- Do not advertise. Having no audience makes an event super-lame.
- Have no attendance limits on a closed site. Intense crowds and no security makes an event scary. Add alcohol for intensity.
- Do not publish participant standards or a schedule. Confusion and laxity breed chaos.
- Publish standards, but do not enforce them uniformly. Creating the appearance that standards are only enforced for people you don’t know erodes trust and credibility and discourages participation, reinforcing adolescent clique behavior.
- Do not highlight (or provide) participant amenities like water, toilets, or dry firewood.
- Don’t bring your own lunch, water, or powder.
- Don’t follow the rules at a new event. Standards are for chumps. Text your friends while minding a rope line and acting as an interpreter.
- Get drunk. Who doesn’t love an inebriate around gunpowder? Safety, schmafety. Besides, drunkenness is authentic.
- Smoke cigarettes on the field. You can always hide your hand behind your back, next to your cartridge box…what can go wrong? The captain will never notice.
- Make critical comments about the public and other reenactors just within their hearing. Don’t smile.
For the Public
- Bring a dog. Dogs love guns, drums, and cannons. “Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war,” right?
- Ride your bicycle through the crowd. Make disparaging comments about the crowd interrupting your ride.
- Touch things and people. Touch reenactors’ tools, weapons, clothes, children, food. Heck, use their tools. It’s not real, it’s history, so it has to be safe–right?
- Interrupt people answering your questions, or better yet, someone else’s questions, and answer yourself.
- Get drunk, especially on a hot, humid summer day or night.
Then speak or act. Think about what you’re doing. Is it sensible? Is it kind? Is it how you would like to be treated? Does you behaviour foster a pleasant and welcoming environment?
If not, don’t do it.
Anna Worden Bauersmith said:
May I add…
~ Take anything you can’t afford to have walk away or break.
~ Disregard medical necessities.
Who needs an audience? I dont like to have a public attending my experience. I don’t care about the money. It’s a hobby. We’re not doing a show.
Depends on the event and the site. I’m happy at some with no public but if the site has an interpretive mission to fulfill and has no audience, then it’s pretty dull and flat. But I work at a site, so my perspective reflects that.
That is the inherent difference between reenactors and living history presenters, the need for an audience. As a longtime living history professional, I live and breathe with my audience. I interact and improvise and immerse them in the history, that’s my passion. It’s not always a big show, it can be one on one. And believe me, though some of us do it for a living, we generally don’t get rich off it. Keep on having fun with history!
Steve Ragosta said:
Excellent article! I was a rev war reenactor for thirty years here in Pennsylvania and this list needed to be handed out to everyone at every event! Being a native Rhode Islander I like the progress of living history in Rhode Island, keep up the good work👍