Medway Light Nights

Medway’s creative spirit will be illuminated in February 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 11th and Saturday 12th February 2022.

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


Are you an artist, practitioner or producer interested in “Light” events? Then come join us for the “Light Up The South East” Symposium! (live and on zoom)

The Symposium will start at 3.00pm and finish at 5.45pm on Friday the 11th February, before the Medway Light Night event starts at 6pm. The symposium will involve short presentations from various producers and practitioners who specialise in outdoor art events and light installations, including the likes of Arts Council England, Lucid Creates, Icon Theatre and Outdoor Arts UK. The presentations will finish at 4.15pm and will be followed by a discussion of how we might work in partnership more effectively to create light projects. Guests will then be directed to the commencing of Medway Light Nights.

The symposium will be taking place both live at the Corn Exchange in Rochester but also online via Zoom. There will be a BSL interpreter for this event. If you are interested in attending please register your interest at: [email protected].

We look forward to seeing you at the Symposium!


EEA's pieces shown at the festival include:

Peace Poems and Recovery Poems: Be inspired by Robert Montgomery and Deanna Rodger's illuminated mobile poetry...

The Hourglass: Listen to stories of migration through EEA's magnificent Hourglass, co-created with Illuminos...

The Dickensian Fire Laboratory: Be Transported back in time to the Dickensian age and wander through a vista of flames and chemical reactions within The Vines, Rochester. Co-created with Lightfires, The Dickensian Fire Laboratory harnesses the power of fire and steam in a series of audience activated installations, while various Victorian time travellers present a lesser known narrative of Dickens. Appropriate for children and adults of all ages, come see this flaming phantasmagoria!

Lantern Procession: Starting at 6pm from Almon Place, follow the captivating lanterns throughout the procession curated by Cohesion Plus. 17 schools have helped create the lanterns. EEA are working with 3 of the schools within the Leigh Academy Trust, Hundred of Hoo Academy, Peninsula East Primary Academy and High Halstow Academy. Students from Y5 will design and help to create lanterns for the Light Night Lantern Parade on Friday 11th February themed around ‘Home, Belonging, Love and Respect’. The lanterns will become an installation for the duration of the festival, so there will be a chance to see them after the parade


If Not Now, by Icon Theatre

One of the highlights of Medway Light Nights will be Icon Theatre’s mass movement spectacular, featuring a volunteer cast of 100 performers as well as the theatre’s professional cast and creative team. The piece is inspired by Charles Dickens’ pioneering approach to poverty, civic duty and social reform. This stunning and extraordinary production will see breath-taking visuals projected onto the walls of Rochester Castle.

Cuckoo Clock Cinema

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.

Inspired by Rochester High street’s unique shops and quirky objects for sale such as kaleidoscopes, music boxes, snow globes and cuckoo clocks, 51zero presents an evening of projections in the windows of Store 104 where the architecture of the building will be framing the show. The programme of films and animations by artists from Medway and around the world will be accompanied by a live performance of dance and music.

Experimenting with live music, a cellist and a vibes player, will accompany the films during the last hour of each night, while the cuckoo improvised ballet performance of beautiful arm movements will dazzle the spectator.
Limited amount of seating with warm blankets and prosecco tipple will be provided by 51zero.

For more info, please visit: Cuckoo Clock Cinema by 51 Zero - Visit Medway

We are Medway: Lantern Parade and Outdoor Film by Ideas Test and Cohesion Plus

Cohesion Plus, working in partnership with Ideas Test, will be delivering the Light Night’s Lantern Parade along Historic Rochester High Street as well as an outdoor community film installation.

Date and time: Friday, 11 and Saturday 12 February, 6-9pm (Lantern parade Friday 6pm)

📍 Location: Parade starts in the car park at Almon Place and ends at Rochester Castle Gardens. Installation at the War Memorial, Rochester High Street.

Find out more:

Illuminarealities by University of Kent

Architectural Visualisation students from the School of Architecture and Planning at The University of Kent in Canterbury have created Illuminarealities, an art installation divided into two parts: one on the Six Poor Traveller’s House, and one at the front of Rochester Cathedral.

Feeding on the stories and messages from Charles Dickens’ literature, Illuminarealities aims to combine light and architecture, creating a fusion of the two. Animating architecture with the history, culture, and art of Rochester, students explore this most public of augmented realities in three ways: creating passive, physical, and metaphysical interactions.

