A short dramatic piece, delivered within the park’s play area and woodland, offered its audience a ‘creeptastic’ insight into the life of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces in the bloody Trojan War.
Without access to an electrical power supply, the students had to think carefully about how best to light the performance, explained Production Arts student, Janine Raycraft. The 18 year old from Strood said: “It was a real challenge for us to work outside in this way. We had to think carefully about how we were going to light the actors, which was harder than you might think.
“In the end we came up with a number of different ways to create the atmosphere we needed, using a mixture of battery-powered torches, candles and fire torches to create enough light for people to be able to see the performance.
“We also had to decide how best to dress the space. As Agamemnon is a character from Greek mythology, we thought it would be best to go back to nature and use the park itself as the basis of the set. We draped fabric from the trees, as well as from the park’s wooden climbing frame. It was a challenge, but we enjoyed it.”
The project was a brilliant learning experience for the students, said Performing Arts lecturer Carole Bowles. “It’s got them thinking, and has given them a greater appreciation of the challenges that would have been faced by actors in the many centuries before electricity was there to be relied on. It has also been brilliant to see them making use of the Lower Lines Park. It’s a great space and we’re lucky to have it so readily available to us at the college.”
Designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the Lower Lines comprise a series of fortifications and brick trenches constructed from 1803 onwards to help defend Chatham Dockyard from attack during the Napoleonic wars. Construction of the Lower Lines Park last year saw 5.5 hectares of the open land linked to the Lines - and next to MidKent College’s Medway Campus - revitalised thanks to MidKent College funding. The picturesque community space now features a view of the historic Lines, as well as woodlands and a wildlife trail for local residents and visitors of the park to enjoy.