Medway Neuro-Arts Festival 2019

Medway Neurological Network (MNN), in partnership with Medway Adult Education (MAE) and Nucleus Arts, organised Medway Neuro Arts Festival held on 20 - 21 July 2019.  This highlighted the therapeutic benefts of Arts for those with neurological conditions.  Another feature of the Festival was that it provided neurological information and signposted participants to relevant local support.

The main venue for Saturday 20 July was the Rochester Community Hub/ Library/ Medway Adult Education building and Eastgate House & Gardens, see attached flyer to the right.  Arts showcased were held in 4 zones: Music & Poetry Corner; Dance;  Health & Wellbeing (Tai Chi, Yoga, Mindfulness); and Visual & Creative Arts. There was a range of neurological support information stalls, outside in Eastgate & Eastgate Gardens.  Inside Rochester Hub there was a great ART Exhibition with works submitted by local artists who have a connection with neurological conditions - this exhibition will remain open until 9 August and some of the works are for sale.

Jane Cullen's play 'Say that again' - based on her successful book of the same title - was premiered on Saturday 20 July. The Hempstead Players , directed by Jim Gilmour, perfored the play at Eastgate House, 5.30pm to 7.30pm. on both the 20 & 21 July to full houses and popular acclaim. Jane Cullen introduced the play and answered questions afterwards.  Many thanks for your great support of the Medway Neuro Arts Festival, Jane. See below for a report, including video clips.

Film Festival: Sunday 21 July, with a neurological theme, was held at the Huguenot Museum, Rochester, running 11am to 1pm and then 2pm to 4pm.  To see the Film Festival Programme, morning and afternoon, please click HERE. See below for a report, including video clips.

Festival Sponsors: Rochester Riverside has kindly agreed to part-fund this event with a grant of £5,000 - thank you!!! A cheque hand-over ceremony, conducted by Deputy-Mayor Cllr. Habib Tejan, on 20 May was used to launch the Medway Neuro-Arts Festival, see below for more details. More good news - Jane Cullen, author of the play 'Say that Again', has not only offered to pay for the hire of Eastgate House for the performance of her play, but also donated £500 to the Festival from the proceeds of her book sales. Many thanks indeed, Jane. 

If you would like more information, or have any suggestions or comments, then please contact MNN by email:  

Neuro-Arts Film Festival
Huguenot Museum
Sunday 21 July 2019

The Film Festival was opened by his Worshipful, Mayor of Medway Cllr. Habib Tejan - please click Here to see video clip.

Below:  Sue Wylie,  writer and star of the film 'Kinetics', takes Q/A - click picture for video.

Film 'Recovery' starring David Tennant and Sarah Parish

Jane Etheridge, HeadwayMedway, took Q/A and told us about local support for those managiing recovery and living with an acquired brain injury. Click left for video clip.

Canterbury Cantata Trust - Skylarks, Sing to Beat Parkinson's

Matt Shipton, Director of the STBP project, told us about this evidence based music & movement therapy and showed two short films.  Click left for clip of Q/A.

Rochester Film Society (RFS)- Festival partners

Put on the film festival using its equipment - projectionist, Gary, made it all run smoothly.  Mark Jones told us about RFS, click left for clip.

Many thanks to RFS, especially Mark, Gary and Nigel who made it all posible.

Thank you also to the Huguenot Museum, particularly director, Dinah Winch and duty manager Zoe.

Benedict Marshall and Nell Jackson dance

This clip shows Nell's first visit to Mr Marshall's old rectory home, overlooking the park. Nell notices something wrong and Benedict tells her he has Parkinson's - she is the first to know.

Benedict and Nell improve their dancing?

This clip shows a second dance sequence as Nell persuades Mr Marshall that he can still have fun, despite his Parkinson's.

Benedict & Sidney

Bendict shows his closest friend Sidney what he has learnt from Nell, in this comic clip.

This play was also entered into the Duncan Rand 'One Act Play Festival 2019 (Adult Section)' at the Medway Little Theatre - and was awarded 2nd place!!!  Furthermore the play scooped: the Phil Hulatt Award; Best Actor award - Mick Harris; and a certificate of Merit to Lisa Gibbons.  Congratulations to the Hempstead Players - and of course Jane Cullen and Paul Beresford who adapted the play from Jane's book.

PLAY: 'Say That Again' by Jane Cullen.
Performed by the Hempstead Players, directed by Jim Gilmour, at Eastgate House, 20 & 21 July 2019.

Click below for video of Jane thanking the performers.

Poets Corner, Eastgate Gardens

Sam Rapp, the Dyslexic Poet, took to the main stage, see uncut video below.

Sam Rapp, Upper Eastgate Garden

Sam started performing her poetry in Eastgate Upper Garden, before moving to the main stage.  Click the small image to the left to see a short video clip.

