What is re-enactment ?
Re-enactment has been around in this country for over 40 years. As with most hobbies and pastimes, what started off with a group of enthusiasts soon spread until today there are estimated to be around 20,000 participants in this country alone! Re-enactment is the attempt to understand the past through attempting to physically recreate aspects of the lives and events of our forebears The English Civil War and the American Civil War were two of the first periods that were re-enacted, but this has now grown so that you would be hard pushed to find a period or war that is not represented by one group or another.
The re-enactment of past battles in as near a simulation as you can get to the period portrayed was originally, and still is, the prime occupation of many societies. Some people went a step further and decided to emulate the everyday life of ordinary folk. The re-enactment scene today is as varied and as diverse as the periods represented with groups portraying everything from Caesars’ Rome to the Gulf War! The focus of various groups is also as diverse with some putting on a pageant type display to others who have ‘total immersion’ weekends in what is now termed ‘Living History’.
Why do we it?
Re-enactment is fun!
With 20,000 participants in the UK alone it must have something going for it! Some people find that it is their historic interest that is the key factor to becoming involved whilst others like the escapism from the 21st Century. There is no doubt that as a hobby this one can offer much that other hobbies cannot. From Battles to Banquets from camping to Court Jesters— whilst re-enactment may not be a life-altering hobby, you will never quite be the same again!
We enjoy staying overnight in historic sites that are closed to the public, but we get a real thrill out of seeing a child, or even an adult, suddenly understand something from the past, especially when we have learned about it ourselves through reading and experimenting.
Sitting round a campfire with our friends (many of whom we made through the hobby) with our favourite beverage as the sun goes down on a day when we have been busy soldiering or living as people from the time of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell can be a truly magical moment.
There is, quite simply, no other hobby so diverse and relaxing.