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Medway will be part of history in the making today when the Mayor of Medway raises a Commonwealth flag over Gun Wharf.

Mayor Josie Iles is set to fly the flag along with 500 other local authorities, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles to mark Commonwealth Day.

Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth is the first event of its kind and has caught the imagination of thousands of participants, enabling communities to join others nationwide in linking themselves with widespread public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth.

A specially written Commonwealth affirmation will be read out at each ceremony before the raising of the Commonwealth flag at 10am.

In Medway, the council’s Chief Executive Neil Davies will read the affirmation followed by Leader Rodney Chambers who will read a message from the Queen.

Mayor of Medway Josie Iles will then raise the flag over the council building. A second Commonwealth flag will be raised at Rochester Castle.

Charity teams will mark the day by taking Commonwealth flags to the top of the UK’s four highest national peaks and use the occasion to raise funds for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK – Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded – Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life – Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.

Mayor of Medway Josie Iles said: “I feel privileged to be raising the Commonwealth flag at the ceremony on Monday along with hundreds of others around the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This mass flag-raising event is a wonderful way to mark Commonwealth Day.”

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World Mental Health Day on October 10 will be marked in Medway with special information stands to provide people with help and guidance. Read More

Milton Chantry (Julieanne Savage) / CC BY-SA 2.0

There will be open days at the Milton Chantry, Gravesham’s oldest building, on Friday 13 September and Saturday 14 September. Entry is free and all visitors will be offered a complimentary audio guide which brings the building alive through its informative commentary.
On Saturday there will be a display supplied by Medieval Days Living History. There will be opportunity to try on some medieval fashion items, have a go at casting an iron coin and try your hand at spinning wool.

Melanie Norris said “Taking part in national events such as this enforces the importance of preserving and promoting local heritage. Milton Chantry is such a wonderful building and offers visitors a real sense of the past”. The Chantry was founded in 1322 by Aymer de Valence the Earl of Pembroke although its origins date back to around 1189. During the Middle Ages, many wealthy people built Chantry Chapels and gave them land to generate income in order to maintain a priest to pray for the owner and his family. The Chantry was occupied by a number of priests appointed by the Bishop of Rochester until around 1524. Like many other chapels, Milton Chantry was dissolved into Crown hands as part of Henry VIII’s reformation

Milton Chantry is located within the Fort Gardens close to Gordon Promenade and easily walkable from the town centre. The nearest car park is Milton Place. Public toilet facilities are located on the Promenade next to the Café.

Open times
Friday 13 September 10.30am – 3.30pm
Saturday 14 September 12noon – 5pm
Please note that due to the age of the building, at present it is not accessible to wheelchair users.

Gr@nd staff encourage young people not to keep their feelings locked up, and talk about mental health. Workers from The Gr@nd Healthy Living Centre Gravesend, took their newly formed group of peer mentors to look around the Old Town Hall on Friday 16 August in preparation for the Young People’s conference they are planning at the historical venue on Thursday 10 October, for World Mental Health Day. Read More

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Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales
The Central Theatre, Chatham
Sunday, 7 April at 3pm

For a non-chocolate treat this Easter take the children to the theatre.
Award-winning children’s author Julia Donaldson’s fantastically funny stories – Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales – are bought to life at The Central Theatre, Chatham on Sunday, 7 April at 3pm.

Under the sea, on the farm, and in the jungle, these popular stories have been woven together with music and colourful puppets. Aimed at children aged three and upwards, the show is part of the Sundays are for Kids programme at Medway’s two theatres.
An absolute treat for children this Easter holiday – one not to miss.

