The Folkestone Living Advent Calendar is a first in Kent. A 24 day festival of music, drama, dance, opera, storytelling, puppetry and fun. It starts on December 1st and runs every night to December 24th.
How it works
Each evening at 6pm a different, beautifully decorated door in the town will open to reveal a surprise live performance. And every performance is free!
There'll be little treats for the audience, like sweets or mince pies, as well as collections for local charities. The festival will provide the opportunity for local people to perform side by side with professional actors, storytellers and musicians and will be enhanced by professional lighting, sound, direction and publicity.
It will be a local project but JimJam Arts intend to use it to put Folkestone on the map and be the very first to host such an unusual event in Kent.
Involving all the community
“There'll be something for everyone,young and old.” commented Sadie Hurley of JimJam Arts. “Each time a door opens we want to give the audience a lovely surprise in true Advent Calendar style, but they can check on our website to see which nights are more likely to appeal to certain age groups.”
The Folkestone Living Advent Calendar will be truly representative of the town's diverse community. JimJam Arts are working with local partners and community groups to devise their own performances. These include:
• ARRCC (Activities, Respite, Rehabilitation, Care Centres
• KRAN Kent Refugee Action Network – working with young people from
Syria and Eritrea and local primary schools
• Hythe Age UK in conjunction with Hythe Bay Primary School
• Local Primary and Secondary schools
• Local choirs and Drama groups
• The Gurkas and the Nepalese Community
In addition JimJam Arts has been:
• Facilitating free playwriting workshops leading to the creation of a
number of short plays especially written for the Advent Calendar
• Running free drama workshops to devise a site-specific show about the
history of Folkestone.
They are also working in partnership with the Townscape Heritage Initiative to provide historic information on some of the participating buildings.
So far, JimJam Arts have been successful in winning Big Lottery Funding and also have great support from the Townscape Heritage Initiative, Creative Foundation, Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Folkestone Town Council.
Supporting local charities
They will be collecting for five locally based charities including ARRCC, The Rainbow Centre, KRAN and Maiti Nepal Project but we still have to decide on the fifth one, so they would welcome any suggestions. The project is the brain child of Sue Blakesley and Sadie Hurley of JimJam Arts which created the successful Alice in the Coastal Park and Pirate Party in the Park events over the last few years, as well as The Word on the Street Drama and Playwriting project and the Happiness Bank.
“The idea just took off,” said Sue,”We've had so much positive support from so many different people. It seems to have grabbed everyone's imagination.”
“It's been really inspiring working to create some of the performances,” commented Sadie, “We're hoping to carry on some of our workshops even after this project has finished, we've had such positive feedback. People have even said that it's changed their lives.”
Website with all the details
There are leaflets and posters with details of the venues all around the town. Check out the interactive website www.folkestonelivingadventcalendar.org.uk for more details or find jimjamarts on facebook.