The Dulwich Society Journal for Spring 2020.
In addition to trying to secure additional income from parking in Dulwich Park the Council is also planning more large-scale events there. At the very end of last year, they consulted over a food and music themed event planned for the weekend 3rd-5th July 2020 called ‘Pubinthepark’. Promoted by an events company, Brand Events TM Limited, it will be hosted by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge and is one of a series of ‘PitP’ events to be held at various locations across the country (there were eight on 2019 in locations such as St Albans, Marlow and Chiswick). They plan to run a total of four sessions over the weekend - Friday & Saturday evenings and Saturday & Sunday afternoons, each session accommodating up to 3,500 ticket holders. The website www.pubintheparkuk.com gives a taster of what is on offer (chef demos, food and drink tasting, trading stalls and a programme of live music. The organiser has applied for a permanent licence, enabling them to repeat the event in future years.
The choice of Dulwich Park is clearly because the area is seen as having a relatively wealthy demographic who will be interested in the offer, and can afford to pay for it - tickets are £35-£45 per person per session (with some premium tickets at £95 each - and with food and drink on top of that) The organisers say that there will be opportunities for local traders and businesses to participate but the current businesses in the park like the recumbent cyclists, the boats on the lake, and the park cafe are not so sure - they also say that they will tell ticket purchasers that access is best by public transport, but they cannot insist, and there could be a major impact on local roads.
This will probably be the largest event held 36in the park in recent years and whatever one’s views of its content, it raises serious questions about Southwark Council’s policy of earning additional revenue by permitting private events in what is a public park - used by people living, not just in Dulwich, but in many other parts of Southwark who do not have gardens or easy access to open space. The plans are to fence off the sports fields forming part of the West Lawns - which amount to about 25% of the grassed area of the Park for 10 days in the height of summer (to allow for setting up and taking down). Notwithstanding the noise of 3,500 festival goers attending each of the 4 sessions (2 sessions and a total of 7,000 people on Saturdays), loud music from live bands, and PA announcements throughout the event, will create significant noise nuisance to those living nearby.
The organisers will pay a fee, though the Council will not say what it is. There will also be a bond, again amount unknown (but less than £10,000), paid up front to cover any damage to the park - many members will recall the length of time it took to repair the listed entrance gates about ten years ago (and not forgetting the problems on Peckham Rye two years ago). The Society believes that these types of events do not encourage the proper use of public space, quite the opposite. The Council says that Dulwich park events generate income to run free events elsewhere in the Borough although we have been told that 10% of the hire fee will apparently be ring-fenced for unspecified projects in Dulwich.
The Society joined Friends of Dulwich Park and local residents in opposing the licence application and, although it was finally granted after two lengthy hearings, it has been restricted to one year only with a restriction in numbers on site to 5000. We understand the organiser is considering an appeal to the Magistrates Court, a process which is likely to take some time.
The 57th Annual General Meeting of the Dulwich Society will be held at 8pm on Monday 27th April 2020 at the First Floor Suite, Crown and Greyhound, Dulwich Village, SE21 7BJ
1. Introduction and welcome.
3. Minutes of the 56th Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 7th May 2019 to be approved.
4. Matters Arising.
5. Chairman’s Report and Review of the Year.
6. Treasurer’s Report and presentation of accounts for the year ended 31st December 2019.
7. Appointment of Independent Examiner. Nominee: Sally-Anne Jeffries, Chartered Accountant.
8. Elections for 2020-2021. Officers, Members of the Executive Committee, Honorary Officers.
9. Questions from members.
10. Any Other Business.
11. Date of next AGM - last Monday in April 2021
12. Close of AGM Business.
After the AGM, there will be a short talk of local interest & refreshments will be served.
Note: Nomination forms for election as an Officer or Member of the Executive Committee can be obtained from the Secretary. Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Secretary by two Society members not later than fourteen days before the AGM and must be endorsed by the candidate in writing. (Rule 9).
