On the 11th and 12th of February, Emergency Exit Arts, in partnership with Medway Council, produced a large-scale light event which transformed Rochester’s historic buildings and spaces into works of art.
The event was an incredible success, seeing over 60,000 people fill the streets and come together to explore the variety of performances, projections, and art installations that lit up their city. As a result of the big turn-out, the local businesses thrived and experienced an influx of people. Medway Light Nights engaged the local community, ignited creativity and curiosity, and supported local businesses - much needed after the past two years.
EEA’s work at Medway Light Nights included:
This 14ft high illuminated Peace Poem was created to commemorate the 100 years since the first day of peace after WWI. The large-scale mobile artwork, created by leading artist and poet Robert Montgomery, has been seen by thousands of people as it travelled along motorways to cities across the UK.
Through talking and listening to communities, artists Robert Montgomery and Deanna Rodger have created an inspiring light poem that visits public spaces as a backdrop for workshops, performances and reflections.
The Hourglass is an impressive 4-metre-high sculptural piece, with internal projection mapping, created in collaboration with projection wizards Illuminos with script and narration by Arjunan Manuelpillai.
The Dickensian Fire Laboratory transported visitors back in time to the Dickensian age as they wandered through a vista of flames and chemical reactions within The Vines, Rochester. Co-created by EEA and Lightfires, The Dickensian Fire Laboratory harnessed the power of fire and steam in a series of audience activated installations, while various Victorian time travelers presented a lesser-known narrative of Dickens. Performance Direction by Joey Timmins.
EEA worked with 3 schools within the Leigh Academy Trust for the lantern parade curated by Cohesion Plus and Ideas Test. Students from Y5 designed and helped create lanterns for the parade held on Friday 11th. The lanterns, themed around ‘Home, Belonging, Love and Respect’, represented the historic buildings of Rochester and became an installation on Saturday 12th, creating a micro-city in the gardens by the cathedral.
Over 1100 participants and hundreds of creatives and technicians worked on this event. Contributing artists and organisations included the likes of 51 Zero, Lucid Creates, Icon Theatre, Ideas Test, Cohesion Plus, Dream Safari, Mona Whitton, Fabric Lenny, Lightfires, The Architecture Department at Kent University, and Craig West Lighting.
Craig West’s lighting designs lit up the streets and brought colour to the trees, historic walls, and buildings of Rochester, bringing the event together as a coherent whole.
Thank you to Welcome Back Funding for supporting Medway Light Nights in illuminating their wonderful buildings.
Medway Light Nights was 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.
Photography by Steve Hartridge
Check out this article for more insights on Medway Light Nights: Medway Light Nights held in Rochester town centre was a huge success (kentonline.co.uk)