Becoming a Reenactor: Potential Barriers to Entry & How to Overcome Them
I run a reenacting-related Tumblr blog by the name of Daily Reenactor. It currently has 3,150 subscribers – a pretty healthy following for Tumblr. Daily Reenactor tends to be much more of a catch-all blog, with some videos, random photos I take or find, and tidbits about the lives of reenactors.
One of my personal goals is to help potential recruits find their way into the hobby. I started reenacting back in the mid-nineties, before the ubiquitous nature of the internet greased the wheels of social interaction. It was really, really hard to find reenactors and to find accurate information, and even harder to get a start in the hobby. It’s now fifteen years later and I’ve noticed something: it’s not all that much easier, if you don’t know where to start.
Unlike this blog, most of the readers of Daily Reenactor are not already reenactors, which has created something of an opportunity for me. I have been informally polling my readers as to whether they wish they could be a part of the reenacting hobby, and if so, what has thus far kept them from doing so. Here are a few of the responses I got:
Can’t find a reenacting unit near me. Biggest reason is that I’m going to school, work and have kids. They all hate reenacting.
Money is probably almost always going to be the problem. Definitely is for me, though location is not great either.
I’m a student without a job, a car, or a drivers license. Gear is expensive. I live in an area that seems pretty low on reenactors or events. The closest reenactments are at least an hour and a half away, and neither my parents nor my friends have the time or inclination to drive 4 hours, round-trip, and sit around (probably bored) whilst I run around in uniform. Also, a friend of mine from high school reenacts with a local group, and when I sent him a facebook message inquiring about the group, he said that the leader flat-out doesn’t want any women in it.
There’s no reenacting in my area (or close to). if so, it’s only twice or once a year.
For the most part, for me, it’s the money issue. I do not have time to learn to sew, so…there you go? Everything else I can find!
Time, once you are old enough to make the money to do the things you wanted to try you are working too much to have any free time.
Aside from SCA, ren faires, and one small medieval group…I can’t find squat. That’s my current block.
As you can see, I got a wide variety of answers, but there were definitely some common themes. My plan is to have a post series here on Historically Speaking which addresses each of the common barriers to joining the hobby, and what you can do to mitigate them. If you’re interested in becoming a historical reenactor, this is definitely a series you’ll want to follow along with!