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2019 and the Chairman’s & Committee reports will be available from 27th March 2020 on the Dulwich Society web site www.dulwichsociety.com or on application to the Secretary. The Rules of the Society are available at http://www.dulwichsociety.com/about-the-dulwich-society.
The Society welcomes nominations from members to serve on the Executive Committee or on a sub-committee. Our sub-committees cover travel, environment, local history, gardens, wildlife, trees, planning & architecture. If you would like to find out more about Society projects and committee work, please contact the Chairman or Secretary for more information.
Susan Badman, Hon. Secretary, Dulwich Society,
Subscriptions for 2020 membership of the Society became due on 1st January. Reminder letters were sent during February to those who had not paid. If renewal payment is not received by the end of March this journal will be your last one. If you have any queries about your membership please contact Diana McInnes, the membership Secretary, at
Tower Blocks Are Coming
There are three pending planning applications for high blocks of flats on Sydenham Hill and Fountain Drive. The Corporation of the City of London is proposing to redevelop the now empty Mais House, adjacent to its Lammas Green Estate, with a series of blocks of flats, one up to a maximum of 7 stories - though the height has been reduced from 9 after a series of public consultations, but there is still considerable local concern. There are also plans to redevelop the former Astra hotel, on the corner of Sydenham Hill and Westwood Hill with a 4/5 storey block and there is a new application for a block of a similar height on the site of a 1950s bungalow on Fountain Drive - the latter scheme was rejected by Southwark Council earlier last year and the new scheme seems much the same. Adjacent residents are up in arms not only over the actual proposal but also the Council Planning Department’s failure to inform them about it at the proper time.
Meanwhile, in East Dulwich, it appears that the London Mayor has changed his mind over the proposed redevelopment of the Dulwich Hamlet Football Ground and has said that Southwark should approve the latest revised scheme which provides more social housing. This will mean a series of blocks of flats being built on the existing stadium site while the stadium itself is moved to the adjacent Metropolitan Open Land - even though the Mayor acknowledges that the proposed enclosed stadium does not comply with MoL policy. The Society and many local amenity groups objected because of the loss of MoL but it is clear that the Mayor considers the provision of new housing more important than the preservation of public open space.
A men’s barbers called ‘Mem’s’ opened in the former Phase 8 unit in Park Hall Road a few of weeks before Christmas and Plinthe, the former kitchen shop on the corner of Park Hall Road and Alleyn Road, is likely to be used temporarily by Roger Pope, the Village opticians, relocating to allow his current unit to be extended. There is currently no further information on plans to relocate the Alleyn Park Garden Centre.
The planning application for the Yoga studio in the former Park Garage has yet to be decided and there is still no news on the likely tenant for the former S G Smith showroom unit (though the Estate say they have agreed heads of terms with a restaurant). There is also no progress on the S G Smith workshop site as the revised planning application has yet to be decided.
Crime and Policing
Car crime remains a problem, both theft of catalytic converters and of cars themselves and, while there has been a reduction in burglary, there have been several worrying youth-on-youth robberies on school children. There were also reports in January of aggressive door stepping by jobbing builders and an increase in attempted bank card fraud - a number of residents have been contacted by callers purporting to be from the local police station.
Dulwich Society Newsletter & Journal archive
Dulwich Society member Pamela Le Gassick has created an index for issues of the Society’s Newsletter and Journal. Sorted into two files, one covering 1964-1989 and the other 1989-2014, each article is identified by its newsletter number followed by its page number. The files have now been put on the Society’s website (on the Newsletters Archive page with a couple of explanatory sentences) in order that anyone can access them.
