Sunday 27 May (1.30-5pm) and Monday 28 May (10am-5pm)
Oak Apple Day at The Commandery, Worcester brings a traditional celebration back to life, telling the tale of Charles II’s flight from the Battle of Worcester through live theatre, living history and spring-inspired family fun, on Sunday 27 and Monday 28 May.
The spectacular Grade I listed Commandery in Worcester will see its medieval Great Hall festooned with garlands of oak leaves, its gardens filled with Morris dancing, live theatre and living history, and will delight guests with plum pudding and small beer to sweep them back in time during the late May bank holiday weekend.
At 3pm on Sunday visitors can watch the brand new performance ‘Civil War Stories’, which weaves together true tales of politics, religion, monarchy and conflict in Worcester.
Worcester has a particular connection with the tale of Oak Apple Day, for Charles II hid from Parliamentarian troops in an oak tree in 1651, after his Royalist cause was lost at the Battle of Worcester. He returned to the throne 9 years later on his thirtieth birthday, the 29th May 1660, which became celebrated as ‘Oak Apple Day’.
As part of the celebration, children and adults would wear oak leaves and ‘oak apples’ (a small round gall made by wasps) on their clothing. Those who didn’t do this would risk being pinched, pelted with birds’ eggs or thrashed with nettles.
Families can get crafty making apple sprigs, decorating crowns and getting involved in Paper Rebellion, a 17th century inspired art project with a local artist. They can also have fun discovering old-fashioned children’s games.
David Nash, Commandery manager said: “Oak apple day is a wonderful spring celebration that local families love, and really brings to life some of the amazing stories from The Commandery’s history.
This year will be extra special as we have the first public performance of a brand new Civil War inspired play that was written just for us.”
Over the school holidays, splash-tastic messy science experiments inspired by the historic Royal Society of London will keep families occupied, from Tuesday 29 May to Friday 1 June.
The Commandery was relaunched last year with a new experience focusing on Worcester’s Civil War Story, in which visitors can discover a portion of the original Royal Oak tree in which Charles hid on display, as well as a stunning mural that depicts Charles’ escape from the Battle of Worcester, inspired by 17th century engravings.
Worcester Residents can buy an annual ticket for The Commandery, which includes entry to Oak Apple Day and many other exciting events throughout the year for just £5. Entry for children is free.
The Commandery is open Tuesday – Saturday (10am – 5pm) and Sundays (1.30 – 5pm). Further visitor information can be found at www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk.
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