Since the days after the first and original renaissance faire left Agoura, there has been a desire to bring a more accessible regional renaissance style event back to the Ventura County area. A group of dedicated volunteers from the community along with the Actor’s Repertory Theater of Simi and the non-profit Simi Valley Cultural Association set out to make that dream a reality. The Nottingham Festival has succeeded in recreating the magic and revelry of an Elizabethan village and marketplace with stage and street performers that provide educational, exciting and unique entertainment for all ages. Craft workers and reenactors from various historical guilds entreat our guests to experience a taste of the lifestyle and trade of the 16th Century. Our desire is that all will not only enjoy a day of fun and frivolity, but maybe even learn a thing or two about the glorious renaissance period and those who changed the course of the world.
Proceeds from this non-profit festival will be used for the further development of creative arts programs for youth and under served portions of our community.
What is a Renaissance Festival?
A “Renaissance Festival” is an outdoor entertainment event that emulates a historic period in Europe, often portraying an authentic village and marketplace in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The concept was originated by Phyllis Patterson, a professor of historical studies at Cal State Northridge in Southern California, and the Living History Center. It should be noted that all renaissance faires in the country were born out of this original first endeavor.
At the Nottingham Festival, as all other traditional renaissance faires, specialty vendors handcrafted wares and tempting food and drink are abundant and can be found lining the streets selling arts and original handicrafts representative of the the period as well as a variety of different and taste tempting foods and drink. Several stages are scattered throughout the grounds where guests can relax and enjoy live, acoustic music, period dance troupes, theatre of the absurd, original themed comedic sketches, also a variety street entertainment, including jugglers, magicians, a cappella musical groups, and solo troubadours. Historical trade and social guilds are set up to offer hands-on opportunities for the public to participate in various artisan crafts and industry of the day, such as; spinning wool into yarn, ink and paper making, blacksmithing and learning about “new” scientific inventions and discoveries. Queen Elizabeth I can be seen during the opening processional and then throughout the day, traveling with her entourage before her stage appearance at the Queen’s Show where there may be a knighting as well as the uncovering of some unexpected, dastardly plot.
The Renaissance Masters Pavilion is an interactive performance venue, unique to the Nottingham Festival, where audiences meet and hear the stories famous historical figures of the period, the likes of whom include; Leonardo daVinci, Queen Isabella of Spain, Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus, Anne Boleyn, Sir Francis Drake, Lady Jane Gray, the famous female artist, Sofonisba Anguisola and many many more.
The goal of the Nottingham Festival, ARTS and the Simi Valley Cultural Association is to develop, nurture and embrace culturally enriching opportunities that bring the present into focus by celebrating the past, thereby creating a more tolerant world through artistic endeavor.