Medway Light Nights

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 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.

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

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 in February.

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 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

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.

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:

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

Cookies help us deliver the best experience on our site. By using our site, you agree to our use of cookies.

Got it