Heritage in focus – Past Pleasures

Past Pleasures are a Historical Interpretation Company set up in 1987 by Mark Wallis. Their aim is bringing history to life through a number of ways – through interpretation, design, education, training, and consultation. They are the UK’s oldest professional costumed historical interpretation company.

Mark Wallis the company’s managing director believes that museums and historical sites are not stages and visitors are not a passive theatre audience. Mark Wallis first started out in 1977 when he co-produced an historical event celebrating the oldest bridge over the river Thames. From there he has not stopped. He set up Past Pleasures in 1987. He has worked over in America working with the Living History Centres Elizabethan and Dickensian festivals and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He holds a BA in Costume design and an MA in theatre history. He is full of enthusiasm and passion for what he does and is involved in the hiring process of the interpreters and where possible he actually takes part (he plays a great King Charles I!)

Stephanie is the company’s other managing director and holds a BA as a pattern-cutter, draper and modelist from the Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode and a certificate in the same from Mueller und Sohn in her native Munich. She joined Past Pleasures in 1992. She provides the bespoke period costumes for the clients of Past Pleasures, which includes Historic Royal Palaces, and for a number of London’s Theatres including the Globe and for the media and film industries. She also oversees the financial and HR elements of the business.

All their interpreters come from a range of disciplines and all with a passion for sharing history with others and engaging with their audience. They stay in their well-researched characters and will find ways of engaging with their audience whether it be tourists, school groups, or visitors to en evening event. They are all amazing at what they do and are a great asset the heritage world and getting people to fall in love with history and our past.

Past Pleasures can often be seen at sites such as the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, Dover Castle and Audley End. For more information head over to their site http://www.pastpleasures.co.uk

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