JAM on Romney Marsh returns to light up the south coast

Contributed by editor on May 15, 2017 - 10:15 AM


Running from 6th–16th July, JAM on the Marsh returns with a dazzling array of new and exciting programming.



In its fourth year, the festival includes a world premiere by BBC Singers for broadcast on Radio 3, the sensational London Mozart Players, toe-tapping jazz with the David Rees-Williams trio, an open-air performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 5 stunning art and photography exhibitions, the launch of a children’s community choir and a 1-day mini festival for children packed with fun, music, art, theatre .... and bugs!

BBC Singers © Mark Allan

Furthermore, it will continue its commitment to education, bringing new interests and skills to all ages.

Kent’s Romney Marsh is typically one of England’s most arts-deprived areas (Arts Council, Kent County Council).

Through the diversity of free or keenly priced events, the festival bus and extensive marketing, attendance has grown year on year since 2014 even though the festival is based in a low-income area.

In 2016, thousands of people of all ages and social-demographics enjoyed JAM on the Marsh.

The festival drew people from the Marsh, across Kent and the country.

This year Daniel Cook (sub-organist of Westminster Abbey) takes over curatorship of JAM on the Marsh. With sensational concerts, theatre performances, art and photography exhibitions, poetry recitals, workshops and a churches tour, over 11 days, JAM on the Marsh 2017 will light up this unique shore.

David Rees Williams Trio

Highly acclaimed Kent-based Changeling Theatre will give an open-air performance of Hamlet. Bring a chair, a rug and watch this wonderful play under the vast Marsh sky.

Furthermore, horse-drawn theatre company, Sabotage, returns to the festival to give performances of its new production, The Looker, and a puppet making workshop.

Horse drawn cinema - Sabotage Theatre

Continuing this theatrical theme, Bounce Theatre will join a children’s 1-day mini festival, inspiring them to create a story based around the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway and The Railway Children by Marsh author Edith Nesbit.

The day will also include a come and play session where young players can bring their instruments and play with JAM Curator, Daniel Cook, let bugs roam over their hands and create masks of the bugs they have met!

It continues with a fun blend of music and theatre in Magnard’s performance of one of the greatest works for children, Peter and the Wolf.

Magnard Ensemble

This May sees the launch of a project to embrace the schools on Romney Marsh into a vibrant community choir. Children from Brenzett, Dymchurch, Greatstone, Hythe Bay, New Romney and Palmarsh primary schools will give a performance as part of the festival.

Children's Day

There really is music for everyone at JAM on the Marsh. Music mixes with poetry as Gawain Douglas, Joanna Slater and Jonty Driver perform Shakespeare’s Songs.

Shakespeare’s plays include some fifty songs, some incidental, some integral to the plots. They are wonderful songs and words; mysterious, hilarious, magical, thoughtful, thought-provoking, funny, witty and wise.

Jonty also partners with violinist Peter Fields, reciting his sequence of poems, The Journey Back, about his return visit to South Africa after thirty years of exile.

Anita Strevens draws people to enjoy her performance of Bach’s 6 superb cello suites in two Marsh churches, with fascinating insights into the mediaeval buildings by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust, and a good pub lunch.

Alternatively hop on our festival bus to enjoy a full day’s churches tour with the Trust. Art and photography have a strong presence in JAM on the Marsh with 5 exhibitions across the Marsh.

John Doyle, one of our finest watercolour painters, exhibits paintings from Romney Marsh to Red Square. Inspired by the festival surroundings,  exhibits mixed-media works of Romney Marsh, made mainly from ripped-up stamps. Jillian will also run a collage workshop during our children’s day.

Jillian Bain Christie

Local photographer, Susan Pilcher, exhibits an unusual and intriguing view of the Marsh landscapes at night to stunning effect. Award-winning professional photographer, Tristan Fewings, returns for the second part of his 2-year exhibition, turning his amazing eye more inland.

Last year Marsh Academy secondary students created a wonderful exhibition of Marsh photgraphs under the mentorship of internationally renowned photographer, Tristan Fewings.

Tristan Fewings - 2017

This year Tristan is joined by award-winning photo-journalist Justin Sutcliffe for a second 6-month mentorship, culminating in the Marsh Academy students exhibition of the Places and People of Romney Marsh.

JAM on the Marsh will again run the festival bus from Folkestone to each event for just £1 return journey, enabling participation for those without transport and/or unsure of locations, resolving the poor public transport in this rural, disparate area.

Full events details and bus and ticket booking available at

Free Exhibitions Every Day 6th–16th July Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, TN28 8AY

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