The 2018 Whitstable Biennale brings the most exciting experimental and emerging art to Whitstable, with live performances, film screenings, sound works, and the written word woven into the fabric of the town, with major new commissions, exhibitions and film premieres.
Art will be dotted around the town making new routes to explore for those who don’t know Whitstable, whilst creating radical and uncanny shifts within familiar spaces for those who do. From a Victorian Sea Scouts Hall to Whitstable’s only DVD/Comic shop, the biennale will take over curious buildings and unusual spaces. Artworks will be located on the streets, on the beach, and in the harbour – inside boat sheds and even on a mysterious spit of land only visible at low tide.
Taking its title from Booker-shortlisted novel Swimming Home by acclaimed writer Deborah Levy, many of the works in the Biennale are a response to the rhythms of the tide and a reflection on the ocean, exploring ideas of where home might be and thoughts of being at sea or in exile. Many of the works also touch on issues of identity and the movement and instability of languages, food, cargo and people. Deborah Levy, own inspiration was drawn from John Cheever’s book The Swimmer which was later made into a film starring Burt Lancaster, and Levy herself will create a new, limited-edition text for the biennale, which she shall read from and distribute to Biennale attendees.
Paint The Town Festival is back for Season 4, running from 14 -18 March 2018. The theatre and arts festival produced by Lyrici Arts in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre’s Collaborative Touring Network, will once again focus on touring brilliant new works, championing local creatives and offering a bit of kindness to the people of Medway. See the full listing of events at www.lyriciarts.com
Highlights this season include the 5* sell-out, dark comedy, Ugly Chief by award winning performer Victoria Melody and her real-life dad, celebrity antiques expert Mike Melody (of ‘Dickenson’s Real Deal’ fame). The show explores when Mike was wrongly diagnosed with a terminal illness and how Victoria went about planning for the funeral he would have wanted. With video diaries and open declarations, the show is a snapshot into the relationship between a father and daughter who don’t always see eye-to-eye.
Paint The Town Festival is always looking for performances that challenge issues and support worthwhile campaigns, and programming Byron Vincent and Dave McGill’s Live Before You Die is no exception. Looking candidly at two friends who are more used to calling each other names than talking about depression, this brilliant touring show highlights men’s mental health and the necessity of breaking down the stigma around the subject.
The festival has loads for the little ones too! Sponge is the squishiest, squashiest show for babies and toddlers taking place during the week at Medway Adult Education. After working with the organisation and using it as the venue for their sell-out babies show Neverland, the festival producers were excited to bring another mesmerising children’s show to Rochester.
“We cannot wait for Season 4! Being able to not only programme brilliant touring shows and place them in local venues like Medway Adult Education and The Brook Theatre, but also to work with talented local creatives and create a platform for their work to be showcased is what makes every festival so very exciting. We have gone another step and made all the festival tickets £5.00 or less, so there really is nothing stopping everyone from engaging with the arts and joining in.”
Other events taking place during Paint The Town include; Festival of Festivals, a glamorous showcase by Chatham based dance school Dance Alley, Beacheda uniquely exclusive puppet show for only eight people at a time by StrangeFace Theatre Company, a children’s theatre workshop based on retaining the royal crown by Bindlestick Theatre Company and Shakespeare inspired crafts with Creative Champion of the Year winner Natasha Steer of Creatabot.
During the festival keep a look out in hidden spaces for eight beautifully hand-crafted flower bouquets by Clara A. Free to whoever finds them first, the bouquets are a gift from the festival team to the residents of Medway as a thank you for their support so far.
Paint the Town Festival: Season 4 runs from 14 – 18 March and tickets are on sale now. Event information, show trailers and ticket links can be found at www.lyriciarts.com
Show Schedule (please check website for full event listings):
Title: Ugly Chiefby Victoria Melody
Venue: The Brook Theatre, Chatham, ME4 4SE
Dates: Friday 16th March 2018 – 7.30pm
Title: Spongeby Big Imaginations and Turned on its Head
Venue: Medway Adult Education, Rochester Community Hub, ME1 1EW
Dates: Thursday 15th March – Saturday 17th March 2018 (multiple times)
Title: Festival of Festivals – A Dance Celebration by Dance Alley
Venue: The Brook Theatre, Chatham, ME4 4SE
Dates: Wednesday 14th March 2018 – 7pm
Title: Live Before You Die – by Byron Vincent and Dave McGinn
Venue: Huguenot Museum, 95 High Street, Rochester, ME1 1LX
Supported and funded by Medway Council’s Arts Development Team in partnership with Look Kloser Performing Arts Company.
