Estuary 2020

Estuary 2020 will be the second edition of the large-scale arts festival that celebrates the spectacular Thames Estuary.  Taking place on the river itself, and along the 60 miles of South Essex and North Kent coastline, an ambitious programme of artworks and events will respond to powerful themes resonant to the Estuary including industrial heartland, nationally important heritage sites, protected wildlife, acres of open marshland, together with seaside fronts and London commuter towns.

The festival will include installations, exhibitions, large scale events with an accompanying film and talks programme. Performances set in the landscape, or on the river itself, artist led walks, field trips and podcasts will explore the rich, diverse culture of the region and bring new audiences to significant sites fostering a deeper understanding of the Estuary.

Estuary 2020 is led by arts organisations, Metal (South Essex) and Whitstable Biennale (North Kent) working with a wide range of arts and agency partnerships across the region.

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Estuary 2020 will build on the success of Estuary 2016, developed by Metal with partnership from Whitstable Biennale, five estuarine local authorities, the Ports, the PLA and other key Thames Estuary stakeholders. This first edition took place over 16 days in September 2016 hosting 55 events across 7 key venues.  265 artists too part, attracting live audiences of over 100,000 with a further 23.7million reached through media and broadcast platforms. Curated by Colette Bailey, Rachel Lichtenstein, Gareth Evans and Sue Jones.

The archive programme from Estuary 2016 can still be viewed through this website through the Programme, Locations and Artists tabs.  Or you can download a PDF of the complete Estuary 2016 programme here.

To deliver Estuary 2016 Metal worked in partnership with four estuary local authorities, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Gravesham and Kent and a wide range of regional agencies, business and arts partners, including:-

  • Arts Council England
  • Capital Cruising
  • Port of Tilbury
  • Southend Pier & Foreshore
  • Southend Museums
  • Coalhouse Fort
  • Focal Point Gallery
  • Whitstable Biennale
  • Whitechapel Gallery
  • Totally Thames
  • Artswork and ROH Bridge
  • Ideas Test
  • Kinetika
  • Port of London Authority
  • Thames Estuary Partnership
  • South Essex College
  • South Essex schools.

Photographs on Estuary website are by Simon Fowler, Jon Webber and Benedict Johnson.

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