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Village Beach

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Metal and Thurrock Council are delighted to announce Village Beach – a brand new festival of culture for Thurrock celebrating the creativity, ingenuity, arts and music of the whole Borough.

Village Beach will take place on Saturday, 18 July from 11am until 8pm at Grays Beach Riverside Park on the banks of the River Thames.

Follow Village Beach on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

With seven stages of music, spoken word, dance, performance and international circus cabaret; seven beach hut venues showcasing the best of Thurrock arts and heritage; a big bake competition; mad-cap games; a busking stage (anyone can turn up and have a go!) and much more to see and take part in, it promises to be a fun-packed day for all the family.

Entry to Village Beach is FREE with a programme of activities that will appeal to the whole family – from the age of two to eighty-two.

Artistic highlights include: -
Seven Beach Hut Venues, designed and painted by artists from across Thurrock, including Russell Brand, Scroobius Pip and two first year Royal Opera House apprentices in carpentry and scenic painting based at High House Production Park in Purfleet. Inside some of the best of Thurrock culture will be presented by Thurrock Film Festival, Thurrock Museum, Thurrock Arts Council, the Royal Opera House costume collection and much more.

An exhibition by The Thames Group, 13 artists from across South Essex, who have responded in different ways to TS Eliot’s The Waste Land.

Pop Up Festival presents ‘Mice Up Da Place!’ with Michael De Souza, creator of CBeebies’ hugely popular Rastamouse show. Stories of the adventures of Rastamouse and Da Easy Crew are followed by workshops with a steel band and carnival artists. Create your own Mouseland character before embarking on a Mousetastic carnival parade around the festival site.

The Floriferocity Spectacular, a multi-sensory theatrical performance inspired by the Garden of Live Flowers in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking Glass’. Flying in from India, the company comprises the Rajasthani Circus, Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, and FIPA (Foundation for Indian Performing Arts) featuring stilt walkers, traditional village circus acrobats, musicians, composers, poets, directors and several acclaimed British artists. The Floriferocity project will also be working alongside local schools to make a variety of flowers and full blinging costumes with designer, Hervé Vita, to animate the performances at Village Beach.

Music highlights include:-
Shlomo, the internationally acclaimed beatboxer and world Loopstation Champion will headline the main stage with his Vocal Orchestra – a celebration of everyones favourite tunes using seven mouths, seven mics and no instruments; Stanford-le-hope based RE:VERB, winners of the prestigious STARMAKER 2014 competition, some of whom you may recognise from Britain’s Got Talent 2013 semi-final in the guise of Youth Creation. The hugely popular local, open mic night, Thames Delta, who will curate a stage bursting with local talent, including Tall Dark Friend, Laurel and Scarlett, and Ren Stedman. Metal have partnered with South Essex College to work with students to present a Youth Stage, curated and managed by young people that will include performance, dance and music.

Opportunities to get involved:-

There are lots of opportunities to get involved, take part or help out. We are offering marketstalls FREE of charge to locally-based artists and makers to sell or show their arts and crafts. Application forms can be found here.

We are also looking for a team of willing volunteers to help us with a range of activities on site. Opportunities include: being part of the back stage crew; media team; photography and film crew; artist liaison; hospitality; and stewarding. If you would like to get involved, an easy-to-fill-in form can be found here.

Village Beach festival has been made possible through funds and partnership from Thurrock Council, Arts Council England and South Essex College.

For more information about Village Beach 2015, please contact Yogesh Taylor on [email protected]

For press queries on please contact Syd Moore at Metal on [email protected] / 01702 470700 or Andy Lever at Thurrock Council on [email protected] / [email protected] / 01375 652017



SHLOMO & The Vocal Orchestra Pioneering Beatbox Choir Reunited

Internationally acclaimed beatboxer and World Loopstation Champion Shlomo creates an incredibly energetic live show like nothing you have seen before: jaw dropping, inspirational and totally absorbing. A Guinness World Record holder, Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. It was a good move. Since then he has won global acclaim and worked with some of the biggest names in music including Bjork, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Martha Wainwright, Imogen Heap, The Specials, DJ Yoda and even comedians the Mighty Boosh. In the process he has consistently pushed the boundaries of beatboxing, bringing the art form to new and unexpected audiences through such diverse collaborations.

