Planning and execution:

  • Select your venue with care and to match the aim of the demo. If the intention is to recruit, then make sure that your target audience is one that will be interested in the display (i.e don’t put on a display of needlework and weaving at a Biker convention, the chances are that the interest will be slim).

  • Similarly tailor the display, where possible, to the audience you WILL have. E.g. if you expect lots of children then have something that will entertain them.

  • It is now required for the organizing team to make a risk assessment for the demo. This is due to the fact that this is a specifically public-facing event. A risk assessment form should be available from the ID Seneschalate.

  • Its very important to plan the sequence of events ahead of time. Whether it is the timing of the combat demos or who will be displaying which craft at what time in which room/tent, then make sure that the schedule is meticulous and is disseminated to all those attending.

  • Double check with the venue about timings, specific areas, facilities and contact names. Make sure everyone knows what time to arrive and where to go.

  • Plan ahead: If you need tables and chairs or a sunshade or a small pavilion for storage, then make sure someone knows that they need to bring them on the day.

  • Remember to bring sufficient flyers with you to hand out to the crowd.

  • Make sure that you have a solid core of people who have confirmed that they will be attending. Do not rely on maybes.

  • Have a “Visitor’s book” or other form of list where people can leave their names and contact information and perhaps the aspects that they are most interested in.

  • Do try to put on as authentic and entertaining a show as possible. Bear in mind that the major competition in the UK comes from the hard-core re-enactment societies. The SCA will probably never be able to beat them at authenticity, so make sure that the demo plays to the strengths of the SCA – fun, a special kind of combat and period/cultural diversity (with a large chunk of authenticity thrown in).

  • Where possible do not intentionally restrict the demo team to people from your shire – widen the call and you might get bumper attendance, but do not rely on out-of-shirers to provide your core team.

Combat Displays:

  • Plan your combat scenarios ahead as much as possible. It will look more impressive and snappy if everyone knows what they are doing.

  • When doing a combat demo do try to put on as theatrical a show as possible. Vary the scenarios and die grotesquely.

  • Do call the good blows but don’t cut short the bout as this will decrease the entertainment value.

  • Where appropriate use a non-fighting member (with a loud voice where there is lack of amplification) to commentate while giving snippets of information about the society and the rules of combat. Do not confuse the audience with too much technical detail – just give broad points of information.

  • All those taking part must be aware of small children/animals on the periphery, including the fighters, and be prepared to call a hold when necessary.

  • Do not allow members of the public to put on armour and receive blows at a demo. If they are hurt the SCA could be liable.

A&S Displays:

  • Try to drum up as wide a cross-section of A&S as possible in order to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This will also show the diverse skills covered within the society.

  • Be prepared to answer questions about the craft or combat you are displaying. Make sure you know your stuff and be ready to admit that you don’t know the answer – you never know if the person asking is an expert or not.

  • Many people in the audience will hold back out of reserve so be forthcoming and friendly and volunteer information to those who look interested.

  • Contrarily, there will also be that annoying person intent on showing that they know more than you. Remember to be polite at all times. They will eventually leave you alone.

  • Try as much as possible to have a finished project that people can touch and handle, as well as a similar in-progress project to demonstrate how it was made.

  • Have a book to one side or a file with pictures of the extant originals in museums to show those interested.


  • Try to plan a small Shire event such as a small revel or other gathering that all newly interested people can be invited to attend. This is where you can explain and demonstrate more about the joys of the SCA in a more relaxed and less pressured environment.

  • Contact all those who left their details a short time after the event and invite them to a Shire meeting or event.

  • Make sure you clean up thoroughly after the demo. If it turns out to be a successful event, you will want the organizers to be pleased with the SCA as participants and be happy to invite us back again.

  • Should you receive any enquiries following the demo, make sure you answer them promptly.