In December 2013 following a heavy storm, a World War I German submarine emerged out of the mudflats of the river Medway. Investigation revealed there were a further 23 submarines originally abandoned, the rest having submerged entirely into the mud.

Performed on the Chatham Riverside, this immersive theatre production lead audiences from the submarine hulks of the Medway River to modern day post-industrial communities across modern Europe, through a century of submarine building and wrecking.

With 80 community performers, a choir of 20 local residents, 15 youth theatre performers and 5 professional actors, 23 Submarines brought alive the stories behind these submarines and explored how we connect with our immediate past.

Funded by Arts Council England with additional support from Medway Council’s Arts Development Team.

Creative Team

Directed by Nancy Hirst
Devised by the ensemble
Designer Sarah Booth
Musical Director Tania Holland Williams
Composer Darren Clark


Performer Nia Davies
Performer Lori Hopkins
Performer Philip Oakland
Performer Elinor Machen-Fortune
Performer Richard Mansfield
With the participation of the 23 Submarines Community Cast & Choir, Icon Youth Theatre and Byron School

‘Definitely one of the best family highlights of 2016… We will now look out for anything else that you do, thanks…’
— Audience Member
‘Well done, a great evening…’
— Audience Member

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