Pamela’s use of subject headings and linking articles makes it easy to find recurring events, for example AGMs. We can also see how perennial issues, such as parking, turn up year in, year out. Browsing the index reveals other titbits: recycling has been an issue since the 1970s while surprisingly, the hot contemporary topic of cycling has only really been discussed since the 2000s, despite the presence of the Velodrome. We hope members will find Pamela’s indexes useful and informative
When Beth Taylor of the Herne Hill Society spoke to the Local History group about their oral history project, what caught our attention, apart from the actual project, was what she told us about ‘audio posts’. These are small oak posts that hold the electronics required to play six short messages of a couple of minutes each. They are solar powered, so can be installed anywhere, and can store enough energy for up to 16 minutes of playback each day.
The height of the post means everyone can access it, including children and wheelchair users. We immediately saw the potential for communicating some of Dulwich’s rich history through sound. Beth has plans to install one in Brockwell Park and there is one already in the Horniman Gardens, handily placed next to an existing bench so that people can sit to listen. Dulwich has so much history that it will be difficult to decide where to place a post or choose what to include, but that is a nice problem to have and we will enjoy debating the various possibilities. Audio benches, with the technology built in, also exist so when one of the Society’s benches wears out, we could consider replacing it with an audio bench.
The posts are sturdy and simple to operate, with two buttons: one to start the audio, the other to scroll through the messages. Robustness and simplicity come at a price however: one post costs £1,000 while a bench is around £2,000. The generous bequest to the Local History group made by the late Mary Boast could provide funding for Dulwich’s first post: we just need to decide where to put it and what content to include.
Enclosed with this Journal is a copy of our 2020 Dulwich Gardens open for charity booklet, with details of the local gardens that will be opening this year and that we hope you will take the chance to visit. They are all a great source of ideas and inspiration, as well as raising significant sums for local and national charities. Further copies of the brochure are available in local garden centres and other outlets.
Many thanks once again to Ann Rutherford for producing it, to colleagues on the Gardening sub-committee for help in distributing it, and many thanks to the garden owners involved for their hard and wonderful work.
Coach visit to Polesden Lacey and Moleshill House gardens, Wednesday 17th June
Included in the brochure are details of our annual coach outing, which this year is to Polesden Lacey (National Trust) and Moleshill House gardens in Surrey.
Tickets are £27 each and can be purchased through Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.co.uk - search “Dulwich Society”) or from Terry Harvey-Jones, 88 Chestnut Road, London SE27 9LE (cheques payable to “The Dulwich Society” with a note of your email address and an SAE please). Please note that non-members of the National Trust will need to pay an additional £13 for entry to Polesden Lacey; this will be collected on the coach. No cancellation refunds will be given. Enquiries to Terry Harvey-Jones -
We suggest early application for what will be a popular visit.
On August 17, the Grove Tavern is set to celebrate eight years as a derelict site, as its freeholder, the Dulwich Estate and Southwark Council fail to agree redevelopment plans. Attempts to reach a planning deal have now lasted twice as long as talks to settle as Brexit. Ward councillors Catherine Rose and Andy Simons said: “We have been disappointed at both the slow pace of progress regarding the site and the failure of the lessee, Stonegate, to maintain the site in an acceptable state.” The councillors favour a mixed-use development backed by the local community, following the previous failure of pre-planning negotiations between the Estate and Southwark.
The immediate outlook looks grim. A council spokeswoman said: “Although the council’s planning officers have had several informal conversations with Dulwich Estate there is no formal pre-application being discussed.”
Dulwich Estate chief executive Simone Crofton says: “The site is under consideration. When proposals are ready we will bring these forward with the Council and residents. Until then it wouldn't be right to share ongoing internal processes more widely. We are of course mindful of the interest in the Grove - and will be going through all due processes when we get to that stage.”
