The first Rochester Literature Festival came to a magical, moving and enchanted end on Sunday, with a re-imagining of the children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland.
Excerpts from the ballet by composer Jacob Bride, leading members of the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra and his band Brides of Rain, plus new songs by Rachel Tate and James Doyle, were interpreted by four wonderful dancers in a mix of play acting and dance, with new writing mingling with readings from the original stories.
It was a triumphant finale to a wonderful festival, which was achieved without any arts funding and all the performers giving their time for free. There was a financial donation from Elmhaven Marina, based in Cuxton, which enabled us to break even overall.
Ten days of readings, creative writing workshops and a well-lauded theatre night, which the audience compared to a night out in the West End of London, were augmented by The Skywatcher Investigation – an unusual interactive story involving aliens – a book launch, and an incredibly informative and fascinating evening with Bill Lewis. An exhibition celebrating the theme, Other Worlds, Other Voices took place in Rochester Library for the duration of the festival.
This first festival has far exceeded our expectations, and to have achieved it with so little funding has given us a lot of heart and encouragement to do it again next year. We were fortunate to have such a wonderful team of volunteer performers, and thank in particular Roy Smith, Sam Hall and Jacob Bride for their creativity and generosity, and Medway Libraries for their support and encouragement.
More feedback will appear on the Other Worlds, Other Voices page in due course. For up to date news of more Rochester Literature Festival events, sign up for our newsletter on the contact page here. If you wish to make a donation to support us, you can do so here until the end of the month. Thank you.
Photos courtesy Nikki Price Photography