Dulwich Festival is back in May with a full line up of live events for the first time in three years, rebuilding community connections in a celebration of the arts across the borough and beyond. 

Now in its 29th year, the festival has taken the themes of Regeneration and Awakening as the inspiration for this year’s programme as the community comes together again. 40 events will be on offer to the public, many of them free, presenting a diverse programme of art; music; literature; comedy; walks and talks. 

Opening the festival and in a welcome return to live performance, the Dulwich Festival Choir Night will be hosted by East Dulwich favourites, Tongue and Groove. They’re joined by Vocallective and The Wrablers

Other musical highlights include former Piano Winner of BBC Young Musician, Cordelia Williams; an organ recital at Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich, with Ben Bloor, the prizewinning organist of the London Oratory Church and visitors can try out the classical organ, which dates back to 1760, at a guided session led by Marilyn Harper, chapel organist. 

For jazz enthusiasts, there are a series of jazz club nights including award winning, multi-instrumentalist, Tony Kofi and The Organisation; Ronnie Scott regulars, Camina Banda and the Harlem Meer Cats. Formed for the Dulwich Festival in 2015, this 

6-piece band now play at many of the country’s top jazz events recreating the music heard at New York’s Cotton Club from the late 20’s to early 40’s. 

Licence to Ceilidh, London’s top ceilidh band is back mixing traditional ceilidh tunes & dances with a modern fun rhythm section and Under the Tree brings an eclectic line up of music and spoken word from outstanding local talent, led by the people’s poet, David Nieta. 

The Festival welcomes the return of the Artists Open House, taking place across both weekends, when a staggering 400 local artists will open their homes and studios to the public providing a personal dialogue and insight into their work. 

Also opening its doors for free is Dulwich Picture Gallery, founded in 1811 and the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery. 

The Handlebards will perform a bicycle-powered, laugh-out-loud production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and six of the most exciting names in Fringe comedy come to Dulwich with previews of their brand new tour shows ahead of this summer’s 

Edinburgh Fringe in the Festival Comedy Club nights. Laughter will also be on the menu 

at local cafe Peace and Riot as they play host to a comedy evening, Nice n’ Spiky and there will be laughter therapy sessions by Laughing John at Oru space, East Dulwich. 

Six of the most exciting names in Fringe comedy come to Dulwich with previews of their brand-new tour shows ahead of this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe. With Live At The Apollo’s Sara Barron, After Life’s Colin Hoult (Netflix), Sophie Duker, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, Starstruck & Feel Good’s Tessa Coates, Jake Farrell Penguin’s Edinburgh Fringe Unlocked, and Rajiv Karia (writer for Have I Got News For You). Two acts each night with a double bill of exciting new stand-up! 

A series of informative Festival Walks include; a Mid-Century Oasis Walk, taking in Dulwich’s 1960’s Architecture; a Who’s Who In Dulwich Walk, featuring famous past residents brought to life by local actors; Tree Walk; Street Art walk, highlighting the Dulwich Outdoor gallery and From Ancients to Moderns Walk, celebrating the public art and craft of the local neighbourhood, including the Bellenden renewal area. 

Families can enjoy plenty of free events over the course of the festival which include an Orchard Family Day in Dulwich village, hosted by London Wildlife Trust and the Dulwich Estate; the Dulwich Park Fair; Love West Dulwich Fair and Goose Green Fair with the return of its much-loved donkeys. 

Tomorrow’s budding artists can enter the Children’s Art Competition and this year all entries will be exhibited in the lovely surroundings of Belair House. 

The Illusioneer Art of Magic Family Show will showcase a collection of puzzles, illusions & magic for all the family; South London Symphonic Winds promise lots of musical fun in a family Fiesta and the Festival Youth Concert will celebrate the musical talents of local school children. The Musical Fairytale Forest, by the Beanstalks art team, presents a multi-sensory musical journey for children with SEND and their families. 

Among the authors exploring their latest books; Clare Chambers presents her highly acclaimed novel, Small Pleasures, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2021; acclaimed novelist, Monica Ali, talks to former Book Prize judge, John Mullan, about Love Marriage; Melissa Hemsley, bestselling author of Eat Happy and Eat Green, will discuss her recipe book Feel Good with Mina Holland from Guardian Fest; and Louise Candlish, author of Our House and Abigail Dean, author of Girl A, will be in discussion about their journey into crime writing. Our House has recently been made into a ITV drama series featuring many familiar locations in East Dulwich! 

Dulwich Festival continues to be a platform for engaging discussion. Ella Berthoud will lead a bibliotherapy – mindful reading workshop; creative coach, Deborah Henry Pollard, will discuss how to launch those artistic next steps in a participatory workshop, Big Vision, Little Steps; former fast fashion designers; Jodi Muter and Tahlee Johnson discuss eco-sustainability and fast fashion, and Laverne Hunt, multi-award-winning

social entrepreneur and director together with Dez Mighty, winner of Cannes World Film Best Documentary Maker 2021, discuss the impact of lockdown on children and building resilience. 

In Hells Bells with Brian Green, Dulwich’s local historian will tell the extraordinary story of the fate of Dulwich Picture Gallery and its world class collection of Old Master paintings during WW2, which has never been fully told before. 

Dulwich Festival is only made possible with support of many local sponsors. Of note, this year we are thrilled to welcome Ryan and the team at Truepenny’s Property Consultants on board as the festival’s Principal Partner. 

Booking is highly recommended for all Festival events, which tend to sell out ahead of the Festival itself, please visit the website for all information 

Dulwich Festival 13-22 May 2022 dulwichfestival.co.uk 

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