The Grove has seen happier days. It stands on the site of an earlier pub, the Green Man, whose mineral stream inspired a pleasure garden. It was frequented by diarist John Evelyn, according to the London Parks & Gardens Trust. In the late 18thCentury, the pub was replaced by Dr Glennie’s Academy, where the poet, Lord Byron, received his early education. As the Dulwich Society has recorded, he wrote to his cousin, just before his departure: “I am going to leave this damned place at Easter and am going to Harrow.” Given his reported love of dressing up as a highwayman, with his friends, it is unlikely that locals mourned his departure. The year 1862 saw the development of the Grove Tavern by Courage Breweries. The pub was viewed as “no celebrity in any way,” according to British History Online. But it went on to develop a decent reputation as a restaurant, latterly a Harvester. A publication called Derelict London noted that Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor dined at the establishment in the 1960s, most residents put this down as an urban myth.
Owned by Stonegate Pub Company from 2011, the Grove ceased to be a Harvester and suffered mixed restaurant reviews. According to one review online, it offered: “Rubbish service, rubbish food.” Another said: “Very low quality food. They served pineapple from the salad cart with the desert.”
The 2012 fire at the Grove broke out in the kitchen and Stonegate chose not to refurbish the pub. It is obliged to pay rent to the freeholders, the Dulwich Estate, for the remainder of its lease, said to total seven years.
Beyond that point the Estate will face a loss of rent plus an obligation to cover council tax. This may not be good news for private school beneficiaries. The sum, said to total £250,000 p.a., would be small against the Estate’s income of £11.5 million last year but this needed to cover expenditure of £10.8 million including £7.2 million paid to beneficiaries.
The Estate went on to draw up plans for residential and commercial development on the site. The council suggested amendments and the Estate changed its plan. But the council undermined the proposal by deciding the pub should stay.
Locals have discussed turning the Grove into a community pub. But these ventures are expensive, Stonegate’s residual lease is short and the market for pubs is weak. Even Wetherspoons is putting a lease for its Capitol pub, Forest Hill, on the market. An estate agents board offering a pub lease appeared on the the Grove at one point, but vanished in despair soon after.
In a 2017 draft plan for the borough Southwark says a redevelopment should: “Retain a pub, if there is no demand for a pub, an equivalent amount of employment floorspace should be provided within a mixed use development with active ground floor frontages.” The site “should provide new homes but may provide new extra care housing.”
The current expectation is that the Estate will table plans to refurbish the pub for a change in use. Community, care home, or commercial space has been mooted. But residential development could well dominate, potentially including affordable housing. However, Catherine Rose and Andy Simmons say local residents want the site to offer affordable pub, community and residential space. They continue to press the Dulwich Estate for a resolution to the sorry affair.
An open meeting hosted by the Dulwich Society in November 2017 did not produce a development consensus. Reports of a draft Southwark plan to agree sixty flats was viewed “with suspicion” by some, in terms of the impact of large new building, and the possible end users. But there was a unanimous view that the site needed to be better maintained. The appearance of the pub has continued to deteriorate, as graffiti progressively covers the lower part of the building and windows continue to be broken. The building appears secure but rubbish and weeds infest the site. The car park has been barricaded to keep out travellers but local shopkeepers are wary of burglaries.
The Grove site has the misfortune to adjoin a South Circular junction suffering a lack of pedestrian crossings and a high level of car emissions.
Pressure from the ward councillors and Helen Hayes, MP, means Transport for London is planning to improve pedestrian access this year. But emissions are a tougher challenge. An estate agent said the site could be suitable for a McDonalds Drive Thru: “But this could lead to increased traffic in an already busy area.”
The Stonegate Pub Company have failed to respond to enquiries.
The Dulwich Festival returns from 8th to 17th May celebrating Art, Music, Literature and the great outdoors for all the family. This year the green pastures of Dulwich are going even greener with the increasingly topical theme of Sustainability.
There are a number of events lined up as part of the Festival's 2020 sustainability programme. Dr Tom Best will be in conversation with Professor Nigel Dunnett exploring how design relates to well-being in both interior and landscape design in the creation of the new Critical Care Unit at King's College Hospital. The talk takes place in the elegant setting of Bell House and visitors will also have a chance to see the beautiful gardens.