Raised on a strict childhood diet of orchestral percussion and jazz drums, Shlomo instinctively began making vocal music as a small child. He first found critical acclaim as a beatboxer aged 18 when he began touring with the award winning multinational hip hop group Foreign Beggars, and was named the “Harry Potter of beatboxing” by BBC Radio 1’s Tim Westwood. This was designed as a compliment, we think – either way it wasn’t long until Shlomo was collaborating with Icelandic pop queen Bjork on her all vocal album Medulla in 2004.

Shlomo’s performance on BBC2’s Later with Jools Holland was seen by Emily Eavis who invited him to host a 2hour collaborative extravaganza at Glastonbury Festival. Shlomo was joined by a host of star names, including Martha Wainwright, Ed Harcourt, Portico Quartet, Reverend and the Makers, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly in a memorable and moving performance. As both a solo artist and a bandleader, Shlomo’s live performances never cease to amaze and are not to be missed.



Thames Delta is a Thurrock based organisation that host monthly weekly and fortnightly open mic nights in the Thurrock area giving local musicians and performers a platform to showcase their talents. Thames Delta also host Thurrock based band nights and guest nights featuring regulars from there open mic nights.

Thames Delta also have a record label and recording studio based in Thurrock, one of their missions is to record and release Thurrock based music featuring Thurrock’s finest artists and musicians. Their debut releases are scheduled for November 2015 and will include albums and compilations on old fashioned vinyl and new digital formats.

The Thames Delta Stage at Village Beach is a perfect example of Thurrock based Music featuring performers of all generations. Thames Delta hope to take this stage on the road in 2016 – remember Village Beach is where you saw it first!

The Thames Delta Stage will feature, among others:-


Tall Dark Friend aka Jordan Redford Gray, is a transgender recording artist based in south-east England, currently touring the UK & Scandinavia. Wistful, whimsical, expressive, eclectic; the sky falls staggeringly short of the true limit for this peculiar pseudonymous superstar. Three-time Thurrock International Film Festival Award Winner (Best Music Video & Best Editing 2012, 2013), Triple Essex Entertainment Award Winner (Best Original Artist, Best Unique Act & Best Original Song 2014, 2015). TDF recently co-produced her 5th official music video (#HangWithTheHappiness). Preview, Download and Enjoy her brand new album here.



Ren Stedman is a folk/punk singer-songwriter currently signed to Downtown Artists in Soho. Ren has a 6 track EP available on iTunes titled ‘Mr Worrypants’ and has just released the official music video for the song ‘honestly’. Highlights of Ren’s music career so far include Elemental Festival, Cosmic Puffin Festival, Bus Jam and Suffolk Folk Festival. Ren will also be performing at London Pride 2015 and releasing a new EP in the summer.



Little Kingdom is Ben and Holly. She sings, he plays guitar – quite simple, really! With an engaging presence and a varied set-list, spanning several decades and genres, Little Kingdom play something for everyone; often putting a fresh, acoustic twist on well-known classics.



Finding Miranda is a raucous rock band, or purveyors of pop: slightly askew, always searching. Chay (Appleyard; lead vocals, acoustic guitar) writes songs for Tony (Buckley; drums, backing vocals), Jimmy (Sallows; bass guitar) and Lee (Tallon; electric guitar) to alter in unconsciously artful, occasionally surprising ways. The search party has been going strong since its humble beginnings in Summer 2012; between then and now, two EPs have seen release: 2013′s “Miracles and Time Machines” and more recently, 2014′s “Find Ghost”. Both EPs were recorded with Dave Shalloe at Brentwood’s Creative Music Studios: taken in chronologically, a clear progression in collective songwriting and musicianship can be seen, which has been reflected in their live sound.




