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Archeological remains of the NAMUR, the ship beneath the floorChatham Historic Dockyard Trust has received funding of £150,000 from DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement fund, in support of “Building the Future” – an element of its Command of the Oceans project, shortly due for commencement.

Within the Command of the Oceans project, The Trust faces the challenge of retelling the dockyard’s age of sail story and ensuring that the Namur, the highly significant archaeological ship’s timbers find, becomes a central element of that story. Thanks to this funding, “Building the Future” will allow the Trust to renew interpretation of the ship’s timbers as the centre piece of new age of sail galleries and improving the environmental conditions within the Wheelwrights’ Shop – benefiting visitors, the archaeological find itself and improving energy efficiency. The project will also see the creation of a new, more visible visitor entrance to The Historic Dockyard which will act as an arrival point to the wider Chatham Dockyard & its Defences site incorporating a free to enter initial interpretation and orientation ‘Discovery Zone’ in the Wheelwrights’ Shop with easy access and modern visitor facilities.

Bill Ferris OBE, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said; “The announcement of this award effectively completes the major element of our fundraising campaign for what is arguably the most significant single project undertaken by The Trust in pursuit of its own educational charitable purposes since the ‘Wooden Walls’ gallery opened in the late 1980s. Funding from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund 2011-15 will allow work to commence on the wider Command of the Oceans project later in 2014 and we are extremely grateful to the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund for their continued support of The Historic Dockyard Chatham.”

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Leading children’s charity Action for Children is calling on cyclists of all ages and abilities from across Kent to take part in a sponsored bike ride at the world-famous Brands Hatch Race Circuit on the evening of Friday 13 September 2013.

Those taking part will face the challenge of completing as many 1.2 mile laps of the circuits within two hours as possible – while enjoying exclusive access to the world-famous racetrack and raising much-needed funds for vulnerable children and young people. More

Gravesham Borough Council has launched a new video magazine programme on its You Tube channel to complement its coverage of community events. The programme, called The Studio, went live this week.

The St George’s day coverage (a 30-minute “as live” video of the event) has already had around 2,000 views on You Tube and via Facebook.

The Studio is set in an imaginary penthouse on the top of the Civic Centre with commanding views over the River Thames and the Gurdwara rooftop. In reality it is “green-screened” using video and photographic techniques. There are also on-location interviews conducted by local entertainer Dan Snelgrove.

The May edition features items on the Heritage Quarter Regulatory Board vote, the £5m grant to improve recycling, an interview with the outgoing mayor Cllr Lyn Milner on her momentous Olympic and Jubilee year, an interview with Simon Annand the photographer of the Half exhibition in the Blake Gallery and a chat with Woodville manager Neil Chandler on the theatre’s 45th anniversary.

Neil reveals that some film showings in the Paul Greengrass Cinema will mark the anniversary by reverting to 1970s prices for tickets.

The new channel, which has links to its archive channel with older material, is at http://www.youtube.com/graveshamtv

Other new items there include the Pride in Gravesham awards, the scouts’ St George’s service and the opening of the new Petanque pistes at Istead Rise.

The council’s communications manager Graham Cole said: “This year we are concentrating on trying to make Connecting with the Community a reality in as many ways as we can. The advent of new smart phones and smart TVs has meant people can get information direct to their home and at pretty high quality.

“We are trying to use social media in interesting ways and the experiment with the new news magazine programme is just one of them. The big difference today is that these new channels don’t cost any money but attract relatively large audiences. The future will lead to production of local news and entertainment – sometimes with live streaming on the internet.

“It really is a case of watch this space.”

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BuddingDockyardExplorerInspired by “Exploring Antarctica: The Final Expeditions of Scott and Shackleton” – the stunning photographic exhibition in No. 1 Smithery: The Gallery – an abundance of activities awaits budding explorers at The Historic Dockyard Chatham this spring. More

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IMG_7834Members of the Morgan Sports Car Club – South East Centre, also known as HopMog, visited The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Wednesday 1st May on one of their weekly outings to attractions and places of interest in the South East. Their twenty six classic Morgan cars were displayed on Museum Square in the centre of the maritime heritage site and also added an extra attraction for visitors to enjoy.

