The Mary Rose Museum Re-launch
The Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The 630 sq/m bespoke printed kabuki drape fell perfectly into the 3foot wide drop zone revealing The Mary Rose to the worlds media and invited VIPs. Publicising the new museum was a high priority and after a week of it being open media coverage had exceeded the initial launch by 50% at 1.5 billion people reached.
“We were very appreciative of your calm and considered approach to the technical challenges, despite the rather nerve wracking nature of the Kabuki drop, which helped to calm nerves here too.” - Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive, Mary Rose Trust
Following a £5.4m revamp, The Mary Rose Museum – the resting place of Henry VIII’s flagship – has been transformed. The new-look museum now offers visitors stunning panoramic views of the ship from nine galleries through floor-to-ceiling glazing plus, for the first time in 23 years, they are able to breathe the same air as The Mary Rose thanks to the glass balcony on the upper deck. We were thrilled to be asked to create a spectacular reveal befitting of this truly momentous occasion.
The Museum would tell her story. We would reveal her to the world’s media and selected VIP guests who would occupy three different galleries – all meeting her from different angles. We knew the reveal would need to be dramatic. It would need to have impact. But it needed to work harder than that. For this unbelievably emotive moment, and in honour not only of the history that lives on-board, but the commitment of all the people involved in the project, we needed to create a magnificent moment as beautiful as what lay just out of sight.
And so we set about installing a 40m x 15m Tudor standard reveal drape that would, on cue, fall effortlessly from our solenoid Kabuki drop system into only a 3ft drop zone. We achieved this by rigging two trusses, the first truss held the kabuki system safely above a priceless artefact and had invisible guidelines to shepherd the drape whilst falling. The second truss held the drape and was on electric chain hoists so that we could rehearse the reveal multiple times from different heights. Following the reveal, the museum brought the ship to life on cue using projections of the crew. Many different teams from Museum staff and floor managers to projection, sound and lighting crews were working on the event. We stage managed the event to ensure all these teams worked together seamlessly and everything happened on cue.