Medway Libraries offer an incredible variety of free and affordable creative sessions for the local community. To see what is happening in a library near you download the below spreadsheet or see the images below.
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
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)
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
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.
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.
Ideas Test has been out and about over the last few months promoting their Six Ways to Wellbeing Swale project. They’re offering an exciting programme of workshops for young people 13-19 (25 SEN) in Swale aiming to improve their sense of wellbeing through film, dance, drama, writing and creative technology. Working with some of the most exciting arts organisations in Kent and beyond, it’s a great range of opportunities – have a look at the list below for details.
A crowd-sourced ‘wellbeing poem’ has been launched with Dan Simpson, who’s one of the workshop leaders. Get involved on Twitter with #wellbeingpoem or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The result will be broadcast during a final performance at The Avenue Theatre in Sittingbourne on December 6, which will showcase what participants have done during this project.
- Join Codasign to make an interactive phone cover which lights up when your phone rings or to create an interactive installation.
- Explore elements of dance and develop your dance and physical theatre skills with The Jasmin Vardimon Company.
- The Rochester LitFest offers you the chance to have fun with poetry and spoken word – writing and performing – and learn about digital storytelling using social media.
- Want to write, direct, act or design a TV series? These fun, exciting and hands on sessions with Viola Films will give you the chance to learn some basic film making skills and create a new Six Part Webseries.
- Your ideas performed from scratch – Wide Eyed Theatre will help you create a story of people, place and events that make you happy!
The Six Ways to Wellbeing are:
- Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
- Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
- Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
- Keep learning – try something new
- Give – doing something for others
- Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability
Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at www.liveitwell.co.uk
The project is jointly funded by Kent County Council, Artswork and Royal Opera House Bridge.
Workshops led by Jenni Burrows; a practising textile artist and qualified Art teacher. The aim of the workshops is to introduce you to the art of felt making, and to equip you with the basic skills that will allow you to branch out and be adventurous evolving your own style. There are a range of courses for adults and children, with all materials are provided. (You will need to bring your own lunch for the all day courses, but tea, coffee and juice will be available).
Perfect for beginners! All materials provided!
8th February and 1st March: 10-4pm: Taster Day for Adults–experiment with a range of felt making techniques. Cost £35 per person (max: 10 places)
18th February: 10-12pm: Family Workshops for children Ages 3-6 years. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Max of two children per adult. (10 places maximum)
Cost: £10 per child
18th February: 1-3pm:Family Workshops for children Ages-7-10 years. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Max of two children per adult.
(10 places maximum). Cost: £10 per child
20th February: 10-4pm:Young People’s Workshop Ages 11-16 years.
(10 places maximum)
Cost: £25 per person
Adult Evening Workshops
A six week course beginning on Tuesday 25th February: 7-9pm experimenting with a range of techniques and materials to create a wearable piece of art.
Cost: £90 for six week course every Tuesday evening.
The workshops will be held at Sun Pier House.
Full address is: Sun Wharf, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF
(We’re next to Staples and BBC Radio Kent)
Free parking is available on site for the Tuesday evening class attendants. Alternatively, there is a pay and display car park within 1 minute walk; we are 8 minutes’ walking distance from Rochester train station; 5 minute’s walking distance from Chatham train station and 2 minute’s walking distance from Chatham bus station.
The workshops will take place in a studio environment on the first floor of Sun Pier House.
Please be aware, the building is over 25 years old and while Sun Pier House CIC are in the early stages of transforming the 1980’s offices into a creative centre, there is currently no lift access. The workshops will take place on the first floor, accessed via a set of external stairs. If you have any questions or concerns about the access please contact the venue in advance of booking.
To book a place on one of the courses please email: email@example.com or phone 07505899623.
The Makery is a place where people can come and learn how to be more resourceful.It is a place where things are thought of in terms of their potential; re-using what would otherwise be thrown away; getting people to look at objects in a different manner. And re-using things in such a way that the finished item is just as great as something you’d buy in the shops. Forget that – even better, because it’s been made by hand.
The Makery hold a huge range of workshops including printmaking, bookbinding, sewing, lingerie, felt making, knitting, embroidery and jewellery.
To find out more and to see the workshop calendar visit
Area: South West
The organisers of The Craft and Design Experience are once again staging their contemporary craft fair in June at The Henley Showground within the Hambleden Estate, near Henley on Thames.
The Craft and Design Experience has earned an enviable reputation for selecting only the very best professional designers, artists and craftsmen and, with the resurgence in interest in designer crafts, the event is expected to be as popular as ever. Visitors are able to shop for unusual contemporary items in a relaxing atmosphere, view a wide range of demonstrations or take part in various craft related workshops. For children there will be a storyteller, a make and take area and lots more.
Work will be on sale from exhibitors working in many disciplines including furniture, textiles, jewellery, leatherwork, glass and more. Design of the exhibitors’ products must be of the highest standard to be selected, and must show true innovation and originality ensuring only the very best in UK design is represented.
Opening times are 10 am – 5 pm each day. Advance tickets are now on sale at a reduced price or purchase on the door at £7.00 for adults, £6.00 for over 65s or children 5 – 16 £1.00. For further information and advance ticket sales contact CDE Ltd on 01622 747 325 or visit the website at www.craftexperience.co.uk.
Area – South East
Kent based business, Craft In Focus, is staging one of their contemporary craft events in Canterbury from 13-15 April this year at Kent College.
Although exhibitors come from all over the UK, several local makers have been selected. These include jewellers, Dave Kilford from Deal and Sabine Konig from Herne Bay, silversmith Edward Mahony from Faversham, artist Deborah Packebusch from Barming, ceramicists Helen Rondell from Wrotham Heath and Louise Hummerstone from Canterbury and stained glass artist Brenda Norrish from Ashford. Visitors will also be pleased to learn that regular exhibitor, Tim Huckstepp from Ashford, will be attending once again with his ceramic ikebana dishes and. The Kent Potters’ Association will also have a stand at the event selling original handmade ceramics for the home and garden.
Opening times are: 13-15 April, 12 noon – 5 pm Friday; 10 am – 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is £4.00 for adults, £3.00 for over 65s. Accompanied under 14s free. Free Parking. For further information contact Craft in Focus on 01622 747 325 or visit their web site at www.craftinfocus.com
Venue address: Kent College, Whitstable Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 9DT
Area – South East
Held in the beautiful surrounds of Penshurst Place & Gardens, near Tonbridge, this inspiring show will offer some of the finest handmade crafts to spruce up your home and garden.
Over 250 skilled crafts people from all over the region will bring you the very best in handmade gifts and treats. With unusual wares you wouldn’t often find on the high street, there’s something for everyone from ceramics and glass to jewellery and paintings.
Craft experts will be offering a series of Family Craft Workshops including pencil making, woodturning, paper making, decorative ceramics, drawing and pyrography – there will be something for all of the family to take part in.
For more details please visit www.ichf.co.uk/outdoorcraftsalive/
Those wanting to exhibit please visit www.ichf.co.uk/exhibitor_zone
Weald of Kent Craft Show Information
Open 09.30 – 17.30
Adult £6.50 (Advance £5.00) Senior £5.50 (Advance £4.00)
Child under 16 free if acc by parent – otherwise £3
BUY 10 ADULT OR SENIOR TICKETS Get One Adult Free (In advance only)
Combined Weald of Kent Craft Show and Penshurst House & Gardens
Adult and Senior £10.00 (In advance only)
Buy tickets online at www.ichf.co.uk or phone Ticket Hotline 01425 277988
Area – South East
The V&A hold many one day creative workshops, for the latest schedule visit the V&A website.
Area – London and South East