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All aboard! Join notorious pirate Blackbeard as he plunders the Royal Armouries this June

Thursday, 7th June 2018
man dressed in pirate costume

Legends character: Blackbeard

On the 23 & 24 June the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds will be calling all seadogs to hop on board its action-packed Blackbeard weekend.

The event will focus on the notorious 18th-century English pirate who plundered the Caribbean seas, marking the 300th anniversary of his death. The weekend is part of the museum’s wider Legends series of events, exploring mighty and mysterious warrior legends from cultures around the world through storytelling, performances, combat demonstrations, objects in the Royal Armouries collections, music, film and activities for all ages.

Visitors can explore an 18th-century naval encampment and meet members of the Royal Navy and their pirate foes, witness an outdoor pirate battle, see cannon demonstrations and even meet Blackbeard himself. The event coincides with Leeds Waterfront Festival at Leeds Dock. The Waterfront Festival includes an array of indoor and outdoor events, musical performances and street food.

On the evening of 23 June there will also be a unique storytelling performance, especially for adults. Innovative storyteller Tim Ralphs will be performing his adaptation of Robert Louise Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’. His stories are drawn from a rich medley of myth and folk tale, but also include live adaptations of absurd texts and wondrous re-imaginings of classic fairy tale material in evocative urban settings. Taking place after normal opening hours in the museum’s War Gallery, and with a bar for evening drinks available, this promises to be a truly memorable experience.

Other upcoming events in the Legends series include weekends inspired by China’s greatest heroine Mulan (28 & 29 July), fabled American scout, bison hunter and showman Buffalo Bill (25 – 27 August), skilled archer and Indian hero Arjuna (15 & 16 September), King of Norway who battled for the English throne Harald Hardrada (13 & 14 October), fierce Celtic Queen Boudicca (24 & 25 November) and legendary leader of medieval myth King Arthur (29 – 31 December).

Commenting on the Legends events, Mark Jackson, Events and Informal Learning Manager, said: “Throughout history Blackbeard has been both celebrated and feared, with stories of his adventures shrouded with myth and legend. The events in our Legends series will give visitors a chance to learn more about the individual characters as well as their place in history, with opportunities to get see action-packed storytelling performances and live combat demonstrations, as well as hands-on activities, perfect for all ages.”

Tickets for ‘Treasure Island’ storytelling (opens in new website) are available online.

For event updates follow:

Notes to editors

Further enquiries to: Katie Canning, Communications Officer. Email:, telephone: 0113 220 1978

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.