Festival veteran Brian Green has planned a special historic talk to mark VE Day on 8th May. Thereafter the Festival will release its first podcast walk to be led by Brian, available via the website.
A number of walks will be taking place throughout the Festival include an insight into Dulwich’s Georgian heritage, a fascinating Street Art Walk and a lively exploration of Dulwich’s literary heritage. A new Shakespeare Tree Trail will be launched at Dulwich Park Fair as part of the 3rd Urban Tree Festival and will be a permanent resource for people to access.
There are two competitions running with the theme of Sustainability for Dulwich’s younger residents. The Children’s Art Competition will return and a new Schools Sculpture Competition will be launched in association with Plastic-Free East Dulwich. Local artist Katrina Russell-Adams will lead the project and final sculptures will be exhibited at the Fair in Dulwich Park.
Also coming to this year’s Dulwich Park Fair is Glam; a vibrant dance and circus cabaret featuring acrobatics, disco, feathers and glitter by Etta Ermini Dance Theatre & Van Huynh Company. This colourful performance highlights the power of bringing people together through dance and popular music and is accessible to all ages and backgrounds.
The Festival also 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 a fascinating insight into their art.
For music lovers, the Mississippi Swap Dogs, regulars at leading jazz venues, will perform at the Copper Beach Café playing jazz of the early masters like Louis Armstrong through to the music of such giants as Fats Domino and Doctor John. The wonderful Festival Ceilidh night returns on 9th May as does the fabulous Festival of Choirs on 15th May.
James Riley and his Band will bring their exuberant style to this year’s Festival. James followed his roots back to Nashville for a short trip - which ended up becoming a 2-year odyssey. Whilst in Tennessee he met Grammy-winning producer Matthew Odmark, and recorded his debut album Transatlantica which is set to be released this March.
The Festival Fair on Goose Green will provide fun for all the family with a wide range of stalls and activities including the much- loved donkey rides. Kingswood House will run a series of events for all the family exploring all things green, whilst Dulwich Park Fair along with ‘Love West Dulwich Fair’ will take place on the final weekend of the Festival with a whole array of entertainment for all the family.
For more information please contact: Jules Parker - Festival Press Officer @gmail.com | 07958 397 935 www.dulwichfestival.co.uk
Gerry, as he preferred to be called, served Dulwich as its Member of Parliament from 1983 until 1992. He won the seat from Kate Hoey who stood for Labour following the retirement of its former MP, the Labour Attorney-General Sam Silkin. His period as Dulwich’s MP was before the boundary changes which added West Norwood to its electorate.
Dulwich had been a marginal seat since the end of World War 2, exchanging Labour for Tory members and vice-versa on a regular basis. Silkin won his seat from the Miss World entrepreneur Eric Morley in 1979 by 122 votes and when Bowden took the seat for the Tories in 1983 he had increased the Tory majority to a comfortable 1859 votes. In the 1987 election Dulwich was again on a knife edge and Bowden won by 180 votes after a recount. However, he lost to Tessa Jowell in 1993 who had a majority over 2000.
During his years as Dulwich’s MP, Gerry Bowden was a strong local MP. In 1984 he successfully persuaded the Secretary of State for the Environment to intervene to prevent a plan by Southwark Council to build 146 flats on the top part of Sydenham Hill Wood which had been leased in 1982 to the London Wildlife Trust. He was equally active and effective in arguing against the Dulwich Estate’s plan to build in another area of the Woods. In July 1985, the Local Plan inspector reported that most of the Wood should be protected from development. The inspector’s written report was published in the same week that Southwark Council’s planning committee rejected the Beechgrove application. In advance of a public inquiry into the Beechgrove application, Gerald Bowden said: "I’ve never had quite such a wide range of ordinary people writing to me on one subject. There is very broad opposition to the flats."[ The inspector's decision against the plan was hailed as ‘Wood reprieve a policy precedent.’
