Published: Tuesday, 10th March 2020

Medway Council is delighted to announce that Play on Words Theatre has been commissioned to create a spectacular performance to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Will Adams.

As part of the Focus On Will Adams festival, that this year commemorates 400 years since his death, Play on Words will create a show-stopping performance around the making of a samurai interweaving artistic content including spoken word, puppetry, original music and physical performance. The performance will include the local community and Play on Words will be working with the local people this summer to create the spectacular.

The performance will take place at Focus On Will Adams, a family-friendly festival, at Gillingham Park on Saturday, 12 September from 11am until 4.30pm.

The festival is a celebration of Gillingham born William Adams, an English navigator, who in 1600 was the first British person to reach Japan. He settled in Japan and became a key advisor to the Shogun and one of the first western samurais, a title bestowed by the Shogun and an incredible honour for a foreigner. Will Adams died in Japan in 1620.

The festival is full of activities for people of all ages to enjoy including martial arts, Japanese heritage and digital games, taiko drumming, Manga workshops, calligraphy, Japanese inspired dance and a whole lot more.

Play on Words is an independent theatre company based at The Brook Theatre in Chatham. They produce full touring theatre productions and educational workshops for schools and colleges. Play on Words also create street theatre performances at festivals.

Celebrating Medway's cultural heritage

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I am very pleased that we have commissioned Play on Words Theatre to create a performance to celebrate the life of Will Adams. It is incredibly important that we continue to celebrate Medway’s cultural heritage and Focus On Will Adams will give residents the chance to experience and learn more about our maritime history as well as Japanese culture. This will form an important part of Medway’s unique free festivals and events programme which underlines Medway’s case to bid for City of Culture 2025.”

Find out more about the festival.

News archive