Tickets, priced at £12, are available from the box office on 01634 338338 or online at http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

Penshurst Place & Gardens prepares for the Spanish Armada on
Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March from 12 noon to 4pm

This popular family event recreates life at Penshurst Place in 1588 when the Spanish Armada threatens to invade England. On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March, the household readies itself for the anticipated invasion and a skilled cast of costumed actors and musicians portray some colourful characters in Tudor England. More

A female author known for her witty and rebellious writing style will be sharing her experiences to mark International Women’s Day.
Writer Scarlett Thomas, will be at Rochester Community Hub on Friday, 8 March to talk about her career, and she will also be available for book signings.
Scarlett has written such titles as Bright Young Things, Going Out, PopCo, and Our Tragic Universe.
The talk begins at 7.30pm and is free of charge.
This is one of many events which will be taking place around the world on 8 March to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) and to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
To book a place at the Scarlett Thomas talk, phone 01634 33744 or email rochester.library@medway.gov.uk

The Medway commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day will take place at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School in Rochester on Sunday 27 January at 11am.
The annual event provides an opportunity for everyone to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides since, in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today. More

‘Throwing Snowballs On The Thames’ is just one of the works painted by artist Chris Billington especially for the Blake Gallery at The Woodville, Gravesend.

There are 22 paintings in the exhibition that embrace the colours of Christmas including the titles ‘Oh Christmas Tree’, ‘Christmas Under The Clock Tower, Gravesham’ and We Three Cosmic Kings’

Cornwall based abstract artist Chris Billington said ‘To be invited to paint for this exhibition and to return to Gravesend for the first time in 40 years, has been an absolute delight for me . Through these paintings I have rediscovered my love for the area and there is a strong element of Kent in a lot of the work.’

The Colours Of Christmas exhibition will be on show until the 28 December 2012

Entrance to the Blake Gallery is Free.

The Little Lost Frog and the Christmas Wish: The Brook Theatre, Chatham, Saturday, 15 December to Saturday, 5 January 2013
The Little Lost Frog and the Christmas Wish is this year’s Christmas show at the Brook Theatre, Chatham.
Designed specifically for three to six year olds, the promenade performance takes the audience on an interactive journey through magical lands as the audience help the Little Lost Frog find his way back home.
Featuring large scale interactive sets, a multisensory tunnel, puppetry, new music, animation, contemporary dance and smell design, the show is the third annual joint Christmas production by three resident creative companies at the Brook Theatre – Icon Theatre, Loop Dance and Play on Words Theatre.
Previous years have been very successful, and with annual audiences figures of more than 4,000, it’s becoming something of a festive must-do for families with 3-6 year old children.
‘Lovely theatre… No wonder the children were so entranced. If I see a children’s Christmas show this year with more charm and originality, I shall be very surprised.’
The Stage review of The Mouse Who Saved Christmas (Christmas 2010).

Cast

The Christmas Wish: Nina Atkinson
Cookie & ensemble: Natalie Bond
The Little Lost Frog: Mark Conway
Mrs Cupcake, the Christmas Sprite & ensemble: Miriam Cooper
Miriam Cooper has just finished in Bravo 22’s award winning production of The Two Worlds of Charlie F (‘Stark and powerfully affecting’ – Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph) and work has also included Playing with Fire (Young Vic), The Ghost Train (Bristol Old Vic). Mark Conway recently starred in the Southwark Playhouse’s Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World – Time Out Critic’s Choice.

Creative team

Animations: Reza Ben Gajra (Barbican, Framed Film Festival).
Set design: Irina Borisova (The Doll’s House, Arcola Theatre & The Space. ‘Beautiful spatial awareness… with dream-like signs and symbols’ – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian).
Costume design: Emma Thatcher
Composer & arranger: Darren Clark (Jackson’s Lane, The Pegasus Theatre, Wilton’s Music Hall, Royal National Theatre and BBC)
Director: Nancy Hirst (Release, Pleasance Edinburgh & UK Tour, Fringe First Winner 2011. ‘A sharp, impeccably performed and blazingly impassioned piece of theatre… simply terrific’ – The Times)

