The High Tide Festival was an R&D process in partnership with LV21 (40 metre steel-hulled lightship, moored in Gravesend) designed to support local artists and members within the mental health community to discover and explore the heritage, landscape, and untold stories of the Thames Estuary.
“Some people live their lives sitting comfortably on a beach; watching the waves crash and building sandcastles. Some people live just on the edge of the water; occasionally drifting out onto the horizon, but never enough to stop them swimming back to the shore. And some people spend their whole lives out in the deep; treading water and trying to keep their head above the surface.”
"Our R&D process - set up in response to COVID-19 - is designed to nurture autonomy throughout this difficult time and provide opportunities to harness practical solutions for making a creative process viable, amidst a time of creative limitation and inaccessibility."
Artists from a variety of disciplines including puppetry, photography, music, and literature were invited to play, invent, develop, and produce a piece of work that responded creatively to the theme open water. Participating artists had five weeks to produce (from home) their idea within their chosen discipline, ready for presentation within a public exhibition, aboard LV21. Alongside the production of works, Naked Frank Theatre hosted a series of workshops and participation events to support the creative process. On 16th and 17th July 2021, LV21 let down their gangway to the public and invited people to climb aboard and experience the exhibition of works. Twenty three artists took part in festival with over forty original pieces of material, across eleven different mediums, on display.
"We recognise that this is a very difficult time for young creatives to kick start their careers and appreciate the need for inclusive opportunities that can support the arts industry to survive for long enough that new talent is able to thrive and make their mark. We understand the damage that extended lockdowns have had on the influence of heritage within local communities and recognise the disconnection of sites that play an essential role in making local areas diverse and culturally plentiful places to live."
The festival itself was set out to support young artists in training and/or the early stages of their career, and mental health service-users receiving support from local Oxleas teams; by providing a safe and sustained platform to develop, refine and share their creative practice, with audiences that would otherwise have no means of experiencing their work. At the forefront of the R&D process Naked Frank Theatre wanted to aid re-engagement with local heritage sites and support the cultural revival of their appeal.
Sofia De Sousa
Digital Pie Ltd
Naked Frank Theatre
SPECIAL THANKS TO
The Erith Centre
Rose Bruford College
Arts Council England
Kent County Council