The vibrant Dulwich Festival returns from 11th to 20th May this year and will be celebrating a tremendous 25th anniversary. Music, literary, theatre and visual art events will take place in some of the beautiful hidden spaces to be found throughout Dulwich. Explore the newly refurbished Bell House, the new George Farha Auditorium in The Laboratory at Dulwich College, and take the opportunity to gain an insider’s view of the exquisite organ in Christ’s Chapel with an open day conducted by the Chapel organist on Saturday 12th May.

To celebrate the centenary of women being given the right to vote, come and meet social historian and author Jane Robinson who specialises in the study of women pioneers. She will give an illustrated lecture at Dulwich Picture Gallery on Friday 11th May about her latest book, Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote. The book tells the remarkable, yet neglected story of the suffragists march on London. After the talk, Nicolette Jones will lead a Q&A session with the author of this fascinating book.

For classical music fans, the Doric String Quartet will perform works by Purcell, Debussy and Beethoven at Christ’s Chapel on Wednesday 16th May in a concert jointly presented with the Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Formed nearly 20 years ago, they are recognised as the leading British string quartet of their generation with a world-wide reputation.

A wide variety of other music events are on offer throughout the Festival this year with the ever-popular Festival of Choirs taking place on the first night of the Festival at JAGS Holst Hall curated by local choir, Tongue and Groove. By popular demand, indie-folk band, Joe Innes & The Cavalcade will return with their lively and charismatic music, performing at the Crown and Greyhound on Saturday 12th May. The Festival will also play host to Rap Royalty, The Last Poets on the final day of the Festival. These legendary spoken word artists grew out of the civil rights movements of the late 1960’s in America. In their 50th year together, the godfathers of Hip Hop music will be giving a performance and holding a Q & A session.

Acclaimed performance poet, comedian and musician, John Hegley, returns for an evening of wit and fun at Dulwich College with A Potato Show. John is a regular sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival and is widely known as one of the country’s most innovative comic poets.

An extensive programme of walks will be available to join throughout the 10-day festival period with London Wildlife Trust guides leading the bat walk and the dawn chorus walk, Ian McInnes providing an insight into Dulwich’s Georgian Heritage, Lette Jones conducting the tree walk, Amanda Greatorex guiding the walk exploring local street art and Brian Green’s history walk concluding the Festival on Sunday 20th May.

As always, there will be the opportunity to drop in on some of the extraordinarily talented artists exhibiting throughout homes and studios in the area during the Artists’ Open House weekend openings to view and discuss their work with them.

The ever-popular fairs will be back in full swing throughout the Festival, and the Festival Food Trail will offer culinary delights from local producers and retailers. A Festival Quiz-night is planned for Thursday 17th May at the Crown and Greyhound presented in aid of the wonderful local charity LinkAge Southwark - bag your ticket quickly for this one!

The Dulwich Festival would not be the Dulwich Festival without the huge amount of support and enthusiasm shown by successive generations throughout its amazing first 25 years. The Festival celebrates the beautiful spaces, places, products and people Dulwich has to offer. Catch the film made of last year’s Festival by visiting our Twitter or Facebook page. Enjoy the wonderful sights caught last year via our Instagram feed. If you would like to volunteer to join the growing team behind the Festival, then do please get in touch; your festival needs you!

Booking is highly recommended for all Festival events, which tend to sell out ahead of the Festival itself. Do visit the website for all information: www.dulwichfestival.co.uk