The fun and educational shows bringing history to life | Vicky Meets
Vicky meets... Martin Jakeman, artistic director of Historical Huzzahs.
• What do you do?
I bring history to life. I am the artistic director of Historical Huzzahs theatre company, where my work is mainly with schools and groups, and also a costumed interpreter at the National Museum of the Royal Navy on board HMS Warrior. Here I embody Lieutenant Jackie Fisher who goes on to run the Royal Navy.
• How did your career develop?
I first realised the potential of performance and history combined when I attended the Ufton Drama Summer School in 2012. The first ‘on-site’ historical performance I did was whilst I was studying at the University of Winchester, where I was lucky enough to take part in two First World War projects with the Royal National Theatre. After university I found a job as an actor at the National Museum of the Royal Navy where we brought history to life on board the amazing ships and the many museum spaces. I came to realise that this is what I wanted as a career. I founded Historical Huzzahs and collaborated with the Theatre Royal Winchester on an exciting project called Home Fires, based on untold stories of the women and children on the Hampshire Home Front.
• What are the highlights of your job?
On board HMS Warrior It is definitely getting to have afternoon tea in the Officer’s mess! This is where I can invite visitors (pre-Covid) to sit down at the table and chat with me (in character) about why we Brits love tea, the social tensions of the time and the mighty ship they are on. With Historical Huzzahs I love the freedom to create workshops and performances that I have a great interest in.
• So history can be really exciting?
History can be about the bigger picture with a focus on dates, battles and whole civilisations, but it can also focus on the people, the everyday lives and struggles of those who have lived before us. By using both methods, history can really be brought off the page. Audiences leave my sessions having learnt something about the period and also what their lives may have been like if they lived through the era. Historical Huzzahs cover topics including the Romans, Georgians, Victorians and both world wars. The workshops are of course education, but there is also a big emphasis on play and fun.
• What’s your next project?
My next project is with the brilliant Novium Museum. It’s called The Ministry of Time and is on May 31. It’s a fun, witty and educational immersive show that will allow visitors to experience the museum like never before. I’ll be reviving my role as the Client King Cogidubnus, after playing him earlier this year in their Virtual Field Trip videos. I’m really looking forward to the show, especially the clashes between ‘Cogi’ and the other characters about his views on the Romans, gender equality and class.
• For more information about Historical Huzzahs visit www.historicalhuzzahs.co.uk or find out more about The Ministry of Time at The Novium Museum: www.thenovium.org/romanweek
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