Virtual Dulwich Festival 7th-16th May

Green shoots can be spotted in gardens and hedgerows throughout Dulwich now, bird song is more plentiful and the promise of spring is in the air. These signs are ones of hope as we emerge from a winter quite unlike any in living memory. The virus, which has quietened each and every corner of the world at some point in the previous year, has at least given science its time to shine with the development now of approved vaccines to help stem the tide of infections.

Although the whole Festival team is dismayed that we cannot bring everyone together in the usual way, one of the great joys of the Festival, we were so glad that we were able to re-group last year and put together an online offering in such a short time. It was also heartening to learn of all the ways in which artists and musicians were reacting creatively to lockdown from making masks to giving online tutorials, from portraits for NHS Heroes and participating in the Artist's Support Pledge to presenting live rooftop performances in support of the Trussell Trust. The online Dulwich Festival meant that we could highlight all these endeavours.

As we write, the country is still urged to stay at home and that is exactly where we plan to bring the Dulwich Festival to everyone again this year, with a lively mix of music, poetry, art, history and literature online. Should funding allow, there will be a veritable feast of offerings if you skip over to the website from 7th-16th May. The Flash Fiction Competition will be open to all and the Children’s Art Competition will provide a wonderful reason to settle any young person down to explore their visual creativity. Artists’ Open House, a highlight of each Festival which attracts over 250 exhibiting artists, will be presented in a searchable gallery of delights on the website with some artists offering remote workshops or online purchasable items. We also plan to hold a series of live streamed interviews, talks and music events, about which more will be announced soon.

And if May seems some way away, why not hunt out Dulwich Festival on YouTube to find all our recent films, including the fascinating talk about VE Day given by this magazine’s very own editor, Brian Green. You may also like to take a break from watching a screen, in which case search online for Soundcloud and the Dulwich Festival page where you will find a soothing and enlightening podcast exploring the history of Dulwich Village.