Estuary 2016

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17 September – 2 October 2016

For more information, see Estuary website.

Estuary is a new, biennial arts festival curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary and presented in culturally significant and historic venues along the Essex and Kent shorelines.  An exciting mix of new and existing works will pull together powerful themes resonant to the place, its history, landscape and communities in an ambitious programme of contemporary art, literature, film and music.

The Thames Estuary is an ‘edgeland’. It is a place of transition – one of arrivals and departures – a gateway that connects the UK to the rest of the world. It has been the front line for the defence of the realm as well as the first port of welcome for migrants and visitors from around the world. Industrial heartland and logistics sit alongside wild habitats, ancient monuments and concrete commuter towns. Echoes from the birthplace of early punk, noisy seaside fun, brent geese, fog horns and cargo ships create an unmistakable soundscape. It has long provided an endless source of fascination, inspiration and mystery for both artists and audiences.

Venues:  Tilbury Cruise Terminal, Coalhouse Fort; various venues in Gravesend; Chalkwell Hall and Park, The Seafront, Focal Point Gallery and the Worlds Longest Pier in Southend-on-Sea.

Estuary 2016 will take place over 17 days in September / October 2016 and will feature work and projects from across the whole Estuary region. Metal are working in partnership with five estuary local authorities (Southend, Thurrock, Gravesham, Medway and Kent), local and regional agencies such as the Port of London Authority, Thames Estuary Partnership, South Essex Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Trust, a wide range of arts and business partners, including Tilbury Port, Southend Pier & Foreshore, Southend Museums, Coalhouse Fort, Focal Point Gallery, Whitstable Biennale, Whitechapel Gallery, Totally Thames, Artswork and ROH Bridge, Ideas Test, Focal Point Gallery and Kinetika, as well as South Essex College, SEEVIC and a number of South Essex schools.

Estuary 2016 is funded through an Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England as well as a number of other partners.

Sign up to Metal’s mailing list here.

Local community connections run through all Metal’s programming. If you are an arts organisation, school or community group that would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you. Please email

All photos (c) Simon Fowler.


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jem cohen estuary festival

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