Production companies

Icon Theatre is an award winning, national touring company producing innovative visual and physical theatre. Working with diverse collaborators from different backgrounds, each of their shows generates a unique combination of theatrical techniques, blurring the boundaries between movement, text, film, dance, mask, mime, music and puppetry. Their most recent show ‘Release’ won a Fringe First Award 2011 and was shortlisted for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and the Brighton Festival Fringe Emerging Talent Awards. Reviews of their work include:

‘Icon Theatre has created one of the most compelling and theatrically effective pieces of storytelling on the Fringe’ The Scotsman
‘Icon has achieved something remarkable… this is a theatrical treat.’ The Stage
‘Stellar high energy, gritty performances, strikingly staged… a moving, forceful production’ **** British Theatre Guide

Play on Words formed in 1990 and has produced: Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer (2001-12), touring Ireland, UK, Australia, USA, and winner of a Fringe First Award, Pick of the Fringe – Best Solo Show Award (Sunday Times), Best Solo Performance Award (New York International Fringe Festival), and Best Theatre Work by Established Artiste Award (Adelaide Fringe). Other productions include Galway Girl and Melody for Medway Fuse Festival 2009 and O’Sullivan Beara – The Last Gaelic Chieftain, which toured extensively in Ireland in 2010 & 2011. Its most recent production Prostitutes Only Marry in May toured N. Ireland and Scotland (2008 -11) ending at Waterloo East Theatre, London, where it received a nomination in the Off West-End Awards for Best Female Performance. Reviews include:
‘This is a genuine small pleasure, the kind of piece that gives you an insight into unseen and unsung lives.’ The Guardian
‘An unparalleled portrayal.’ New York Times
‘Spirited, highly-intelligent, powerful’ The Stage
‘No less than a triumph.’ Sunday Tribune Dublin
‘Miriam Cooper is a talent we’ll surely be hearing more of’ WhatsOnStage
Loop Dance is an exciting and accessible award winning dance company based in the south east, performing work by Nina Atkinson (Artistic Director) and international choreographers. Formed in 1992, they have an impressive history of creating large scale site specific dance events for camera and installation works gaining a reputation for ambitious, imaginative and compulsive work created by high profile, cutting edge national choreographers, while their touring programme aims to benefit the regional dance ecology and foster national appeal for the art form of dance and dance education. More

Bulgarian folk singing, seasonal Morris dancing, storytelling and street dancing are just some of the activities taking place at Rochester Community Hub to celebrate the festive season.
Join Medway Libraries on Saturday, 15 December from 1pm to 4pm to celebrate Christmas and Midwinter customs with an afternoon of stories, poetry, song, dance and traditional craft activities for children.
There will be an exhibition of cultural artefacts and Christmas theme refreshments are included.
Places are free, but booking is essential. Please confirm any access or dietary requirements when booking.
For more details Click HERE

The ‘Man of Kent Real Ale House’, Rochester will host a Folk and Blues music stage at the Medway Festival of Steam & Transport taking place at The Historic Dockyard Chatham this Easter Sunday and Monday, 8th & 9th April. More

WIN A 9CT WHITE GOLD AND ¼ct PAVÉ SET DIAMOND RING WORTH £450.00 FROM JEWELLERS F. HINDS AT THE ELLENORLIONS HOSPICES PIRATES FUND RAISING DAY Saturday 27th August 2011, 9.30am – 5.00pm More

Thousands are expected to line the streets of Rochester on Saturday, 25 June as Medway marks Armed Forces Day with a parade through the town. More

On Saturday 25 June at 6.00pm, Armed Forces Day in Medway will be brought to its traditional close with a Beating Retreat and Ceremonial Sunset at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. More

Children and families in Medway will be celebrating National Bookstart Day on Friday, 10 June, with stories and activities on this year’s theme of transport. More

Come and visit the first ever Chalk Church Boot Fair. More

An estimated 11,000 visitors flocked to Riverside Country Park, Gillingham on Saturday, 23 April to enjoy a free family day out at The English Festival. More

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