Alan Patterson, Group Organiser for the Morgan Sports Car Club (MSCC) said; “A huge thank you for making our visit to the Dockyard both memorable and enjoyable. The morning tour guides, Rose and Barry, were very knowledgeable and informative, and really gave us an insight as to how the dockyard worked. Steve (sorry, MR Steve!) was very entertaining throughout the Ropery tour with his grumpy foreman character and had us all in stitches. I know several of our members have upgraded to the annual ticket with the intention of returning later in the year. Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved in making it a day to remember.”

The Historic Dockyard Chatham makes a wonderful destination for car clubs to visit. Members can enjoy three historic warships, a working Ropery and four other museum galleries and attractions for the specially discounted car club admission rate. The club is given priority parking on site allowing easy access to cars during the day and also allows members’ cars to be viewed and admired by other visitors to The Historic Dockyard. Car Club bookings can be made with the Group Sales Officer on 01634 823815 or groupsales@chdt.org.uk

Other clubs booked for this year include The Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club 25 Register – Monday 13 May; BMW Motorcycle Club on Sunday 9 June; 1066 Chapter Harley Owners Group on Saturday 15 June; Alfa Romeo Owners Club on Sunday 11 August and the Porsche Club GB – Kent Region on Sunday 18 August.

All images copyright of and supplied by courtesy of Mr Patrick Boniface.

LD Frazier - Gospel SingerLD Frazier will be giving a concert on Tuesday 16th April 2013 at 7.45 at the Brook Theatre, Chatham. Tickets £11 and £10 from the theatre Box Office 01634 338338

L D Frazier was born in Cleveland and grew up in Buffalo and Los Angeles. He later moved to Detroit and sang with the harmony group Richard Green’s Acapells. In 1974 Frazier decided to devote his life to full-time gospel singing and from New York he has taken his gospel songs all around the world, performing in countries including Brazil, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Egypt and Europe as well as making regular visits to the United Kingdom. More

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

‘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 Mayor of Gravesham invites the community to join her to sing Christmas carols accompanied by the Borough Band around the first ever Christmas tree on the Community Square at the Civic Centre, Gravesend.

This festive event will take place On Thursday 13 December at 6.30pm. There will be a mini funfair and sideshows that will open at 7pm. Mince pies and mulled wine will be available in the Spotlites Café

Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Lyn Milner said ‘Christmas will soon be upon us and singing carols around the tree will be a perfect way to get into the festive spirit, I am really looking forward to singing along with the borough band’

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

The Windmill stands just off the top of Bells Lane, Hoo on the old part of Ratcliffe Highway. There are plenty of parking spaces and the views from the front extend down to and across the Medway toward Upchurch and Lower Halstow. On the sunny Thursday evening when we arrived, there were lots of sailing boats in that part of the estuary and a herd of cows in the field opposite, people pay fortunes for a view like that. More

Saturday the 9th of July is a date for your diary. It’s the Higham Village Parade and picnic. The action starts at 4pm at the top of Forge Lane with the Eco-Float parade and competition, the parade will travel down Forge Lane and into School Lane with the finish at Higham Primary School Field.

The picnic starts at around 5pm with entertainment provided until late on the new outdoor stage. Bring your own food, drink, blankets and chairs etc along with friends, family, neighbours and anyone else you would like to be there. Everyone is welcome to this village event.

Our visit to Simply Italian in Rochester High Street. Read On

The last leg of my ‘pub crawl’ to our local pubs brings me to Strood. Although Strood has lost many pubs in the last few years, there remains a good number and they are putting on a good, resilient performance. More

January the 25th as you probably all know is Burns Night and this Burns night I had the good fortune to be at Elizabeth’s of Eastgate in Rochester to celebrate. More

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

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