A day of creative workshops by some of Medway and Kent’s best practice arts led projects for health and wellbeing with and for the community.
22nd February 10am-4.15pm
Suitable for students 16+, graduates, artists, and those interested in the role of the arts for the health and wellbeing of the community. An opportunity to experience current arts led projects available in Medway and Kent.
When: 22nd February 2018, 10am-4.15pm
Where: Woodland Arts Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham, ME7 2DU
10-11- Natasha, Creatabot. Community focussed visual artist.
11.15-12.15 – Lance, Physical Folk. Using all art for all abilities, ages, cultures to share stories and skills.
2-3- Chris and Wendy, MESS ROOM. The MESS ROOM hosts artist led projects in partnership with local communities and beyond.
Ash dance studio
11.15-12.15- Laura, Look Kloser. A workshop exploring how to make performing arts inclusive and open to all.
Paint The Town returns to Medway this year with a selection of performances, experiences and workshops by both local and national creatives.
The festival, organised by Medway based organisation Lyrici Arts, are particularly bringing events centred around mental health and diversity to the Medway towns, including the show “My Beautiful Black Dog” on Wednesday 19th April at The Brook Theatre, Chatham. The show challenges the stigma around mental health and encourages the audience to take ownership over their own black dogs whilst channeling infectious dance moves, swagger-boss costumes and banging tunes!
Also look out for fun craft workshops, mental health and brain injury support, an inspiring spoken word collaboration with Wordsmithery, interesting panel talks with the stars of the shows and industry professionals, children’s fun time activities and much more.
Hip Hip Hooray will be a children’s party with a difference! Take part in singing workshops with Tom Penn (creator of Neverland), a recycled arts and crafts workshop with Creatabot to celebrate world Earth Day, show us your moves on the dancefloor and then settle in for a surprise show that is out of this world.
Suitable for ages 3-8 years
Date: Saturday 22nd April 2017
Party: 3.30- 5pm
Price: Standard £5 per child. This ticket admits one child – Adults tag along for free! Purchase tickets here
In April 2016, Medway based organisation, Lyrici Arts were awarded a regional place within the Collaborative Touring Network, enabling them to be a National festival partner until 2019, and help to address diversity and arts inclusion aims within the Medway Towns.
The Collaborative Touring Network is supported by Arts Council England , Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and Unlimited Impact.
The School of Music and Fine Art, part of the University of Kent’s Medway campus, is proud to announce the new series of Visiting Artist Talks, which are FREE to attend but booking is required. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.The venue is the stunning restored Church in the Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Artists, writers, filmmakers, curators and performers, each speaker renowned in their own field, will pose distinct and searching questions to address the urgent concerns of our age. Guests will provide a detailed presentation of their work, sharing their experiences of navigating the complex multifaceted art world.
Launching the programme at 6.15pm on Tuesday November 10th is international Kent-based artist Benedict Drew, who works across video, sculpture, music and their associated technologies. Born in 1977, he graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in 2011 and was a LUX Associate Artist (2011/12). Drew’s often chaotic environments and installations feature screens, cables and small-scale anthropomorphised sculptures made from lo-fi materials such as tin foil and, occasionally, mud. Intended as a response to our ‘over-saturated digital realm’. Drew’s installations are attempts to ‘articulate the horror of the modern world.’
The artist says: ‘I make videos and music and exhibitions and picture and sculptures. I am interested in the potential of these combinations to create an ecstatic and sometimes abject alternative universe.’ A review from the current British Art Show observes: http://afternoondust.co.uk/blog/british-art-show-8#.VilIkxCrRR0
…Benedict Drew’s “Sequencer” is all about stuff: sticky, splodgy, gooey stuff, material through and through. His film presented across multiple screens is full of rough, ready landscapes of dirt and rock juxtaposed with paint erupting like volcanoes or oil burps. It’s also full of holes: holes that gape like ears, squish and stretch like mouths, or wobble like the cones of the speakers scattered prominently in front of the screens, spewing out squelchy psychedelic goop. Yep, it’s all about stuff, and that stuff is sound: gleefully trashing the painstaking refinement and posed ephemerality of much of contemporary sound art, Drew gives us an earful of messy, splurging sonic substance that injects the silent, airtight contemporary landscape with a gelatinous, technologically-mediated roar. The horror of the Real — the material encounter with a thingy world beyond the control of language — becomes the bass pulse you can feel.
