get back to working here,

  • to get all the armour on,

  • to get in front of a crowd in particular.

  • It's one of the biggest cacophony

  • of sounds and sights and smells.

  • It's such a buzz.

  • - [Mark] We're all really keen to get back out there

  • and do it all again.

  • We are theatre people.

  • They want an audience to thrive and to bounce off of.

  • - [Lisa] Anyone would be lying if they said

  • they didn't get a little bit nervous

  • running up to the first show of the season again.

  • I am very much looking forward

  • to getting into competitions again.

  • It's a mixture of excitement and nerves, but good nerves.

  • - [Sarah-Jane] An item of clothing on like this,

  • like a uniform like this,

  • you carry yourself very differently.

  • Everything feels very different.

  • You stand prouder, you walk prouder.

  • - [Mark] I'm just hoping that I haven't

  • put on too much weight, because that's the one thing

  • that's a problem with armour is keeping the same.

  • - [Tom] On a warm day, it's not as nice,

  • but on a cold day this is really, really lovely.

  • But it does feel like an old friend, like it fits,

  • and you start to smile a bit more.

  • - [Jake] Very lovely miniskirt made out of mail.

  • We were wearing them first, ladies!

  • - [Sarah-Jane] Gas mask bag, that's essential.

  • You never know when it's needed.

  • - [Jake] You can feel that definitely

  • when you're in this stuff, you hold yourself different,

  • you speak to yourself different.

  • - You know, I can imagine myself

  • either in a damp part of Britannia

  • or the northern banks of the Rhine.

  • Oh, it feels good, it feels natural to me.

  • - [Lisa] If I walked down the street like this,

  • you'd probably turn heads a little bit.

  • - And then the badge of honour,

  • which I think you could tell looks spiffing.

  • I feel a bit of a fool in it, but that's the best thing.

  • Now I feel better.

  • - And, yeah, I think we're ready.

  • - [Jake] There we go. That's the whole thing.

  • - Right, time to go on duty then.

  • (tense string music)

  • (calm music)

  • - [Tom] People have their imagination,

  • but if you can colour it a bit more

  • people go home with these memories.

  • - [Jake] The live events at English Heritage

  • are some of the most fantastic things

  • because it just breeds this love of history.

  • - [Lisa] It's a privilege to be able to ride

  • on those same grounds that you know

  • there's been tournaments on previously.

  • - [Tom] When they come, they see the color,

  • the majesty, the music, the mirth.

  • - [Sarah-Jane] Really looking forward to interacting

  • with crowds, it's about people at the end of the day,

  • but we need to tell our stories to people.

  • And then once they're here, they just see

  • the splendour of it all.

  • (triumphant music)

  • (calm music)

- [Sarah-Jane] Reenactment is as close

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B1 armour jake lisa jane music sarah

Meet The History Makers

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/23
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