Community group’s third annual festival keeps it live and local

Rochester Literature Festival

The Rochester Literature Festival is back for a third year bringing readers, writers and like minds together.

Featuring a sense of people and places, this year’s Rochester Literature Festival ‘Live’n’Local’ will mix writings inspired by the urban and rural places of Kent, along with its cultural heritage.

On Saturday, the festival will be based at The Guildhall Museum in Rochester High Street for a selection of talks with an historic theme, while the popular Cafe Crawl will take place in various cafes.

On Sunday, a lovely and eclectic selection of authors will delight you with their stories in the gallery space at the wonderful Sun Pier House in Chatham.

Bookmark’d will be back in a slightly different format, and an artist will be on hand to capture the event as well as inspire you to do the same.

The ever-brilliant Sam Hall of 17% brings her new play, My Mind is Free, produced by Rah Rah Theatre, to the festival on Sunday evening at the Nucleus Arts Centre in Chatham, continuing the wonderful ‘Night at the Theatre’ events enjoyed in the previous two festivals.

As part of the BBC Get Creative Campaign, the RLF is also running 4 themed workshops.

The workshops on Saturday at the Guildhall Museum feature The History Magpie, Rachael Hale, who – inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts – will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told. Festival partner Sam Hall, with fellow playwright and BBC Prize winner Sarah Hehir, will teach you how to use news stories to inspire your own writing, leading the creative writing workshop Safe and Sound which is linked to the Sunday evening play, My Mind is Free, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK (over 14s).

On Sunday at Sun Pier House, Nature Girl, Carol Donaldson will be taking participants out to explore the local environment before committing their discoveries to paper, while Melanie Benn will help you in Unlocking your Memories with discussion and thoughtful writing exercises, encouraging you to think about writing from personal experiences.

Festival Director Jaye Nolan says: “We’re excited to be part of the BBC’s Get Creative Campaign this year, and pleased to be able to offer such a wide variety of workshops for both aspiring and experienced writers in the community. Whether you’re into history, the environment, memoir or playwriting, we’ve got something for you.”

Both the Guildhall Museum and Sun Pier House Gallery Cafe remain open to the public as usual with free entry. There is a small fee for the workshops (children free) and play to cover costs. The RLF is a voluntary, non profit organisation and donations will be gratefully accepted to help secure future festivals.

The programme of events is as follows:

Saturday 10 October Guildhall Museum

Workshops

10am – The History Magpie led by Rachael Hale

Inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts, Rachael will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told.

1pm – Safe and Sound led by Sam Hall and Sarah Hehir

Learn how to use news stories to inspire your own writing! Sam and Sarah will lead a creative writing workshop linked with the Sunday evening play, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK. (Over 14s)

Speakers

12 noon-1pm Toni Mount

Prolific medieval specialist Toni will be unravelling the mysteries of ancient medicine – when butchers knew more about anatomy than university trained physicians!

2-3pm Truda Thurai

Referencing short stories inspired by Rochester Cathedral and her own methods of research, Truda will share some of her secrets to writing historical fiction.

4-5pm Sir Robert Worcester

The inspiration for our history themed day, the Magna Carta is widely regarded as a potent symbol of the freedom of the individual. 2015 is the 800th anniversary of its sealing at Runnymede and we’re delighted that Sir Robert, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, is joining us to discuss its legacy.

Cafe Crawl, featuring Pop Up Performers: 11am-12noon, 1-2pm, 3-4pm at Cafe@172, Bruno’s Bakes and The Quills.

Sunday 11 October Sun Pier House

Workshops

10am-12noon Nature Girl led by Carol Donaldson

Be prepared for any weather as Carol leads you out of the building to connect with – and take inspiration from – your surroundings, before heading back to commit your discoveries to paper.

1-3pm Unlocking Your Memories led by Melanie Benn

Whether you’re retired or just setting out of life’s journey, don’t be shy – come along and unpick the story you want to tell, as Melanie leads you through learning to write from your own experience.

Speakers

11.30 Jane Lythell

Formerly in situ at the BFI and BAFTA and a TV producer for many years, film fan Jane has made a stunning switch to writing thrillers. Consider yourself dared to join in!

12.45 Bill Lewis

The internationally renowned award winning poet, author and visual artist talks about his life, influences, travels, reading and writing. He will also read a selection of new and old writing.

2pm Maggie Harris

A welcome return to Medway for Maggie, sharing her evocative, fascinating stories and poems about life at home and abroad.

3.15 Cultural Contributors Discussion Panel led by Roy Smith (Seasonally Effected) and featuring Lisa Vigour (Inspirational Nights) and Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall (Roundabout Nights) in a discussion about the vibrant cultural open mic scene prevalent in Medway, and the opportunities it gives to aspiring performers.

4.30pm Michael Nath

Follow a magical pursuit for the essence of literary character in the company of a latter day Falstaff, as Michael discusses his latest book, British Story.

Throughout the day at Sun Pier we also have a lovely artist, Julie Bradshaw, with us to inspire you to respond to the festival visually and in writing – stand still too long and you’ll be captured forever!