Gerald Bowden, who had also represented Dulwich on the Greater London Council 1977-81, returned to lecturing on the law of property at Kingston University; he had held a similar post at London South Bank University before offering himself as a parliamentary candidate and he also resumed practice at the planning bar. Locally, he went on to serve as Chairman of Governors of the Dulwich Estate and was an active member of the Territorial Army, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant- Colonel.
On New Year’s Eve 2017 Gerry suffered the devastating loss of his only daughter Emma and his grand-daughter Heather, when both were killed along with his future son-in-law and his two sons in the Sydney harbour flying boat tragedy.
Bell House wins Frances Garnham award for innovation
Bell House won the Historic Houses Frances Garnham award for their innovative approach to education and community engagement. The judges were impressed by the reach and creativity of Bell House’s offer to its local community and Ben Cowell, Director General of Historic Houses, spoke highly of the charity, saying ‘It is wonderful to see such an energetic and dynamic approach underway at Bell House. This beautiful place is a beacon for its local area, showing how historic houses continue to serve vital purposes in the twenty-first century.’
Poetry and Music at Bell House
Tuesday March 3rd 7.30 -9.15
Come and hear four excellent poets read from their new collections and hear the vibrant inspiring Steve Halliwell, local musician extraordinaire and his accompanying musicians.
Chris Beckett was born in London but grew up in Ethiopia, which he writes about in his poetry. His last book of poems was Ethiopia Boy published in 2013. This year Carcanet will bring out his third collection, Tenderfoot, as well as the first ever anthology of Ethiopian poetry in English, Songs We Learn from Trees.
Lynne Hjelmaard As a result of crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat with her husband, Lynne wrote poems that were later collected in Manhattan Sonnets. After her husband died in 2006, she received a residency grant for the Danish Academy in Rome where she wrote poems that later appeared in The Ring. A Boat Called Annalise was published with Seren Books in 2016 and A Second Whisper was published by Seren Books last year.
Jane Kirwan won an Arts Council Writers’ Award in 2002, has been commended and won prizes, She published a novel Don’t Mention Her through Blue Door Press in 2016 as well as a poetry collection Stories & Lies with Pamela Johnson and Jennifer Grigg in 2018. Her latest collection The Goose Woman was published by Blue Door Press in February 2019.
Anne Stewart founded and runs the online poet showcase www.poetrypf.co.uk and is administrator for Second Light. Her latest collection is The Last Parent (SLP 2019). Her awards include the Bridport Prize, Southport Prize and Silver Wyvern (Poetry on the Lake, Italy).
Plus 4 floor poets. Copies of the readers’ books will be on sale. Free evening with donations for refreshments. Book via Bell House website.Further details from Wendy French
The Friends Musick
Saturday 21st March at 7.30pm
To mark the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to begin a new life in America, The Friends` Musick chamber choir will tell the story of that fateful voyage in words and music.
Narrated by a descendant of one of the passengers, with additional narrative from one of the singers descended from William Brewster - a key figure among the Pilgrims.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite on the Bell House website or on the door if available. £12, £10 concessions (seniors, students) Children under 12 £6
South East London Authors
By Marianne Kavanagh
Published authors know how lucky they are. It can be a long and difficult journey from the spark of an idea to a paperback on sale in local bookshops, and so many good books don’t make it. If you’re one of the chosen few, you’re acutely aware of the privilege.
At same time, making your living as a writer can be tough. It’s a lonely business. You don’t have work colleagues to lean on - your agent, editor and accountant are all on your side, but coming up with the product is basically down to you. Writing is also a constant battle with yourself. As the Irish novelist Anne Enright once said, ‘Only bad writers think their work is really good.’
Eighteen months ago, I was talking about all this with local author Diana Evans - whose most recent novel Ordinary People has been shortlisted for a whole host of international prizes - and we realised that one of saddest things about writers’ solitary lives is that we don’t even have an office party at Christmas. (Sudden jollity over warm wine in paper cups is, amazingly, something you miss if you’re freelance and work alone.) So we decided to gather together fellow published authors in south-east London and have our own Christmas celebration.