Barry Fentiman-hall

Video of Barry performing in the Upper Eastgate Gardens

Poet clips 3

Awaiting content.

Dance workshops

These were held inside the Rochester Community Hub and the following dance companies gave workshops throughout the day: Irish Dance Academy; The Right Step Dance Company; Loop Dance Company; and Wheel be Dancing.

To the right is a video clip of the Wheel Be Dancing workshop, led by Patricia Reilly - more content to be added as it becomes available.

Many thanks to all of the above dance companies for supporting the Medway Neuro Arts Festival.

Hackett-Kyne Academy of Irish Dancing

Please click image to the left for a video of the Irish Dance Academy workshop.

Camera: Trevor Nagler

Medway Town Crier - Mike Billingham

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Mike was the Festival's Master of Ceremonies.  He was in fine voice, and wore his very fine liveries, as the video to the right shows >>>

Dementia Garden, Eastgate Gardens: Opening Ceremony

This dementia friendly garden was commisoned by Medway Neuro Arts Festival and formally opened by Cllr. Simon Curry (Chair, Medway Urban Greenspaces Forum and by John Portman (Chair, Rochester & Strood Dementia Friendly Community) on 20 July 2019.  Many thanks to Medway Norse for donating plants to the value of £500.

Please click on the image to the left to see a video clip of the opening ceremony.

Below are pictures of the plaque (design) and of volunteers doing some planting.
Many thanks indeed to Cllr. Simon Curry for taking the lead in organising this project.

Dementia Garden Plaque (design)

Volunteer planting

Volunteer planting

Video of planting

Cllr. Simon Curry and John Portman get to work planting the Garden, with the help of the volunteers

Tai Chi Workshops

Ann Blyth, who runs a very popular Tai Chi class at Medway Adult Education, ran workshops and demonstrations throughout the day in Lower Eastgate Gardens. To see a video clip of the Tai Chi, and gather some of the atmosphere of the Festival, please click the image to the right.

Opening  Reception/ Art Exhibition, 19 July

Rt Hon. MP for Rochester & Strood, Kelly Tolhurst, opened the Festival, see video clip below :

Guest Speaker: Jane Cullen, author of Book/ Play 'Say that again'.

Jane told us about her book and the challenge of adapting the 600 pages to a 50 minute play for this Festival.  Click image to left to see video clip.

Art Exhibition

The Festival's Art Exhibition, curated by Lara Dix and featuring works that all had a neurological connection, was also opened. The artists were all invited to attend the VIP  reception and you can see examples of the artwork in this video. For a listing of the x18 contributing artists (+ x8 artists who contributed to the 'Where I Live' project) and their work, please click Here

Dan Mace, Programme Manager for Community Learning at Medway Adult Education

Dan, who was a key member of the Festival planning group, told us about the educational and therapeutic value of the arts. To see the video, please click the image to the left.

To see video clips of Martin Nagler welcoming the guests, click Here, and to hear the background to the Festival, click Here.  To see a video clip of Festival Project Manager, Nicola Moy, talk about the Programme, click Here.

Public Launch of Medway Neuro Arts Festival

Rochester Riverside Community Fund formally handed-over the cheque for £5,000 to part-fund the Festival on 20 May 2019.  We were honoured by the attendance of Deputy Mayor of Medway Cllr. Habib Tejan (now Mayor), who handed over the cheque to Medway Neurological Network Co-leads Phil Bungay and Martin Nagler.  It transpired that the Deputy Mayor was actually on the Board that approved this grant!!!  Representing Rochester Riverside was Susan Saunders and Tracy Chandler from the Community Liaison Team.

Pictures courtesy of Dennis Gilbert - many thanks.

Getting ready.....

The Festival's Project Manager, Nicola Moy, is getting stuck in right away, displaying the Festival poster.

We would like to thank all those who supported the public launch event on 20 May 2019, including: Cllr. Stuart Tranter, Cllr. Vince Maple, Cllr. Rupert Turpin and Cllr. Simon Curry.

Our very healthy refreshments were provided by Carolyne Pilcher.

To see the Press Release, please click HERE.

To see a resulting article by Nicola Jordan in the Medway Messenger, Monday 10 June, Pleae click HERE.

Medway Neuro Arts Festival Promotional Video 1

Find out - Spread the word

To see a promotional MNAF video, featuring Medway Skylarks, please click the picture to the right. Filmed and produced by Martin Nagler with 'MNAF' song lyrics and performance by Ian Prior.  Many thanks to Nicola Vella-Burrows for leading the choir and providing great creative input. And of course great thanks to the Skylarks for their enthusiastic participation and for voices that touched the stars.

MNAF Promotional Video 2 - animated Slideshow

All the information you need about the Medway Neuro Arts Festival.  Please spread the word!!!

Please note that since filming there is now a SECOND performance of Jane Cullen's play 'Say that again' at Eastgate House on Sunday 21 July, 5.30pm to 6.30pm.