The Dulwich Festival returns this month with a smorgasbord of art, music, theatre, literature and walks.

This year’s theme is ‘belonging’. As always the Festival celebrates the local artistic community, with the ever-popular Artists’ Open House taking place across both weekends when over 200 artists invite the public into their homes and studios, providing an up close and personal dialogue and insight into their art.

The Festival embraces the local history and architecture as local treasures such as the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Bell House, Dulwich College and Christ Chapel, amongst others, play host to events.
For music lovers, the Harlem Meer Cats are back, recreating music heard at the Cotton Club in the ‘20s and ‘30s, including hits of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway.

The ever-popular festival Ceilidh returns, along with the Festival of Choirs, and Adam Norsworthy, who returns to Dulwich Festival after two previous sold-out shows. Regarded by many as one of the country’s finest blues singer-songwriters, he will be playing a first set with LSO second violinist Tom Norris and then a full band set with his group The Mustangs, one of the UK’s most established Blues bands.

At over 400 years old, Christ’s Chapel is one of the hidden gems in Dulwich and will be hosting a Chapel Organ open afternoon, featuring the exquisite organ built in 1759 and thought to be the oldest surviving example of the famous organ builders, George England’s, work. Acclaimed ensemble Onyx Brass is also performing at the alluring venue.

For literary lovers, join a discussion with the editors of Words in Pain, Jocelyn Catty and Trevor Moore, with readings from their embellished centenary edition of the collected letters of Olga Jacoby, a writer, thinker and rationalist who wrote them ‘under the sentence of death’ due to a terminal heart condition. The proceedings take place in the elegant setting of Bell House.

For younger members of the community the children’s art competition and concert return, while Kingsdale will play host again to the Youth Concert where local schools/music groups showcase their incredibly talented young musicians. Award-winning children’s theatre is on offer at St Barnabas Parish Hall with the fantastical tale of Tommy Foggo – Superhero – a magical multi-media tale of a life saved by music based on a true story.

The Festival Fair on Goose Green

The Festival Fair on Goose Green provides fun for all the family with a wide range of stalls and activities, including the cheerful community chain of pom-poms and the much- loved donkey rides. The Love West Dulwich and Dulwich Park Fairs take place on the final weekend of the Festival.

For another family friendly outing, join the London wildlife Trust for a spring orchard tree care event and picnic.

The orchard is being developed by The Dulwich Estate to mark 400 years since Edward Alleyn founded a school, chapel and almshouse in Dulwich. The day promises nature-themed activities for all.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of Burbage Road’s namesake, Richard Burbage, local artist Lionel Stanhope is creating a mural of the actor, artist and co-founder of the Globe theatre. The Handlebards, a troupe of cycling actors who perform charmingly chaotic and environmentally sustainable Shakespeare plays across the globe, are putting on an original version on Much Ado About Nothing. Also taking inspiration from the great Bard, Tim Crouch performs his one man show, I, Malvolio, which re-imagines Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night from the point of view of its most notoriously abused steward.

You can learn more about Dulwich’s Street Art through the Street Art Walk.

Other walks taking place throughout the Festival include Ian McInnes’ insight into Dulwich’s Georgian heritage, Lette Jones’s Tree Walk and Brian Green’s History walk.

Booking is highly recommended for all Festival events: www.dulwichfestival.co.uk