Represented by Matts Gallery, London, Drew’s recent solo exhibitions include: Heads May Roll, Matt’s Gallery, London; The Persuaders, Adelaide Festival, SASA Gallery Adelaide, Australia; Zero Hour Petrified, Ilam Campus Gallery, School of Fine Arts University of Canterbury, New Zealand (all 2014); The Onesie Cycle, Rhubarba, Edinburgh; Now Thing, Whitstable Biennale; This Is Feedback, Outpost, Norwich; Gliss, Cell Project Space; and The Persuaders, Circa Site / AV Festival, Newcastle (2013).
An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics is a large scale collaborative project from Medway-based literary art organisation Wordsmithery, fusing words and images from writers and artists from Medway and beyond. Last year, in our inaugural year, as part of the Rochester Literature Festival, we teamed up 22 writers with 20 artists. This year the exhibition has grown by a third, as 32 writers will have their work interpreted by 27 or more artists… (we are currently collecting the artworks!)
We asked writers to write a piece inspired by Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’, then we gave these writings anonymously to artists who interpreted them without knowing who the authors are.
The collaborations are revealed in the exhibition which runs until from 1-30 September 2015 at Rochester Library, then will move onto another local library.
Artwork by long-standing and established Medway writers and artists sits alongside the work of new talent in this stunning exhibition. Some of the writers whose work features are Bill Lewis, Maria C McCarthy, Sarah Hehir, Sam Fentiman-Hall, Sally Evans, Philip Kane, and some of the artists include: Peter Reeds (whose art features as the illustration for the exhibition poster), Heather Haythornthwaite, Chris Van Beck, Dianne Reeves and Maggie Drury.
Artists have interpreted the texts in a variety of media – including, photograms, oil paintings, photographs, linocuts, textiles, collage and sculpture.
The texts which inspired the artwork will be revealed in full at an event on 3 September 2015, where the writers will read their work, and leave a booklet of the stories and poems for visitors to read. The event, which is free to attend, takes place at Rochester Library.
Barry Fentiman-Hall of Wordsmithery, who curated the exhibition said: “This is collaborative art at its best. A simple idea passes through many hands and emerges in a way that is completely unpredictable. It is still recognisable in some vague way, like a distant relative, but it has evolved into a different thing, and it is beautiful.” Exhibition: 1-30 September 2015
Rochester Library, Community Hub Rochester
Launch Event: Live readings from the exhibition: 3 September, 7.30pm, Rochester Library. Please book with the library on 01634 337799.
Urban Expression is an exciting new event aimed at celebrating different forms of streetbased arts, activity and creativity in locations around Chatham. A variety of activities will be happening in different locations around Chatham High Street, including: MC’ing, busking, parkour, dance, spoken word, street-art, eco-crafts, skateboarding and skating on the 27th and 28th August from 1-5pm.
Activities are aimed at young people aged 12 years plus – but are not exclusive to young people.
As part of Urban Expressions, The Urban Playground Team are bringing their parkour / dance performance STEAM: bOing! to Sun Pier, Chatham on the 27thand 28th August from 1-5pm.
As part of Urban Expressions, bOing! comes to Medway on Thu 27 & Fri 28 August this year, when the brilliant Urban Playground Team bring their energetic Performance-Parkour to Sun Pier, Chatham.
The Urban Playground Team will also be performing at bOing! (University of Kent) as part of the bOINg! weekend on 29 & 30 August.
The Urban Playground Team are the original Performance-Parkour (2PK) company and are coming to Medway with an energetic dance-theatre piece unlike anything you’ve seen before.
In STEAM, The Urban Playground Team reimagine the life of a steam locomotive through scenes inspired by the silent movies of Buster Keaton, the gun fights of the old West and the rooftop stunts of James Bond.
