This year’s Dulwich Festival delivers a tremendous calendar of art, music and cultural inspiration all squeezed into ten exhilarating days in May.
The 23rd staging of the Festival – the annual celebration of the arts in Dulwich and the surrounding area – once again promises a wealth of cultural entertainment and stimulation for everyone, and takes place from 6th-15th May 2016.
Doctor, comedian and health commentator Dr Phil Hammond will be bringing his ‘How to survive the NHS…and help the NHS survive’ show to Alleyn’s Great Hall on 9th May. In this highly subversive comedy, Dr Phil calls for an end to top down disorganisation of the NHS, and launches his own ‘bidet revolution’ – from the bottom up.
Later in the week, the 2015 Christmas number one holders – the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir – will be headlining the Festival of Choirs at Holst Hall. The choir is made up of staff from across the NHS workforce – from doctors and nurses to porters and administrators.
For drama lovers, there will be plays and performances for all ages. The internationally-acclaimed Tangram Theatre Company will bring their much-lauded performance, Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking to this year’s Festival. Their collaborative, challenging and entertaining approach to theatre seeks to actively engage the audience, so be ready to join in! Garlic Theatre will enthrall a family audience with a magical display from their beautifully crafted shoe puppets in a funny, poetic and imaginative performance.
In a first for the festival, Dulwich Park will play host to a piece of interactive outdoor theatre. When a schoolgirl needs help in solving the riddle of time travel, there’ll be clues for the audience to solve and a trail to follow, so oodles fun to be had when The Multiple Myrtle Mysteries land!
This year’s music calendar promises a number of treats. A Scandinavian Soundaround will invite anyone who can play a scale on their instrument to bring it along for a collaborative workshop in Dulwich Picture Gallery. Places will be limited, so those interested are urged to buy their tickets in advance.
Meanwhile, the Joglaresa ensemble’s show Nuns and Roses will provide an insight into music from the Middle Ages to the 17th century, and Nedwardo and the Rumbanauts band will be taking up residence at The Grafton Dance Centre, playing some infectious music and encouraging us all to cast off our inhibitions and take to the floor. On Thursday May 12th, Belair House provides the perfect surroundings to relax into the rich harmonies and soothing rhythms of Gerard and the Watchmen.
A truly memorable afternoon with two outstanding and critically-acclaimed musicians is in store when violinist Levon Chilingirian OBE and pianist Carole Presland perform a thrilling programme including pieces by Handel, Grieg and Elgar. Celebrating our strong cultural exchange with Europe, the recital will take place on Sunday 15th May in the Old Library, Dulwich College.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Edward Alleyn establishing Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village, a number of events will explore the beautiful building, its magnificent organ, the shared history of Alleyn and Shakespeare and the power of creating a legacy.
Over 200 artists will once again be throwing open the doors of their studios and homes to offer us an insight into the artistic process for Artists’ Open House which will take place across both weekends of the Festival.
The Dulwich Outdoor Gallery will this year have a further addition by artist Louis Masai who will be live-painting an outdoor piece at local nature reserve, Sydenham Hill Wood. Festival-goers will be able to watch the painting being brought to life beginning on Friday 13th May and continuing throughout the weekend.
New to the always popular walks programme will be a Dawn Chorus Walk and a Bat Walk at dusk for local wildlife enthusiasts led by the London Wildlife Trust team – something for the early bird and the night owl!
Paul Ewen, author of the celebrated comic novel ‘Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author’ will lend his wry wit to the festival, joining us at Belair House on Sat 14th May.
This is just a flavour of the line-up for this year’s Festival, with much more on offer over the 10 days of its duration, including the always popular and well-attended Festival Fair, Love West Dulwich Fair and Dulwich Park Fair all of which will provide free entertainment for all ages.
Dulwich Festival Director, Alpha Hopkins, said: “We have a truly fantastic line-up of events for everyone to enjoy, from the Scandinavian Soundaround for the musicians in your family – to interactive theatre performances for all age groups including one about Albert Einstein!
“There really is something to suit all; kick off your shoes and dance with Nedwardo and the Rumbanauts, or later in the week with Gerard and the Watchmen then stroll through the area and catch the wealth of art on offer in Artists’ Open House or just relax at one of the fantastic Fairs each weekend which are completely free and fun for all.”