The Dulwich Society Journal for Spring 2022.
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.
It was probably 10 years ago that Yvonne Wilcox and Kim Baptiste first met, via a mutual friend, at The Dog for drinks. They knew straight away that they would get on; they both ran their own companies, they both worked with their husbands, both worked in Public Relations and marketing, and both were heavily involved in their children’s local schools.
It was therefore inevitable, really, that they would go on to team up and work together on a range of projects, some small launches, and some quite large events.
But they knew their desire to work together was more than just ad hoc projects. So, the opportunity came when they heard that Rachel Gluyas and Liz Boyd, who had successfully been running the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House for the past 17 years, were stepping down. Fate seemed to have intervened, as the roles fitted them perfectly. It was their dream job; they were absolutely delighted when they were offered the shared role of becoming the new organisers for the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House. They love organising and meeting people, and this combined both. What more could they want?
So, just weeks into the role, and working closely with the new Dulwich Festival Director, Annie Mitchell, they are loving it. Despite not having had a physical event since the start of the Covid lockdown (the 2020/2021 Dulwich Festival became virtual) the response has been amazing. Artists have met the tight deadlines and have been delighted that it is up and running again. Of course, Yvonne and Kim have been nervous about taking over from Rachel and Liz after so many years but with their incredible support and guidance it is all going to plan.
All their years of previous experience working with high street and niche designers and retailers, lifestyle brands and creative artisans - organising promotions, launches, photo- shoots, openings and events will now be pulled together to culminate in reinvigorating the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House for 2022.
So their wish did really come true; they sit together each day, sharing three screens, running through registration forms and logging into G-drives but without doubt, the biggest highlight of their day is when they get to speak to the actual artists who have been so kind and who they are so looking forward to meeting and seeing their work at their open houses and studios.
Dulwich Festival Volunteers - We Need You!
Do you want to keep fit and help the Dulwich Festival?
Do you have a spare hour to help at an event?
Both are equally valuable whether you are walking delivering the Dulwich Festival Guide or the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House catalogue or helping with the organisation of an event (anything from greeting and seating - to setting-up). We would love to hear from your - please email us
St Barnabas Church on Songs of Praise
In January the BBC broadcast its Sunday slot of ‘Songs of Praise’ and featured St Barnabas, Dulwich’s ‘Messy Church’. This is a recent but much enjoyed venture in the afternoon of 3rd Sunday of the month at St Barnabas Parish Hall. The hall is packed with children, parents and helpers in a hands-on afternoon of Bible themed craft, cookery and science.
It is a year of anniversaries for the Mark Evison Foundation. Mark lived in Court Lane, and many of you will have known him, and know the round seat and tree in Dulwich Village commemorating his death as a young Lieutenant in Helmand, Afghanistan in 2009. It is 10 years since we established the Foundation, and we are about to give our 500th award! We have had nearly 1500 beneficiaries, largely year 12 students in London state schools. We are now in over one fifth of those schools, most with above the national average level of students receiving free school meals, and many with little access to work experience and extracurricular opportunities.
From January this year Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-chancellor of Liverpool University, will be our patron: her interest in diversity, equality and disadvantage is central to how we work.
The Foundation offers awards for non-academic challenging projects. We invite students to do what they want to do providing it is significantly challenging at their level, and they do their research, they create and develop their applications, and they carry out their projects adult-free. They love being in the driving seat, using their initiative and energy independently. We offer advice and support along the way, risk-management, and expenses funding of up to £500 per application. About 70% are physical proposals (climbing, hiking, cycling), the rest technical or creative.
It is an unusual, powerful, and effective offer, and the impact on the students is huge. Awards take students out of their classrooms and beyond school syllabuses, teaching them skills very useful in work situations, and giving them much more confidence - ‘if I can do that, what else can I do’? They learn to take on leadership roles, to work as a team, then to deal with any problems that arise, which inevitably they do. We make a huge difference to the confidence, independence, and aspirations of the 17-year old’s we work with, and the projects and awards enrich CVs and UCAS forms.
Despite the lockdown, often remote working and the Delta virus, we had a huge amount of interest in the last academic year, giving over 100 awards to over 300 students. Locally, students at both Dulwich Charter schools, and Kingsdale participated, with fabulous results - see the home page of our website www.markevisonfoundation.org for their own descriptions of their very challenging projects.
Margaret Evison, Executive Trustee
Please think of supporting the Foundation in its ground-breaking work: regular monthly contributions are very helpful.