Combining contemporary & urban dance with Parkour and physical theatre STEAM is brought to Medway by Gulbenkian as part of the bOing!2015 International Family Festival, Canterbury (29&30 Aug) and forms part of Urban Expressions in Chatham.
Performances will be at:
Thu 27 Aug – 1pm
Thu 27 Aug – 3.45pm Fri 28 Aug – 1pm Fri 28 Aug – 3.45pm
Recommended for all ages. Performance run-time: 20 mins.
Workshops and freeplay will take place between performances.
STEAM is presented in partnership with Medway Council.
An exciting new practice based MA Event & Experience Design (subject to validation), will be offered at the School of Music and Fine Art from September 2016. Situated in the heart of the thriving Medway creative hub, the School of Music and Fine Art offers a range of degrees, postgraduate programmes and PhDs that include Fine Art, Music, Music Technology, Sound and Image, and Event and Experience Design in the dynamic and inspiring environment of Chatham Historic Dockyard.
The new MA Event & Experience Design covers contemporary culture delivered through live and mediated events that may include live streaming, interactive networks and traditional terrestrial broadcast. The experience may be interactive, participatory or immersive or combinations of any of these.
This programme is ideal for Art, Design, Digital Arts, Performance and Drama (and other related subjects) undergraduate students who wish to study in an interdisciplinary environment. It is also aimed at professionals in the industry who wish to study part time(over 2 years) for personal and professional development.
Modules are assessed on coursework and practical project outcomes with supporting research portfolios. The dissertation is 8,000 words or 5,000 words plus a publicly-presented element.
Medway is lucky enough to have multiple arts spaces that each have something unique to offer. If you would like to book a days tour (for a small donation to the Creatabot project) please contact Natasha on email@example.com
Nucleus Arts is the Award Winning flagship arts organisation founded by the Halpern Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Hilary Halpern and it was his dream to promote the Arts in Medway and Kent. Nucleus Arts has become the cultural and creative heart of Kent & Medway over the past 12 years and focuses on affordability, accessibility and excellence in the Arts. They run multiple workshops, events and training programmes.
The main centre is at 272 High Street, Chatham, where the gallery, conference room and main artists studios are based. The artists open studios are held here every 1st Saturday of the month for all to attend for free.
Nucleus Arts also have creative studio space in Military Road, Chatham, Rochester High Street (which also includes retail space) and Lower Stone Street, Maidstone. All spaces have a lovely cafe managed by Cafe Nucleus.
Nucleus Arts are working in collaboration with multiple local charities on their Arts Inclusive programme to make sure the arts can be accessible to all.
This Community Interest Company was formed in 2012 to support and promote the best of Medway’s talent, providing a base for established and start-up businesses in the creative sector.
Within the building, there is a large exhibition gallery, tea room, events space, hire rooms, artist studios, open plan creative office space with hot desk facilities, all enjoying a glorious panoramic view of the River Medway.
Sun Pier House CIC actively promotes the businesses working within Medway’s creative community, encouraging them to grow and develop to their full potential. Sun Pier House is right next to Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham.
POP is an abandoned shop turned into a Creative space in the heart of Chatham, Medway. The shop has been funded by EU and Recreate and hosts various free events and exhibitions throughout the year. POP is at 64 – 66 High Street, Chatham.
Unravel and Unwind are working to develop a “country cottage” style craft drop in centre for crafters of all abilities, ages, background and culture where they can come and craft while they socialise-practice-teach-learn.
Their aim is to create a friendly open environment,”a crafting home from home” ) where local crafters & families can practice, learn, teach and sell their crafts. A place where skills can be shared and new ideas encouraging community engagement, increasing social well-being, removing isolation and possibly mentoring transitions into employment. They are based at Intra Arts, 337-341 High Street, Rochester.
INTRA is a Medway based arts venue, hosting creative events, classes, activities and studios, and offering one of the best collections in Kent of specialist arts equipment accessible to the general public – especially specialist printing equipment.
The not for profit company Intra Arts Ltd. was formed in 2014 when they took on the former Spemco building in Rochester High Street. This Art Deco fronted, Victorian building is much loved in the historic area of ‘Chatham Intra’. Their aim is to provide an arts programme, creative opportunities and education in a space that welcomes people of all ages, abilities and circumstances. They are based at 337-341 High Street, Rochester.