Floriferocity is a FIPA production of an unusual Anglo-Indian reimagining of the Chapter of Living Flowers with an English Alice and Circus Raj from Jaipur. The Indian performers are traditional performers of Rajasthan, the Nat community, dressed in stunning French Rajasthani bling, designed by Hervé Vital and captivatingly directed by Hi Ching.


Fireflies is a sculpture of fifteen fireflies representing the hopes of the Nepalese community in Essex. Inspired by an oral history project of the community, it will travel with a touring heritage exhibition in the region. Fireflies is a FIPA production supported by Essex Cultural Diversity Project.



Thurrock Court Players (members of Thurrock Arts Council)celebrated their 60th anniversary last year. They are well known for their comedies but have also included Shakespeare in their repertoire. Their most ambitious production was probably the open air performance of The Tempest in Grays Park. They perform three plays a year at the Thameside Theatre and have entered drama festivals in Felixstowe, Southend, Brentwood and Waltham Forest. They belong to NODA (national operatic and dramatic society) and have received nominations from them for the Best Production for the last three years running and have won twice. Individual members have amassed many more awards for their performances. As a group, they have won several festivals outright and gone through to the British All Winners Festival twice.

At Village Beach they will be performing excerpts from their most recent production The Vicar Of Dibley and their much anticipated production for September – Blackadder.



Thurrock Arts Collective are a group of creative artists, working in a wide range of artistic disciplines, providing a network for creatives in the area to show and present their work. We started off as an online group, in the hope of seeking out the hidden talent within Thurrock. Since then, members of this group have been sharing and collaborating with other members; posting websites, events and generally obscure things that happen locally. We have begun to host live events, combining music, art, poetry and spoken work. Our next step is collaborating with Metal bringing performers from the TAC network to the audiences of Village Beach.




Pop Up Festival presents ‘Mice Up Da Place’ with Michael De Souza, creator of CBeebies’ hugely popular Rastamouse show. Come and listen to stories of the adventures of Rastamouse and Da Easy Crew, as told by Michael in his awesome Jamaican-patois storytelling style. Stories are followed by workshops with a steel band and carnival artists where kids get to create their own Mouseland characters! before embarking on a Mousetastic carnival parade around the festival site.

Pop Up Festival projects bring authors, children and families together to enjoy and participate in stories, by creating dynamic spaces where play, experiment, creativity and collaboration are celebrated.

“Pop Up makes connections between the heard word and the written word – vital in helping children and families to read and write together,” Michael Rosen former Children’s Laureate.




Matt Lewis is a musician and sound-artist based in London. Key areas of interest include the politics of sound, Foley, urbanism, notation and alternative methods of media distribution. His work is most often focused on particular physical sites, or around particular social issues, such as regeneration and street vending. A strong participatory and educational aspect to his work exists as an important counterpoint to his practice.

At Village Beach he will be presenting No such thing as an empty space – a touring immersive audio installation created by Matt Lewis in collaboration with people with sensory loss from around the country and commissioned by national deaf-blind charity Sense. The work creatively inquires into the extremes, deficits and vagaries of auditory and haptic perception. The intention being not merely to recreate aspects of the deaf-blind experience but to shed light on the intricacies of human perception in general.


Building on the success of Beat The Street in July 2014, Thurrock 100 is a unique cultural project that aims to strengthen its shared identity and foster pride in its heritage, with participants creating their own artworks, and exploring the borough on foot, building a programme of physical and creative activity across the area that will help to create a healthier and happier Thurrock.

A truly collaborative project we will be working with local schools and community groups to devise ten 10-mile walks across Thurrock that visit local landmarks or places of particular interest or beauty. Lead artist, Ali Pretty will work alongside them to create a series of 10 spectacular 4m x 1m batik flags representing each area, where participants will be invited to make drawings of local landmarks or local stories from their area, and help paint the flags.

