The 2015 Festival took place across the weekend of October 10&11.
Featuring a sense of people and places, this year’s festival mixed writings inspired by the urban and rural places of Kent, along with its cultural heritage.
On Saturday, we were based at The Guildhall Museum for a selection of talks and workshops, while our popular Cafe Crawl took place in various cafes.
On Sunday, our lovely and eclectic selection of authors delighted our audience with their stories in the gallery space at the wonderful Sun Pier House in Chatham. Bookmark’d was back in a slightly different format, and there were workshops to take part in. We were inspired by the exhibition taking place by resident artist Simon Mills – as well as our attending ‘live’ artist, Julie Bradshaw, as she responded to the festival activity. Roy Smith lead the Cultural Contributors Discussion Panel and a podcast is available here:
Finally, on Sunday evening, we had our Night at the Theatre with Sam Hall’s powerful new play, My Mind is Free.
Click our speakers’ names for more information about them.
Saturday 10th October – Rochester
Guildhall Museum Member’s Room Workshops
10am – 12noon Rachael Hale, The History Magpie Tickets £5, includes refreshments. Children free.
Inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artefacts, Rachael will guide you in finding hidden treasures whose stories are waiting to be told, and helping you tell them creatively.
1pm – 3pm: Sam Hall & Sarah Hehir, 17% Playwriting: Safe and Sound. Free but limited spaces – must be booked. Over 14s only.
Get Creative and learn how to use news stories to inspire your own writing! Sam will be leading a creative writing workshop linked with our Sunday evening play, exploring the issues around human trafficking in the UK. (Over 14s) Funded by the Kent Commissioners Fund.
Guildhall Chamber Main Speakers (All free, no need to book)
12noon-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!
2pm-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.
4pm-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 – discover Pop Up Poets while you enjoy a break! At Cafe@172, Bruno’s Bakes and The Quills.
Sunday 11th October – Sun Pier House, Chatham
Workshops (£5, booking required) Children Free
10am-12noon Carol Donaldson: Nature Girl
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.
1pm-3pm Melanie Benn: Unlocking Your Memories
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.
Gallery Speakers (All free, no need to book):
11.30am – 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 us!
12.45pm – 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.
3.15pm – Medway’s Cultural Contributors
A not-to-be missed panel discussion on the value of local open mic events. Led by Roy Smith of Seasonally Effected and featuring Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall from Roundabout Nights, and Lisa Vigour of Inspirational Nights.
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.
Bookmark’d – all day, featuring Wordsmithery, Medway Mermaids, Urbane Publications, Paul Breen and David John Griffin.
We had a lovely artist, Julie Bradshaw, with us during the day to inspire you to respond to the festival visually and in writing – stand still too long and you’ll be captured forever! This is a gallery of her artwork from the day:
The ever-brilliant Sam Hall of 17% brings her new play, produced by Rah Rah Theatre, to the festival on Sunday evening, continuing the wonderful ‘Night at the Theatre’ event we’ve enjoyed in each of our festivals. This powerful new play is inspired by the stories of people who have fallen into modern day slavery. The play is funded by the Arts Council and the Kent Commissioners Fund.
Nucleus Arts Centre, 272 High Street, Chatham
Tickets from £5 – book them here.
There will be a raffle held over the weekend, with tickets on sale from 10am Saturday morning and the winners drawn around 4.15pm on Sunday.
Apart from small fees to cover the workshop activities, the festival is free to attend. As an unfunded voluntary organisation, the RLF will be very grateful for any donation you can afford, to help us cover our costs. Thank you – we look forward to seeing you 🙂
Get Creative is a major celebration of the nation’s arts, culture and creativity. Led by BBC ARTS and What Next? in collaboration with a huge range of arts, cultural and voluntary organisations, everyone is invited to get involved and share their creative talents. Try your hand with the variety of creative writing workshops we have planned for Live’n’Local, and check other activities on the Get Creative website. This is a BBC Arts initiative.
With thanks to Nikki Price, Rachael Hale and Anne Marie Jordan for photography – see the Pinterest board for the full gallery.