The celebrated Dulwich Festival runs 9-18 May, this year celebrating its 21st anniversary. But with so many exciting cultural and artistic events taking place where you start? With our pick of the best five events…

1 The Real ‘Great Escape’


Dr Adam Rutherford and Dr Kevin Fong debate the limits of the human body

  This year marks the centenary of WW1 and the 70th anniversary of the real-life Great Escape, as immortalised in the Hollywood film. On Tuesday 13 May, The Charter School on Red Post Hill hosts BBC radio and television news presenter Edward Stourton, telling the moving story of the men, women and children who made their wartime escape via the treacherous paths of the Pyrenees into Spain. Edward will be joined in conversation with Simon Pearson, Times journalist and author of the first biography of Roger Bushell, who masterminded the breakout from Stalag Luft III in 1944. Local historian and guide Brian Green will also explore Dulwich’s significance in both World Wars with aLocal History Walk on Sunday 18 May (starting from the Crown & Greyhound at midday and 2.30pm).

2 Geek out 

Dr Adam Rutherford, science broadcaster and professional geek teams up with geneticist and committed ‘spacejunky’ Dr Kevin Fong to debate the limits of the human bodyand how it responds when tested by the extremes of heat and cold, vacuum and altitude, age and disease. The talk, at The Old Library, Dulwich College on Friday 9 May, will leave you amazed by the extraordinary resilience of your body.

3 Judith Kerr


Meet the author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Judith Kerr, author of well-loved children’s books The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog, comes to the Old Library at Dulwich College on Monday 12 May at 7.30pm.

‘I am very much looking forward to coming to the Dulwich Festival and talking to Nicolette Jones about my book Creatures, and about my new picture book which is coming out later in the year,’ said Judith.

Her semi-autobiographical work, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, about her family’s escape from Nazi Germany, is now taught as a set text in German schools. In her 90th birthday year, and with a new book Creatures to add to her remarkable oeuvre, Judith will share the real life behind her words and pictures while in conversation with Nicolette Jones, children’s book editor of the Sunday Times.

4 Artists’ Open House & Food Trail 


Glassware by Alex R of Pymers Mead SE21

The Artists’ Open House returns to the Festival for its tenth year, offering residents and visitors the opportunity to buy their own slice of Dulwich’s thriving arts and crafts community over both weekends of the Festival. A brand new Food Trail also runs over both weekends with local caterer Suzanne James adding a new burger and beer night to her Supper Club repertoire and surprise offerings from Franklins and Toasted on Lordship Lane.

5 Live jazz

Don’t miss Jazz at The Patch with award-winning jazz vocalist and lyricist Georgia Mancio joining leading jazz guitarist Nigel Price for a cool performance at The Patch on Lordship Lane on Saturday 10 May. The Harlem Meer Cats’ perform at Belair House on Gallery Road on Friday 16 May, evoking the spirit of Duke Ellington’s 1930s bands.

For the full line-up see dulwichfestival.co.uk

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