Date and time: Friday, 11 and Saturday, 12 February, 6-9pm

📍 Location: Six Poor Travellers’ House and in front of Rochester Cathedral

Find out more:

Charles Dickens’ Flying Circus by Dream Safari

Local street artist Dream Safari paints a mural of Charles Dickens in the Eastgate Gardens, next to his chalet, where the great author worked on some of his best-known novels.

The mural itself will come to life at night during Medway Light Nights festival with fun but very peculiar Monty python-esque animations.

Date and time: Friday, 11 and Saturday, 12 February, 6-9pm

📍 Location: Eastgate Gardens

Find out more:

Dancing with Dickens by Fabric Lenny

Dancing with Dickens is a live animated character-driven projection work starring Dickensian characters, busting moves, and throwing shapes to an eclectic playlist of tunes. The audience will witness colour-rich and dynamic digital puppetry, brimming with fun and engaging aesthetics, animated against a backdrop of eclectic dance tunes. Fabric Lenny creates fun-filled pop-up animated images using only a couple of iPads, a mixer, and a projector.

Date and time: Friday, 11 and Saturday, 12 February, 6-9pm

📍 Location: Eastgate Gardens

Find out more:

A Tale of Two Cities by @monawhittonart

This installation seeks to illustrate elements of Dickens iconic work A Tale of Two Cities through the creation of two shadow-box pieces, one depicting Paris, the other London.

The buildings included are those which have relevance both to the French Revolution and the novel. Hanging above the shadow boxes will be a myriad of glass stars, reminding us that we all shelter under the same timeless starts.

This piece seeks to remind us of the social injustices highlighted in Dickens’ novel both before and after the fall of the Bastille and asks us to look at both the world we inhabit and our actions and place within it.

Date and time: Friday, 11 and Saturday, 12 February, 6-9pm

📍 Location: Outside Guildhall Museum

Find out more:

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.”

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.”

To find out more, visit:

Medway Light Nights is produced by Emergency Exit Arts in partnership with Medway Council. This event has been sponsored by Arts Council England, The Welcome Back Fund, Leigh Academy Trust, and Kent University. #acesupported

Notes to editors:


Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) is one of Britain’s pioneering outdoor arts companies, creating magical experiences in the places where you live, learn, work and play. We reinvigorate communities, give people a voice and challenge the ordinary.

Icon – community empowered by theatre

Icon brings together local communities and professional artists to push the boundaries of where theatre happens, who it is for and how it can help people and places to grow.

Co-creation is at the heart of everything Icon does be that making large-scale immersive productions with theatre-makers and our community, running Theatre31, one of five Arts Council-funded Youth Performance Partnerships, our ongoing participatory theatre projects in schools, drop-in centres, and criminal justice settings, or professional development opportunities for teachers and artists. Icon aims to reach those who face significant socio-economic deprivation and exclusion.

Each Christmas Icon is commissioned to create an interactive Christmas show for early years children at The Brook Theatre, Chatham.

Icon is a Medway-based company and in 2022 will celebrate their twentieth anniversary.


A Medway based, artist-led organisation working in the Kent area and overseas, 51zero has a strong record of producing publicly funded high quality cultural events based on the production and exhibition of moving image and related contemporary digital art practice. 51zero focuses on placemaking and international cultural exchange; 51zero (the name refers to the geographical coordinates of Medway) has been operational since 2010 and delivers a biennial festival and artistic events that are community driven and focused on promoting and supporting artists and young talent. To date we have delivered four festivals with touring, presenting local practitioners alongside prominent British and worldwide artists.

They aim to increase engagement in the creative industries, build capacity in the local community and provide opportunities for employment or enterprise of upcoming talent from the area and are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion.

Margherita Gramegna, founder of 51zero, is an artist filmmaker, producer and curator, who has worked persistently to raise the profile of Medway over many years as a place for contemporary art and artists to thrive. She has collaborated extensively with local and international artists, local communities, and numerous partners in the creative sector and beyond, in the Kent area, as well as nationally and internationally. Margherita is co-champion of Creative Medway.

51zero Festival

Ideas Test and Cohesion Plus Procession

Ideas Test are a Creative People & Places project based in Medway and Swale whose aim is to help people feel better about themselves and where they live. They believe that everyone has the right to benefit from creative and cultural participation and this improves communities and the lives of individuals.

Event details

Fri 11 February 2022 • All day

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