When he’s not writing copy for various clients, Rory Thomas Nolan spends his time going back in time — as a Revolutionary War reenactor. Rory is the senior copywriter at Matter and has been at the company for over a year. Take a look inside the world of Revolutionary War living history in this installment of Matter Out of Office.
Q: Tell us about what you do at Matter:
A: I’m the senior copywriter for our digital and marketing teams, which means I write for a wide range of creative assets — from websites and emails to conference displays, videos and more.
Q: What are your passions outside of work?
A: I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Whether it’s hiking New England or traveling out West to explore our National Parks, I’ve always felt most at home in the woods. I also enjoy canoeing/kayaking and ripping around town on my bike.
Lately, between sewing projects, I’ve been tinkering with my antique moped. It’s the bane of my existence, but I love it so.
Q: What about reenacting excites you?
A: I’d say the best part about reenacting is the people. You get to meet all these wonderful, supportive folks from all walks of life — it really opens you up to a diverse array of people you’d never have met if not for the hobby. Everyone’s so eager to share their knowledge and help you grow as a reenactor, which has really helped me learn and evolve so much in the decade I’ve been doing this. Also, I’ve always enjoyed sewing since my halcyon punk rock days. So I get to do that a lot now.
Q: How often do you do reenactments?
A: I do about one event a month, except in the winter. And I’m traveling to events from New Hampshire and Vermont down to Maryland and Delaware. But if I wanted to, I could do a living history event every weekend. There’s so much going on in the community, you can really do as much or as little as you’d like. But sometimes, it’s nice to hang around town for a weekend.
Q: Did you picture yourself doing this as a hobby?
A: Honestly, it wasn’t until I participated in my first battle reenactment that I’d ever even considered doing living history and reenacting. But I’ve always had a knack for history, costuming and making my own clothes, so I suppose it was only a matter of time.
Q: What does a typical reenactment consist of?
A: Most of the largest reenactments are battles — though there are plenty that focus on civilian life and non-combat aspects of the period. But for the battles, the American forces are in one camp, and the British have their own. Throughout the first half of the day, everyone’s busy drilling, mending clothes, cooking, eating, etc. Then, in the early afternoon, we hold the large tactical battle reenactment. Depending on whether it’s a recreation of a real event or a mock battle at a historic site, we either follow a guided timeline of the real battle, or test each other’s tactical abilities to see who will win the day. Afterwards, everyone heads back to camp, cleans their kit, runs guard duty, and preps for dinner. After dinner, we get together to socialize, which often involves music, dancing and…. erm…. merriment.
Q: What has been your favorite reenactment experiences?
A: That’s a tough call, because most every event has something truly special to love about it. But many of the most memorable events have been run by friends — including stand-out events this year in Rhode Island and New York. Not only did I get to spend wonderful time with some of my favorite people, but each event left me feeling very excited and lucky to be a part of this community.
Normally, I do British impression, but the event at Stony Point, NY, was my first time participating as an American. And that crew was so wonderful and helpful, I rode home with a big smile afterwards.
Also, shout out to Fort Ticonderoga, which is just a spectacular site with some great people putting on wonderful events. And Hubbardton, Vermont, which is easily the most beautiful site in all of Rev War reenacting. All you can see are the Green Mountains — not a house in view. It really helps carry you to that time and place.
Subscribe below to have our blogs sent directly to your inbox!