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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Once more unto the breach

This feature is about 8 years old
 

Spending your free time re-enacting battles is a living, breathing way of bringing history to the masses according to Eddie Bain of the Kinshead Reenactment Society

Kinshead Reenactment Society was as an amateur dramatic company until I came along.

The old company was involved in a production of Henry V and needed a dozen soldiers to play the part of French archers.

So, by hook and by crook they managed to assemble an unimpressive array of out-of-shape archers, one of whom was me and none of whom was at all convincing.

As it got more difficult to recruit budding actors into our ranks, when we were asked to stage a battle at Stirling Castle for Historic Scotland, we took the decision to reform the company as a battle reenactment society .

That was over 10 years ago and, since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength.

Basically our society travels up and down the UK taking part in mock battles usually at galas and occasionally charity events.

The society has a core of just 15 regulars, so we join with other societies when it comes to staging some of the bigger battles.

Our repertoire is quite extensive: from the medieval, such as Bannockburn and Agincourt, to the American Civil War and the Great War. We even been asked to stage Battle of the Planet of the Apes where we had to don ape suits in 25c heat.

My role is co-ordinating the society – doing the stuff no-one else wants to do. I deal with a bit of everything though my official title is secretary.

Just now, as we enter winter, we’ll be doing very few events. It’s not unknown to get called out to weddings however, we’re asked to don medieval attire to look the part for wedding receptions held in castles. Such bookings keep us afloat as a society and help fund our other work.

We also get called on for corporate events occasionally. We were in Ireland last year for an IT firm's staff bonding day, all playing the role of sergeant majors tasked with shouting orders to staff. It was a lot of fun though I’m not sure the staff thought the same.

Come summer we’ll have up to three events a month, which is quite a lot for a small society.

Over the years we’ve managed to source quite an extensive wardrobe but you can never have enough. We keep it in a paid for storage facility which we’re lucky enough to get donated free of charge.

We’ve also done a bit of film work over the years, usually joining other societies to stage scenes. We were called on to appear in the Last Legion with Colin Firth back in 2006 and more recently World War Z when it was filmed in Glasgow.

Pete Fallow, the treasurer, is very good at making costumes and when he’s not doing that he’s busy with repairs, so we've learned to become resourceful with what we can beg, steal and borrow.

I’m more interested in history than dressing up, if I’m honest. The society for me is a way of preserving our history by bringing it to the masses.

If people don’t see, hear or read history then it dies. So we have a responsibility to preserve it.

 

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