And – for your ears only – Bookmark’d is an opportunity to get up close and personal with local publishers and authors, to hear snippets of, and discuss, their work. Features Urbane Publications, Wordsmithery, David Griffin, Medway Mermaids and Paul Breen.

Sunday 11/10 Nucleus Arts Centre: A Night at the Theatre

7pm My Mind is Free. The new play is inspired by the stories of people who have fallen into modern day slavery and is an all too poignant reminder of how people traffickers can take advantage of the current refugee situation. The play is funded by the Arts Council and the Kent Commissioners Fund.

 

You can keep up to date with the festival on Twitter @RochLitFest, find them on Facebook or call 07904 643770.  The full programme can be found on the RLF website at www.rochesterlitfest.com, where tickets can be booked for the play and workshops. Brochures can also be picked up from the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester, the venues and various libraries.

Get Creative – Get Writing

Supporting GetCreative pink (4)

The Rochester Litfest (RLF) is to host 4 themed writing workshops during their 2015 festival, Live’n’Local, as part of Get Creative – a year-long celebration of British arts, culture and creativity.

Get Creative aims to boost creativity in the UK, as well as celebrating the millions of people already doing something artistic and creative everyday. The campaign was launched 19 February 2015, by BBC Arts in partnership with cultural movement What Next? and leading arts and cultural organisations across the country, including Culture at King’s, Voluntary Arts, 64 Million Artists, Fun Palaces, Cultural Learning Alliance and Arts Council England

The RLF is joining hundreds of organisations nationwide in becoming a Get Creative Champion.

This year’s festival will run across the weekend 10/11 October and features a sense of people and place, mixing workshops and talks inspired by landscape and cultural heritage.

A history themed day takes place at the Guildhall Museum on Saturday, October 11, with 2 workshops and three speakers, including Keynote Speaker, Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Commemoration Committee, while at Sun Pier House on Sunday the 11th, speakers include local legend Bill Lewis, a panel discussion featuring some of Medway’s cultural contributors, and 2 more workshops.

The workshops on Saturday at the Guildhall Museum feature The History Magpie, Rachael Hale, who – inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts – will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told. Festival partner Sam Hall will teach you how to use news stories to inspire your own writing, leading the creative writing workshop Safe and Sound which is linked to the Sunday evening play, My Mind is Free, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK (over 14s).

On Sunday at Sun Pier House, Nature Girl, Carol Donaldson will be taking participants out to explore the local environment before committing their discoveries to paper, while Melanie Benn will help you in Unlocking your Memories with discussion and thoughtful writing exercises, encouraging you think about writing from personal experiences.

Festival Director Jaye Nolan says: “We’re excited to be part of the BBC’s Get Creative Campaign this year, and pleased to be able to offer such a wide variety of workshops for both aspiring and experienced writers in the community. Whether you’re into history, the environment, memoir or playwriting, we’ve got something for you.”

You can keep up to date with the festival on Twitter @RochLitFest or find them on Facebook.  The full programme can be found on the RLF website at www.rochesterlitfest.com or call 07904 643770.

Get Creative will also have its digital home on BBC Arts online and through the use of #bbcgetcreative on social media sites.

Garden Poetry Party – Launch of Rochester Literature Festival – 22nd July 2012 – Rochester – Kent

A brand new festival for Rochester will launch in July under the banner of the Rochester Literature Festival.

With the inaugural Festival planned to coincide with National Poetry Day in October 2013, a number of fringe events will take place beforehand, the first of which is The Garden Poetry Party, on Sunday 22nd July, at Eastgate House Gardens.

Celebrated Medway Poet Bill Lewis will be joined by storyteller and founding RLF (Rochester Literature Festival) member Philip Kane, The James Worse Public Address Method and singer songwriters Abigail Zeiring-Delmado and Didi Bergman. Comperes for the afternoon will be stand up comics CO Jones and Mat Wills.

Among the entertainment will be at least one open mic session and a children’s creative corner, with more activities available for visitors to join in with.The event will take place between 12 noon and 4pm and there will be refreshments available to buy, courtesy of Dot Cafe, Sonya’s Cupcakes and The Cocktail Club.

Should it rain, the event will be held inside Eastgate House itself. A Medway Archive exhibition entitled ‘Metal Men of Medway’ is taking place inside at the same time, which looks at the stories of the art and memorials of Medway’s streets.

A number of book and craft stalls will also be in the garden. Enquiries on how to secure one can be made to rochesterlitfest@gmail.com

Promotions Director Jaye Nolan outlined the aims of the festival: “The Rochester Literature Festival wishes to bring writers, performers, directors, producers and film makers together, anyone, in fact, whose work has creative writing at its heart.

We’ll be looking for challenges and events, and the chance to collaborate with likeminded folk.

Rochester has a fantastic reputation for festivals incorporating dance, music and art, and, of course, our most celebrated author, Charles Dickens. We’re sure he would approve of a dedicated literature festival, especially one that will bring Medway’s huge variety of writers, old and new, to the fore.”

To keep up to date with all the news from the Rochester Literature Festival, visit their website here http://rochesterlitfest.com/ follow them on Twitter @RochLitFest  and like their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterLiteratureFestival

Area: South East