Published: Wednesday, 13th October 2021

Medway’s creative spirit will be illuminated next year when historic Rochester is lit up in impressive colour.  

Medway Light Nights, a spectacular festival of light, will transform Rochester’s historic buildings and spaces into works of art on Friday and Saturday, 11 and 12 February 2022.

We have, in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts, commissioned local, national and internationally renowned artists, to work alongside our young people and communities, to deliver an incredible event.

A host of local creative organisations including Icon Theatre, 51zero, Ideas Test and Lucid Creates are busy finalising plans for impressive installations and performances which will wow residents and visitors next year.

Following in the footsteps of magnificent public art installation TOGETHER, Medway Light Nights is Medway’s next major display of the area’s diverse, innovative and thriving creative spirit.

One of the highlights of Medway Light Nights will be Icon Theatre’s show If Not Now. This movement and dance-based production, presented in Icon Theatre’s signature style, will feature a volunteer cast of 100 alongside professional performers. This stunning and extraordinary show will see breath-taking visuals, created by Novak, projected onto the walls of Rochester Castle, and will explore how communities like ours can come together to challenge and transform poverty, prejudice, and the climate crisis. Icon Theatre is looking for individuals, schools and groups who wish to take part (no experience necessary), to find out more email: or call 07810 772946.

Margherita Gramegna, founder of 51zero, will project short films and animations by local and international creatives and filmmakers into the windows along Rochester High Street.

Ideas Test and Cohesion Plus are working with local schools to create an interactive light installation.

Students from University of Kent are creating Illuminarealities, an installation which fuses light and architecture together. They will illuminate the history, architecture, and art of Rochester, exploring their augmented realities in three ways: Passive, Physical and Metaphysical.

Luke Jerram’s ‘Gaia’ will also be arriving at Rochester Cathedral in February 2022. Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. The imagery was compiled by the Visible Earth series, NASA. The artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet on this scale, floating in three-dimensions. A specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning Composer Dan Jones is played alongside the sculpture. In Greek Mythology Gaia is the personification of the Earth.

Rochester Cathedral will announce further details about events during Gaia later this year. Events will explore climate change and the Church of England’s intention to be Net Carbon Zero by 2030. The Church of England has five marks of mission with the fifth being ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.

Thriving creatives in Medway

Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “We’re looking forward to hosting this spectacular event in February which will showcase the diverse range of thriving creatives we have here in Medway as well as further afield. There will be a wide range of public art installations and performances for residents of all ages to enjoy. We’re hoping to welcome thousands of people to Medway for the festival and I would encourage residents to put the date in their diary now, so they don’t miss out. Medway Light Nights supports our ambition to become a Child-Friendly City and highlights Medway’s fantastic cultural offering.”

Possibly the first of many

Daniel Bernstein, CEO of Emergency Exit Arts, said: “Emergency Exit Arts are so excited to be working on this project in Medway. It is so refreshing to be working alongside committed and enthusiastic partners and practitioners in this part of Kent. We hope this fantastic Light Night event will be the first of many.”

Bring local people and artists together

Nancy Hirst, Artistic Director, Icon Theatre said: We are thrilled to be presenting If Not Now as part of a programme packed with other brilliant creative organisations. Since our production of The Chatham Witch at Fort Amherst, and through the pandemic, we’ve been itching to bring local people and artists together again to create another show with our talented community at its heart. In our usual style of outdoor immersive theatre, Medway will once again become our stage, this time we’ll be transforming the walls and grounds of historic Rochester Castle. We are keen to hear from anyone who wants to be involved as performer, backstage or in the creation of the show – no experience is necessary. I hope to see you there.”

Find out more.

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