About the event
Every September, the Heritage Open Days event turns the town into a three dimensional history book that tells the Guildford story. The pedestrianised, historic High Street and Norman castle provide the perfect backdrop for such an event.
This year will, of course, be different due to Covid-19 but it hoped that the event will take place in some form. Organisers are always looking for new ideas which can include:
- Street performers
- Old vehicles
- Costumed interpreters and living history groups
- Musicians and singing groups
- People to help with admin, publicity or act as marshalls
Heritage Open Days is a national event held every September. With 2500 participants it is the country’s largest history festival and started in 1994. Properties from historic buildings to modern offices are opened to the public free of charge. Over the years it has developed into a festival of history with living history groups, talks and tours. Guildford’s event, regularly features over 100 properties is one of the largest in the country.
Banging the drum for Heritage
The background to this event is a desire to raise the profile of heritage in the town so that we can all appreciate its value, enjoy it and strive to preserve it. It also aims to support the High Street in the post Covid-19 world.
A perfect setting
Guildford is lucky to have a beautiful, pedestrianised High Street that provides a great performance space with an historical backdrop. The wide space between Holy Trinity and Abbott’s Hospital can be used as a main stage with performances in the road or on the church steps. Guildhall, Tunsgate and Guildford House are great places for smaller performances.
Bringing the past alive
There is always scope for new ideas such as parking historic vehicles in the High Street or having stalls. Other ideas include costumed interpreters in some of the key buildings and possibly musicians performing period music appropriate to the age of the building they are in. There could be a clavichord in Guildford House, a string ensemble in Holy Trinity Church, 1960s musical numbers in Yvonne Arnaud. There might demonstrations or small sketches performed in the High Street, local bands or Morris Dancers.
Putting it all together
The key to putting all this on is to have groups and individuals doing their own thing but fitting into an overall plan. During the day performers might move to different venues to add variety for them and audiences. This is an entirely community driven event and people are needed all age groups and backgrounds.
If you are interested, please get in touch.