Icon Theatre will present If Not Now, a stunning large-scale movement-based production exploring poverty, prejudice, and the climate crisis, featuring professional artists alongside a volunteer cast of 100+ performers. The production will see breath-taking visuals projected onto the walls of Rochester Castle as part of Medway Light Nights.

The cast of If Not Now will consist of a large-scale collective of residents including community-based groups, local schools and young people supported by Icon Theatre’s Theatre31 programme alongside parkour runners, older adults, dancers and professional performers. The incredible visuals are created by video and projection designers Novak who have brought extraordinary work to the UK’s largest light festivals, Lumiere (London, Durham and Derry/Londonderry), Brighton Festival and the internationally renowned Singapore Night Festival.

Influenced by the sweeping changes worldwide that have been unleashed through the response to Covid-19, If Not Now will give voice to local stories and explore how communities can come together to challenge and transform poverty, prejudice, and the climate crisis, and look at historical movements and moments which have launched extraordinary social change, including the establishment of the NHS and welfare state.

Through a process of co-creation, led by Artistic Director Nancy Hirst, those involved will explore local social issues that matter to them and matter to Medway. The co-creation will look at how communities can come together to challenge and transform poverty and prejudice, and the resulting ideas will be created and used in the production. The project will focus on working with Medway communities who have lived experience of social injustice, deprivation and inequality. Community participation will be both live and through previously recorded digital engagement, allowing elderly and vulnerable residents to engage.

The production will also showcase original new music that combines the power of Medway’s heritage with the dynamism of its contemporary people. An original score will be composed by local participants co-creating with a professional composer.

Icon Theatre are currently looking for Medway-based groups, schools, and individuals of all ages to be involved – no experience is necessary. They are looking for people to be involved both as performers and backstage, and to work with them to create digital and video projections in advance that will feature in the show.

Founder and Artistic Director Nancy Hirst comments: ‘Since our production of The Chatham Witch at Fort Amherst in 2019, and through the pandemic, we’ve been itching to bring local people and professional artists together again to create another show with our talented community at its heart. In our usual style of outdoor immersive theatre, Medway will once again become our stage. This time we will be transforming the walls and grounds of the historic Rochester Castle. We are keen to hear from anyone who wants to be involved as performers, backstage or in the creation of the show – no experience is necessary. I hope to see you there’.

If Not Now is an Icon Theatre production co-commissioned by Icon Theatre, Medway Council and Theatre31.

Medway Light Nights is commissioned by Medway Council in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts.

‘Icon Theatre has given me new friends, taught me new skills and challenged my lack of self-belief’
— Community Performer
'It was the first time I got to see drama as something for myself and something I could actively participate in and enjoy.'
— Tef - Icon Youth Theatre (Medway)
‘It has been lifechanging. Lady Unchained has helped get my life changed, I’ve started to look for opportunities on the outside, and see that there is life after prison.’
— Young Artist, Cookham Wood Young People’s Theatre Programme
★★★★ ‘A sharp, impeccably performed and blazingly impassioned piece of theatre…simply terrific.’
— The Times
'Icon has been ahead of the curve in understanding that the arts have a role to play in bringing people together, helping them be heard by telling their own stories in their own way, and in the process creating a sense of pride in place and space.'
— Lyn Gardner, Theatre Journalist
★★★★ ‘It is easy to take for granted the acting skills of a top theatre company. But when actors embody characters as superbly as this, you can’t help but notice.’
— The New Statesman

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