Since then, South East London Authors has grown to an informal group of fourteen local authors who meet regularly to compare notes, offer support and advice, and celebrate success. Some of us are newly published, while others have an impressive backlist of bestselling titles. Some write literary fiction, some write commercial fiction, and together we cover everything from thrillers to memoirs.
Recently we decided to share what we know about writing and the publishing industry with readers, writers and students. We held our first event in October last year, and now have a further date booked at Bell House in Dulwich Village.
On Wednesday 22 April at 7.30pm, I will be joining novelists Louise Candlish and Anna Mazzola in a Q&A session chaired by author and creative writing tutor Emma Darwin to talk about crime fiction (domestic noir, psychological thrillers, historical crime and detective mysteries) - how it works, the secrets of plot and characterisation, and why crime fiction is consistently the bestselling genre. Full details on Bell House’s website www.bellhouse.co.uk. We’d love to see you at either or both of these events.
If you’d like to get in touch with South East London Authors, we don’t yet have a website or official contact details, but I’d be very happy to pass on requests for speakers or events to individual authors or to the whole group. We’d also love to hear from published authors in south-east London who’d like to join us. My email is
Interested in Bees?
Saturday 23rd May from 2pm to 3.30pm
If you are interested in bees and perhaps thinking of hosting a hive, then this talk is for you. The Dulwich Society is sponsoring an afternoon at Bell House where you can find out the essentials from an expert.
Beekeeper Philip Nicholson will talk about beekeeping at Bell House and explain how honey is produced.
We will look at the apiary in the garden, weather permitting, and will get a chance to see bees on the comb.
Light refreshments will be served.
The event is open only to Dulwich Society members and is free but numbers are limited to 15. If you wish to sign up please register your interest by emailing
Twenty years ago Tricia Cowley realized that there were no spiritual celebrations being arranged for the Millennium. So she wrote, directed and created Passion Play 2000, a huge community play involving 50 actors and a choir of another 60 with orchestra, to tell the story of the last days of Jesus on earth. It was a momentous local event and people have been asking her to stage it again ever since.
So - this year we will have Passion Play 2020! Again involving a large cast of local actors, singers and musicians - and it’s wonderful to welcome back many of the cast from 20 years ago, alongside many new faces - it will show the events of Easter, day by day, in different locations all over Dulwich. Dramas, in modern dress and speech, will be complemented by the story sung in Bach’s glorious St Matthew Passion, accompanied by tableaux in Biblical dress and readings from the account in the King James version.
All parts of this community celebration are FREE and open to all.
This is the timetable:
MAUNDY THURSDAY, 9 April:
7.00pm, St Barnabas Church - The Passion Choir, with orchestra and soloists, sing the events of the day, illustrated by tableaux in Biblical dress.
8.30pm, St Barnabas Parish Hall - the first modern drama, The Last Supper. Jesus and the Disciples then process, singing, through Dulwich Village to Christ’s Chapel for I Am The Vine before moving to the Garden of Gethsemane in the New Orchard in Gallery Road. Jesus is arrested there and taken to Caiaphas’s house while Peter’s Denial is played outside the Chapel.
GOOD FRIDAY, 10 April:
1.30pm, St John’s Church, Goose Green - the modern Trial of Jesus. After being condemned he takes his Cross and carries it to the site of the Crucifixion, from whence his body is taken by Joseph of Arimathea.
7.30pm St Barnabas Church - the events of Good Friday with the Choir and actors, this time in Biblical dress, to the wonderful arias and choruses of the St Matthew Passion.
EASTER DAY, 12 April:
5.30 am, outside St Stephen’s Church in College Road - The Easter story comes to its triumphant ending early on Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene finds an Angel at the tomb and the risen Jesus greets her in the garden.
All are welcomed to St Stephen’s for the first eucharist of Easter and breakfast!