AD- Press Launch- Kindly invited to attend this event in return for this blog post and features on my social feed.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend an event at Leeds Armouries with Natalia Lee to celebrate the launch of their Make:Believe display and events programme. It will explore and extend the impact of the national collection of arms and armour by showcasing the museum's expansive collection of fantastic items made famous by popular culture arms and armour from film, television, stage and more.
Key objects in the exhibition, which is supported by National Lottery Heritage funding, include two original Blasters from the 'Star Wars' movie franchise, an 'Aliens' Pulse Rifle, 'Lord of the Rings' swords, 'Monty Python' helmets and Lancelot's hero armour from 'Excalibur' amongest others.
The permanent exhibition launched on 25th October and is accompanied by a show stopping series of events on the theme of popular culture. Action Heroes on 30 November & 1 December, Space Heroes 28th & 29 December, Fantasy 25 & 26 January and Superheroes 15-23 February.
The Royal Armouries Museum is based in Leeds, in the Docks area of the city, housing a major part of the national collection of arms and armour, its displays amass over 8,500 objects throughout its five themed galleries.
Open all year round (closed 24-26 Dec) from 10AM - 5PM, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained. With plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes located on the docks there really isn't a better place to spend your time off with family and friends.
The Night Itself
We were treated to a closed off Leeds Armouries on the night of the event and as we took the lift to the fourth floor, we could take in some of the other galleries en route. Once we entered the Gallery, we could remove our coats, take a drink and take a look at some of the amazing artifacts on display.
Not too long afterwards the talks began and as well as the usual thank yous and welcomes we discovered that there were some guys in the audience who had been involved in the industry for many years.
Natalia Lee then gave a speech too, thanking everyone for inviting her to be a part of the exhibition and for supporting a woman in what is primarily a man's world. She also talked about how she'd become involved with weapons herself and the work she does championing women in her industry.
It was amazing to hear from someone who is so passionate not only about her work but also getting more women involved, because there's definitely no reason why we can't do just a good a job as the men and perhaps in some cases, better!
After all the talks, we were treated to a combat scene featuring a mummy and a ringmaster. Using a couple of artifacts from the museum, they told the story of the mummy coming back to life and fighting the ringmaster. It was very cleverly done and apparently took many, many months of training just for that 5 minutes of combat!
It just goes to show you what goes on behind the scenes on the sets of your favourite films and TV series. I personally really enjoyed it because I find that part incredibly fascinating.
After this demonstration we were shown through to the Make:Believe exhibition itself and saw all of the props from film and TV. It was interesting to learn where the inspiration came from for certain costumes like Darth Vader's helmet from Star Wars!
Make:Believe is a new display of arms, armour, and ephemera from cult and classic movies and television shows. You can see how the collection at Leeds Armouries has inspired the creation of some of the most iconic weapons and armour, from popular culture and in turn how this has influenced the development and design of their real-life counterparts.
Natalia Lee: Woman of Weapons
It was amazing to meet Natalia and hear all about her amazing work. I admit that I haven't watched Game of Thrones before so didn't know of her work on the show but I love how passionate she is about getting more women involved in her line of work.
"When there’s a girl who works with a two-tonne catapult and nobody raises an eyebrow, that’s when we’ll be on a level playing field – when it becomes the norm.”
Natalia designed weapons for the show which included the iconic Heartsbane Sword and worked with Weapons Master Tommy Dunne throughout the series to help create some of film and TV's most memorable weapons.
I love anything to do with Film and TV so it was pretty cool to be invited to this event and especially to meet Natalia. To see weapons on display from such iconic shows and films was awesome, as well as learning all about how they were made and where the inspiration for them came from.
Born in Europe and raised in Australia, Natalia began her working life in the security industry, from crowd control and personal protection to more exciting international contracts in maritime security. This led to an appreciation of arms and armour, not only in non-lethal and security applications, but in sport and martial arts.
It was by chance that she met a local film armourer and then began assisting with the weapons on film sets. It was Natalia's hard work ethic and safety conscious attitude which got her noticed by international film crews very quickly.
It was whilst Natalia was working breaking down film scripts and researching budgets that she came across a very early and hopeful pilot for a little known series called 'Game of Thrones,' little did she know then just how much of an impact it would have on her life!
All in all it was a wonderful event and one I was happy to attend. This was actually my first time at Leeds Armouries and I will definitely be back to look round the other galleries which were closed for this event.
I urge you too to come along and spend some time amongest the weapons, armour and other artifacts that Leeds Armouries posses. The Make:Believe and Museums at Night festival certainly bring another element to what can sometimes be an unwelcome environment.
If you are at all interested in film and TV, especially Game of Thrones, then I cannot recommend Leeds Armouries enough. It's an absolutely fascinating place and one I hope to return to again very soon!
Love, Sarah xoxoxo