In November 2021, nine British soldiers who died in World War One were given a military funeral more than a century after their deaths. Their bodies were discovered during engineering works in Belgium in 2018 and they appeared to have died together. Two of the nine, 2nd Lt Leslie Wallace Ablett and 2nd Lt Edward Bruty, had connections to Dulwich.
The soldiers, including Ablett and Bruty, were found in a trench and had been killed either by heavy shelling or the trench collapsing. Personal belongings found with the men enabled researchers to identify seven of them as soldiers of the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, then DNA testing of living relatives enabled Ablett, Bruty and the other five soldiers to be specifically identified. The seven were laid to rest with full military honours in a ceremony at Belgium's Tyne Cot Cemetery and were buried alongside thousands of their comrades who fell during heavy fighting at Passchendaele in October 1917. The eighth casualty could not be identified by name but was honoured as an ‘Unknown Soldier of the Northumberland Fusiliers’ and the ninth and final serviceman was buried as an ‘Unknown Soldier of the Great War’.
The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the bloodiest of World War One, when British and French troops launched an assault on German positions around Ypres in July 1917. Heavy rain turned the battlefield into a sea of mud and the fighting continued through the summer and into autumn until the attack was abandoned in November 1917 with around 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties.
2nd Lieutenant Leslie Wallace Ablett was born in 1897, the son of John Joseph Ablett and Caroline Church of Streatham. John Joseph was a buyer of wholesale drapery and furs from Manchester, then the home of the textile industry. Leslie’s grandfather had been a parish clerk and choir master in Withington.
The family moved from Manchester to South London a few years before Leslie was born. Once there, they moved house a fair bit, not unusual in those days when most people rented and the breadwinner’s income often fluctuated. At first the Abletts lived in Nunhead, in Athendale Road before moving to the next road up, Ivydale Road and it was here that Leslie was born. When John’s mother was widowed she moved down from Manchester to join them. By 1901 the family had moved to Rye Hill Park, Camberwell and in 1907 they moved to Eardley Road in Streatham. Leslie joined Alleyn’s School in 1908 and a year later his school report said he was 'bright, cheerful and of good tone. Has worked well'; he was also a keen poet. In 1913 when he was 16 he left Alleyn’s to become a clerk, possibly in haberdashery, the same business his father and brother were in. In 1914 the Abletts left South London for the Portobello Rd and it was from here that Leslie went to war.
In October 1915 Leslie Ablett enlisted with the Artists Rifles Officer Training Corps and was commissioned less than a year later, joining the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers as a 2nd Lt. He was wounded in action in June 1917 and he died in battle on 14 October 1917, aged 20, being found in the same trench as Bruty. His ID bracelet, pen and ring identified him and a relative provided a DNA sample which confirmed the identification.
2nd Lieutenant Edward Bruty, born in 1895 in East Dulwich, was the son of William Dannell Bruty, a carpenter from Bermondsey, and Edith Kate Mary Thompson, known as Kate. The middle child of nine, Edward had four brothers and four sisters and the family lived at 34 Whateley Road until Edward was 15, when they moved to 237 Lordship Lane. The children all attended Heber Road School and when Edward left he started work as a railway clerk. In 1914 he enlisted and became a sergeant in the Army Cyclists Corps before being commissioned into the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers in February 1917. He died in battle on 14 October 1917, aged 21 and was found in a trench with his kit and equipment. The soldiers’ personal effects, together with Northumberland Fusilier insignia, narrowed identification down; then, in conjunction with DNA testing of relatives, seven of the nine soldiers were named.
The Bruty family continued to live at 237 Lordship Lane until 1955.
The Dulwich Players Present
Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters
Adapted by Stephen Briggs
With music by Paul Grimwood
6th - 9th April at The Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College, SE21 7LD
Wyrd Sisters was the 6th of Terry Pratchett’s 41 Discworld® books, and one where he quite properly decides that witches, and not wizards, should be the dominant force, driving forward this wonderful world of magic.
Join us in a story of drama, love and silliness, combining Macbeth and Hamlet with a touch of Lear (and maybe Blackadder); where the wicked are extremely wicked, and good appears in surprising forms. Depressed heroes and brainless guards; noble actors and a vowel-less demon; all guided by rule-breaking witches and - above all magic - as we fly through 22 manic scene changes to that glorious moment when good triumphs over evil.
Tickets are £12 (plus booking fee) available through https://www.dulwichplayers.org/ or
Tickets are also sold on the door, subject to availability.
Wednesday 6th - Friday 8th April at 8pm
Saturday 9th April at 3pm and 8pm
Royalties and Programme Donations go to Terry Pratchett’s chosen charity: the Orangutan Foundation.