Each year, The National Archives and Hampton Court Palace join together for a very special event: Tudor Revels. Pupils begin the day at The National Archives, investigating the character of Henry VIII and what he regarded as 'good Kingship'. The class is split into two; one half joins the Master of the Revels (played by a professional actor) to rehearse a masque using the script from an original Tudor Court performance. The other half of the group work with original documents from our collection, considering what this evidence reveals about Henry VIII's reign and the qualities he believed made a 'good' King. The groups then swap over and the sessions are repeated.
After working with original documents, and learning and rehearsing a masque in the morning, pupils travel from The National Archives to Hampton Court Palace. Schools can book a place on a boat from Kingston Pier if they choose, to travel just as Henry VIII would have done (this is optional and we ask schools to arrange this part of the journey). This is also the pupils' opportunity to eat lunch.
On arrival at Hampton Court Palace, pupils will have the opportunity to rehearse their Masques for the final time. They will then be taken to the Great Hall, where each group will perform their masque in its original setting in front of King Henry (played by a professional actor). Will he be suitably entertained and approve of their performance? This is an amazing opportunity for pupils to bring a piece of history back to life and to work with original documents surviving from this Tudor reign.
This session can be delivered as a