JAM on the Marsh is an annual multi-arts festival built around Kent’s magnificent Romney Marsh and its famous medieval churches. Each year JAM on the Marsh crosses the Romney Marsh from Dungeness to Hythe and Lympne to New Romney. The Marsh churches are true beacons of culture and history; they are the heart of the festival.
JAM on the Marsh 2019
JAM on the Marsh will span the Romney Marsh from 4th – 14th July 2019, including music, exhibitions, children’s events, theatrical performances, poetry recitals and a churches tour. There will be something for everyone! Full details will be released in early 2019, so please check back!
JAM on the Marsh 2018 was a triumph, with audience numbers up across all events, with the local community equating to 66% of tickets sold.
Changeling Theatre’s acclaimed, open-air production of Noel Coward’s comedy classic Blithe Spirit opened the festival at New Romney’s Old School Garden. An ecstatic audience brought chairs and rugs, picnics and wine, and watched this wonderful play under the vast Marsh sky. Another theatrical highlight was Sabotage Theatre and Bridegtower Music’s stunning production of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, set in the round in Ivychurch
Music ran throughout the festival, with chart-topping voces8 and the Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir joining forces for the first time ever in New Romney. The BBC Singers and BBC Radio 3 returned to Hythe, performing one of the greatest choral works, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, as part of the festival’s commemoration of WW1, alongside our Festival Commission from Rory Boyle and Claudia Daventry. This concert was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. One of our most adventurous events ever was performing Bach’s 48 Preludes & Fugues on 4 different instruments (clavichord, harpsichord, piano & organ), in 2 different churches, with 2 performers (Linda Nicholson & Daniel Cook)! The London Mozart Players and Mousai Singers returned to perform music by Bairstow and Duruflé, alongside Fauré’s Requiem and Santiago Mantas’ Serenade for Strings.
We had 6 Art and Photography exhibitions, crossing the Marsh from Hythe to Dungeness. Renowned photojournalist Justin Sutcliffe captured faces in unexpected objects, local artist Ruth Parkinson brought her dramatic Time and Tide exhibition and local photographer Susan Pilcher returned with her Unidentified Fotographed Objects by Night. Kate Walters’ ‘tuned in’ to the music and the churches of the festival to produce an ever-changing exhibition of the festival, and we hosted the first exhibition by students of the Romney Resource Centre, in 2 locations – New Romney & Dingeness.
Involving Marsh children in the arts is central to the festival, and this academic year we worked with 5 local primary schools, culminating in a concert by Brenzett, Dymchurch and Greatstone schools with the wonderful Onyx Brass, and a masterclass on singing by VOCES8 for the Singing Stars of Palmarsh and Hythe Bay schools. Our packed Children’s Sunday at the Romney Marsh Visitors Centre was a huge success, ‘JAM’-packed with art, crafts, drama and steam trains.
Poetry was prevalent in many events, with recitals from Jonty Driver and Grahame Davies (who returns as 2019’s Poet In Residence). Claudia Daventry provided thrilling new poems for Rory Boyle’s Festival Commission Songs from the Marshes and poetry was central to Never Such Innocence, a deeply moving narrative recital of words and music from WW1, by Gamal Khamis (piano) and Christopher Kent (actor).
Throughout the festival a bus service was provided to most events for just £1 return, enabling people without their own transport to partake in the festival, in an area where transport is not easy.
JAM on the Marsh 2019 Thursday 4th – Sunday 14th July.
The role of Curator is an important one in how JAM on the Marsh is programmed. The position of Curator can only be held by a person for two years. This ensures that the festival remains fresh, is ever-developing and continuously changing. Curators to date have included the internationally renowned composers, Judith Bingham and Paul Mealor and most recently, Durham Cathedral’s Master of the Choristers, Daniel Cook.
For 2019 / 20 internationally renowned organist and conductor Michael Bawtree takes over this vital role. Expect thrilling new ideas over the next 2 years!
Bring Your Own Event to JAM on the Marsh
JAM on the Marsh also hosts a Bring Your Own scheme, which enables creators to bring an event to the festival. Please click the button below for more information on how to submit to the BYO scheme.