Since its beginnings, the basic idea of the Renaissance Faire has always been the creation of “Living History.”
Where the winding streets of Nottingham Village can give visitors a vivid sensory sample of the life of an ordinary villager, the Renaissance Masters Pavilion crosses over to the extra-ordinary figures of the era: Thinkers; Artists; Composers; Leaders; and Explorers, all of whom made our festival’s era one of the shining moments in World History. Within the Renaissance Master’s Pavilion, Nottingham’s Players become the Great Figures of Science and Culture. From Leonardo Da Vinci to Grace O’Malley. From Johannes Guttenberg to Lucrezia Borgia. From Amerigo Vespucci to Mary Queen of Scots. Our costumed performers bring vivid life to these creators who helped bring about the world in which we live today. The performers meld meticulous research into their characters with the Renaissance Faire’s trademark sense of Improvisation, as some of the great minds of history stand for questions from the audience.
The Renaissance Masters Pavilion provides in depth glimpses into mastery of many arts of the era…Science Philosopy, Art and Mathematics…but also masters of arts like Swordsmanship and Battlefield Surgery of the Sixteenth Century.
Where the core Renaissance Faire concept offers an opportunity to fulfill the fantasy of traveling through time, the Renaissance Master’s Pavilion provides the time traveler’s goal: A chance to sit on a hay bale with William Shakespeare, learn about art from Sofonisba Anguissola, or to pose a question to Niccolo Machiavelli.
The more we understand the past, the more we recognize the present. The Renaissance Master’s Pavilion is central to the Nottingham Festival’s goal of using vivid entertainment to educate our visitors and the public about this important moment of our cultural legacy.
*Leonardo da Vinci – The ideal of a renaissance man; artist, inventor, scientist, genius… Speak with the great man himself and learn more about the secret stories of his paintings.
*Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale of one of Italy’s most powerful houses – or a pawn in the game of the men around her striving for control? A view of life in the treacherous Borgia Family.
*Johannes Gutenberg – If you can read, you have him to thank. The innovator of movable type – allowing printing presses to churn out books at an unheard of rate. What motivated him to create this world-changing devise? Listen and learn.
*Niccolo Machiavelli – The foremost political observer and historian of the renaissance. Author, diplomat, defense secretary, scholar, chronicler, and nobleman. The Prince is only one part of his personality. Come and learn the rest.
Sofonisba Anguissola – Cout painter to Phillip the 2nd of Spain and art tutor to his queen, this bubbly Italian will charm you with tales of her training as an artist and noblewoman She was one of the few artists to impress Michelangelo .
Ellen Burbage – The First Stage Mother; the Burbage family was instrumental in the construction of Shakespeare’s theaters and the birth of the action profession as we know it today.
Blanche Perry – The loyal and true attendant to Queen Elizabeth, able to tell the stories of our good lady Queen like none other.
Grace O’Malley – Grainne Ní Mháille as she is called in her own language. To her people she’s a chieftain and influential leader. To many of the English, she’s known as Pirate Queen.
*Anne Boleyn – The mother of Queen Elizabeth and second wife to Henry VIII, beheaded on Tower Green by a French swordsman. Was she a saint or sinner, or somewhere in-between.
Ivan the Terrible – The grand Tzar of Russia – a man feared by many but beloved by his people for his sweeping reforms. Terrible doesn’t translate to bad, even if he did do many wicked things.
Cornelius van Dun – A member of the Royal Guard, in the red and black Beefeater’s garb, these are the tales of the exciting life of a man who serves for Queen and Country.
Bertolomo Scappi – The first celebrity chef – cooked for popes and kings and wrote the Opera of Italian Cooking; the first of its’ kind fully illustrated cookbook.
*Lady Jane Grey – ‘The queen of Nine Days’ an innocent girl trapped in courtly intrigue who learned that when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die; regardless of if you wanted to be a player or not. Meet the scholarly pawn who became a queen, all too quickly to be taken off the board.
Sir Richard Greyville & Sir John De Vere – Two gentlemen of fortune ready to showcase the finest of English and European steel. Swords and swordplay discussed, perhaps demonstrated. If you enjoy weaponry and military techniques, these are the gentlemen to seek out.
William Clowes – Barber Surgeon – Join the master Barber Surgeon for a practical and sometimes alarming look at battlefield medicine of the 16th Century.
*Amerigo Vespucci – Everybody calls him Amerigo! Learn about the cartographer and explorer that lends his name to the American continent…and decide for yourself if he deserved that historic honor.
William Shakespeare – The legendary Bard himself- poet, playwright, author and actor. Learn more about his life, his craft, and the proper way to perform his works.
William Adams – A sailor alongside Sir Francis Drake, William Adams was one of the first Englishmen in Feudal Japan, and the very first to become a Samurai. He was essential in service to his Shogun. Learn the true tale behind the legend.
Doctor John Dee — An English mathematician, astronomer, occult philosopher, and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. Some even called him a magician.
Garcia Mendes Nasi — One of Europe’s wealthiest, most powerful and influential women who led a double life.
Lichtfield & Spayde — Gravediggers and “Mortality Consultants” here to advise on the Renaissance Way of Death.
Tycho Brahe– The last of the naked eye astronomers, he was friend to kings and known to have a hot temper. His artificial nose is proof.
*Portrayal by Nottingham Local