Mappa Mundi: from museum to streets

This bold and exciting, three-year project has been designed to breathe life into Hereford’s heritage.

By taking part in fun, creative, community-focused activities, the city’s population will learn about the historic, yet largely overlooked, 13th Century  Mappa Mundi-one of the city’s most valuable historical and cultural treasures.

A centrepiece for the River Carnival

The performance will form a major part of Hereford River Carnival over the next three years.  It will form the centrepiece of the newly introduced Friday night element of the Carnival on the evening of Friday 28th April and its creatures and creations will take part in both the Street Carnival and River Carnival on Saturday 29th April.

Rediscovering a hidden treasure

The Mappa Mundi, literally ‘Cloth of the World’ is fascinating, a hidden treasure. It acts as a portal into the world of the medieval mind; it’s full of humour, storytelling, mythology, history, and fascinating imaginative creations.

We intend to use these as a means to take the map down from its pedestal of isolation, and bring it to life-firing the imaginations of young and old.

We will introduce the people of Hereford to the map through street performance, breaking down the actual and imagined walls of the museum which keep the map confined within the world of academic scholarship.

The community at the heart of the action

With the full support of Hereford Cathedral (where it is housed), we will hold artistic and creative workshops involving local community theatre groups and artists, that will result in a performance event that sees the Mappa Mundi burst out of the confines of the museum and onto Hereford’s streets.

Using accessible and engaging performance and involving community groups, schools, colleges, artists and performers, our project will help people engage with the map and learn about its cultural and historic significance.

By bringing it to life in this way, we will reach a wider audience which would not normally engage with such an artefact and may be unaware of it or consider it irrelevant to them. 

An experienced creative team

The team which will deliver the project combines academic rigour with expertise in performance, proven creative flair and a track record of delivering large-scale successful community activity.

We aim to immerse the audience in the stories that will come to life from the map enabling them to walk the streets of Hereford alongside mythical creatures and medieval characters – experiencing heritage rather than merely observing them on the map.

They will understand and embrace the Mappa Mundi as Our Map of The World – an exciting reflection of our historical past and our cultural heritage something to be fascinated by and enthuse about to visitors as well be proud of.

A map for us all in the 21st Century

Our project will increase the knowledge of Hereford residents and beyond of Hereford as a city of cultural energy and richness that goes back centuries. Ultimately our project will showcase Hereford as “a cloth of the world” with its diverse communities inscribed all over it.  The project will be a major contributor, we believe, in Hereford’s bid to become City of Culture.

We will reinvigorate the Mappa Mundi with 21st Century relevance and ultimately create our own contemporary version of the Mappa Mundi with our city, Hereford at its centre demonstrating our current place in the world.

Friday night festivities

The programme is currently in rehearsal but the fantastical performance will begin at the Cathedral, make its way down Gwynne St. over the Old Bridge and onto Bishop’s Meadow, while a torch-lit river procession of floats decorated with giant mythical beasts glides down the Wye. There will then be food, drinks and more music on Bishop’s Meadow as well as a fire garden display to round off the evening before the performers prepare for the River Carnival fun the next day.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact:
Stuart Fox (01432) 760204 / 07841 000431 or email:
stuart@rivercarnival.org

Let’s make ‘Hereford River Carnival’ happen

For the past three years, a bunch of almost bonkers and largely unfunded volunteers has put on The Hereford River Carnival and drawn crowds of up to 12,000 people to our free to enter event.

This year promises to be even bigger and better:-

  • We already have around 20 organizations promising to put floats and boats on the water,
  • Street Carnival through high town – channel your inner Mythical Beast – Mermaid or Minotaur
  • Noztock are bringing their music to Castle Green,
  • Music Pool Tent on Bishops’ Meadow
  • Underground Revolution Stage at The Left Bank 
  • Foodie Village,
  • Mass synchronized paper airplane fly-past,
  • Fun Dog Show
  • Maypole Dancing
  • Strictly Hereford Dance Tent
  • Circus Skills, face painting, and drumming workshops
  • Sports area with taster sessions for all kinds of activities,
  • Wild swim,
  • Rotary Club – Duck Race
  • Friday night Spectacular – all new performance that will see The Mythical Beasts on The Mappa Mundi set free from the Cathedral over Hereford’s Old Bridge and onto Bishop’s Meadow for music, food, drink and a fire garden while a torch lit flotilla of mythical beasts processes down the Wye.

We don’t charge anything for all of this. We are totally reliant on donations on the day and any grants and sponsorship we can drum up. But it’s getting harder and harder and more and more people are coming.

So would you consider making a donation? Just £1 from everyone who comes would make an enormous difference.

We need to raise about £30,000 in total. So please give generously so that the Mayor doesn’t have to drag the floats upstream again this year. With your help, we’ll have a pontoon upstream to set the floats off from.

And that doesn’t allow for any marketing costs, printing posters or leaflets, or any of the activities on Friday Night. So please give and share and come on Friday and Saturday for a great party in, on and around the River Wye.