Friday 13th May - Sunday 20th May
The Dulwich Festival, now in its 29th year is in the capable hands of its new Director Annie Mitchell who with the new Artists’ Open House team of Yvonne Wilcox and Kim Baptiste are, in the words of Annie - “Having a ball, closely working together and getting to know each other”. They are full of admiration for their predecessors especially Alpha Hopkins “who has gifted the community so much in her 18 years working on the Festival.”
Only a few weeks into the challenge of producing this year’s Festival and after no physical festival for two years because of the pandemic, the programme is coming together well. The new Director says - “There will be lots of opportunities for youth to be involved including the Children’s Art Competition, Flash Fiction, and the Youth Gala Concert. Old favorites will be back including the fairs, the Festival of Choirs and the ever-popular Ceilidh. New additions to the programme include local pop-up jazz and comedy clubs. There will be a range of interesting talks, relevant to a community coming out of the pandemic experience. And of course, there will be a full offering of walks, including the very popular Street Art walk with Amanda Greatorex and a ‘Who’s Who Promenade’ with Mary Green. We are thrilled to be hosting events at many local venues including Bell House, Copper Beech and ‘ Peace and Riot.’
Printed programmes as well as online listings are expected to be distributed for both the Festival and Artists’ Open House.
Festival Director, Annie Mitchell, hails from Adelaide but is no stranger to the UK having completed a degree in international relations at Leeds University and post graduate qualifications in marketing and management at the University of South Australia. And, in true Australian tradition she took an extended tour around the world, volunteering and working her way through Spain, the USA, Canada, India and South-East Asia. Married to Nick, who includes being an Australian DJ in his CV in addition to heading up the European office of his IT company, they have two children, aged 2 and 5. So like her predecessors as directors of the Dulwich Festival she is also a hands-on mum.
Annie has had a long career in marketing and has been connected with events as diverse as pageants and motor racing. In 2019 (two weeks after the birth of her second child) she was appointed to the Board of the South Australian Tourism Commission. The commission navigated the state’s response to the horrendous Australian bush fires of the summer of 2019/20, followed by the onset on covid pandemic.
As senior marketing manager of BankSA,she became closely involved in the Adelaide Festival for which her bank was the major sponsor. The Adelaide Festival, the largest in the world after Edinburgh is now in its 62nd year and is second in reputation and size only to the Edinburgh Festival.
She and her family arrived in Dulwich on a cold day in February 2021 during the height of the lockdown and was required to isolate for the first two weeks in a fairly empty house. With two small children, the challenge was overcome with the help of new neighbours and contacts made through St Barnabas Church, where the vicar John Watson put her in touch with other welcoming families.