Your opportunity to take part in Medway Culture Fest 24

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A Black dancer wearing tan trousers and a quite sleeveless shirt squats on a bollard in front of a three masted sailing ship.

If you’ve spotted us in the news over the last few weeks, you’ll know that Creative Medway is inviting locals of all ages to get involved in Medway Culture Fest 24 as participants, volunteers and performers!

Medway Culture Fest 24 is Medway’s celebration of people, places and stories. The packed schedule of cultural events and activities runs all year, right across Medway. You can explore the full programme of large-scale spectacles, community events, exhibitions and hands-on experiences here.

2024 is a big year in Medway and Medway Culture Fest 24 marks 40 years of culture-led transformation which have seen the former Chatham Dockyard transformed into a thriving heritage site, university campus and creative hub.  2024 is also a significant anniversary year for other Medway organisations, including Medway African and Caribbean Association who celebrate 40 years this year the Medway Queen paddle steamer who mark their 100th birthday. 

Medway Culture Fest 24 kicked off last month with Loop Dance’s U.Dance event showcasing local dance talent, with a spectacular finale performance of 200 community dancers.  You can watch Loop’s Artistic Director Nina Atkinson, Creative Medway’s Chair Carol Stewart and some of the U.Dance participants talk about what Medway Culture Fest 24 means for them and for Medway at the launch event below.

U.Dance is one of many events giving children and young people the opportunity to get hands-on with arts, heritage and culture and explore careers in the creative sector this year.  Elsewhere in the programme, Ideas Test are supporting young people to develop their musical talent as part of the DisQuiet programme and to kickstart their careers as creators, producers and cultural leaders through the Make Waves programme. Medway African and Caribbean Association are inviting young performers and those interested in backstage roles to take part in a production exploring the history of hip hop and afrobeat dance as part of their anniversary year.

In the Autumn Icon Theatre’s spectacular new production Ghost Ships will tell the story of the extraordinary people who built and sailed the ships of Chatham Dockyard around the world.  Locals are invited to join the community cast of 150 local residents performing alongside professional dancers, young people aged 8-25 can also get involved through Icon’s backstage technical training and mentoring programme which will offer paid work experience on the production. 

Medway residents are also invited to take part in Medway Culture Fest 24 as volunteers through Medway Change Makers. Medway’s cultural volunteering programme offers one-off and short-term volunteering opportunities for an afternoon, a day or a weekend to suit everyone’s schedules and access needs. Opportunities include volunteering to support Black Arts Hub’s season of Black visual arts and poetry this Autumn as a Medway Black Art Trail Guide or by helping install exhibition artworks. 

Medway Culture Fest 24 is coordinated by Creative Medway in partnership with the local cultural sector, community organisations and Medway’s three universities. The programme remains open to submissions all year.

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