In July 2015 a series of public walks will take place over a ten-day period with each area’s flag being carried, Olympic-torch style, along the route. Everyone will be invited to take part by walking some or all of the way, and communities will be asked to nominate people to carry the flag.
The walks start on 9 July in Ockendon, travelling through Horndon-on-the-Hill, Bulphan, Orsett, Purfleet, Stanford, Chafford Hundred, Aveley, Tilbury, Chadwell-St-Mary, Stifford Clays, and will culminate on Saturday 8 July arriving at the Village Beach festival at Grays Beach Riverside Park in a spectacular parade of all ten flags followed by the school pupils and community members involved in the project.
Thurrock 100 is the brainchild of Ali Pretty, artistic director of Kinetika.


Metal have commissioned seven artists from across Thurrock to create bespoke, one-off designs for seven beach hut venues that will be part of the Village Beach festival. Each hut will house and present some of the best of Thurrock culture.

The seven Beach Hut designs and artists are as follows:-

A Venture into Anamorphosis
Dylan Atkins
Anamorphosis is the distortion of an image. A simple optical illusion based on perspective. The geometric abstract forms of this Beach Hut could be interpreted as a dazzle pattern once used to disguise WW1 battle ships. However, the origins of this ancient design are Moorish. From a certain viewpoint the image will appear flat. This hut will house craft demonstrations and workshops

Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper
Russell Brand (after Chris Riddell)
Illustrations from local boy, Russell Brand’s recently published Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper provide a perfect environment for celebrating literature in all its forms. This Hut will be Thurrock smallest library and reading room at Village Beach, hosting story telling, poetry workshops and conversation about books and popular characters through literature.

Thurrock’s deco boon
Libby Hogger
This design takes inspiration from the Art Deco period, the London Cruise Terminal building at Tilbury Port and the stylized promotional travel posters from the same era. The London Cruise Terminal and The Port of Tilbury has a rich history and connection with the community in Thurrock. A stylized zeppelin on one of the panels directly references another creative project being funded by The Port of Tilbury due to be delivered in 2015. This Hut will contain part of the Thurrock Museum Collection – A Shed Load of History

Light House
Matthew Roberts
I first thought of using real light bulbs, then decided on an ironic trompe l’oeil/surrealist image of light bulbs casting long shadows instead of light. The result evokes winged insects resting in the sun. They connect obliquely with the mosquitos and the lighthouses in the surrounding marshy estuary area.
This hut will be a cinema for Thurrock Film Festival to present a mix of short films by local and national artists.

Ctrl Alt Delete
Scroobius Pip
Speech Development Records is the independent label founded and run by Scroobius Pip. SDR releases an eclectic mix of artists and music genres. This, together with some lyrics from the labels debut album Distraction Pieces, provided the inspiration for our Busking Hut at Village Beach. It’s open mic, so anyone with a talent to share can perform.

We Are Here
Lata Upadhyaya
Thurrock has been a place of settlement for migrants throughout history. In the 2011 census, in excess of 50 different communities represented 9% of the population. The diverse communities of Thurrock are symbolised by translating Village Beach into different languages. Each language represents an identity, journey and experience of a resident, currently calling Thurrock home. This hut will be the Community Hut housing information and activities from a wide range of Thurrock community groups.

A seventh Beach Hut is being designed, built and painted by two first year apprentices at Royal Opera House Production Park. Their design is currently in development and will be shared at a later date. At the festival this hut will house a number of the costumes from the Royal Opera House collection.



The Thurrock International Film Festival is about to hold its fourth event in October this year, it was started by two local residents and filmmakers who wanted to make all aspects of film accessible to the people of Thurrock. It hosts a short film competition that receives entries from around the world and is supported by a host of celebrity judges to select those to be shown as part of the festival. The festival also screens widely loved, favourite, classic feature films over a fun packed weekend.

At Village Beach, Thurrock Film Festival will be hosting a mini-taster of whats on offer at the Thurrock International Film Festival in our custom made Beach Hut cinema.

Event Tags

Help spread the word!

Village Beach

Sat 18 July 2015


Ends: Sat 18 July 8:00PM

Grays Beach Riverside Park

Thames Road, Grays Essex RM17 6JP


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