POW! Thanet 2018 festival highlights marking the centenary of women gaining the vote

A choir version of Milck's I Can't Keep Quiet will launch the festival

A burgeoning Thanet arts festival will mark the centenary of women gaining the vote in Britain.

POW! Thanet will take place this March and includes work by internationally renowned artists alongside the isle’s prodigious homegrown talent.

Launching the festival is a show-stopping performance by the POW! choir: women, men and children will perform a soaring rendition of Milck’s protest anthem, I Can’t Keep Quiet. The song went viral following last year’s women’s march in America. The performance will be followed by a sound installation from award-winning Ramsgate composer Emily Peasgood.

Other highlights include a concert by legendary singer Barb Jungr (pictured) who will be singing the songs of Bob Dylan from her album Every Grain of Sand at the Pavilion in Broadstairs.

Photo via Margate Museum

The theme of this year’s festival marks the centenary of women over 30 gaining the vote in Britain. In 1928 this was extended to all women over the age of 21. POW! Thanet will include suffragette-inspired and thought provoking events presented by artists, authors and academics.

Many events are free to attend with  opportunities for young women to explore anything from coding at Dreamland to music drop-ins organised by Pie Factory Music. There’s cutting-edge cabaret at the Lido whilst Ramsgate Music Hall hosts the POWder Room: a music night with an all-star line-up.

At the Theatre Royal, We Are the Lions, Mr Manager! tells the inspirational story of Jayaben Desai, whose struggle for equality led to the 1976 – 78 Grunwick strike. Lauded by critics this four-star play is the perfect way to close the festival.

Festival director Christina Clark-McQuaid said: “POW! started as a celebration of female creativity to coincide with International Women’s Day and is now a firm fixture on the isle’s events calendar. Thanet still suffers from deprivation but has also seen a huge increase in artistic creativity.

“Now, more than ever, it is important that women (and girls) have a voice and the festival offers them a platform from which to express their thoughts and feelings about their position in the contemporary world.

“We invite women, men, girls and boys to come along and experience, be challenged by, and enjoy the wide variety of events that POW! 2018 has to offer.”

Band Black Gold Buffalo will appear at the POW! event

Programme director Jan Ryan added:  “More than 150 female artists, performers and makers will  light up the isle with theatre, music, cabaret, talks and exhibitions which will take  place across Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate.

“We will be paying tribute to many of the strong women who have helped to shape the freedoms we enjoy today. Over a five-day period, POW! 2018 will be looking back over the past 100 years, at what we have achieved and what the future might bring.”

The festival takes place between March 7 – 11 at various isle venues. It is funded by Arts Council England, Big Lottery Fund; Kent County Council and Thanet District Council

To find out more and book tickets please visit www.powthanet.com

Report by Jodie Nesling