Image above: Nicki Chapman
“A sparkling line up of speakers and performers”
Guest blog by Torin Douglas
If it’s June it must be time for the Bedford Park Festival – Chiswick’s favourite fortnight of arts and community events – and once again we have a sparkling line up of speakers and performers to keep locals entertained and informed, from 9 to 25 June.
We’re delighted that TV and radio presenter Nicki Chapman will open the 57th Bedford Park Festival at the start of its opening Green Days weekend. The Radio 2, RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Escape To The Country star has lived in Chiswick for many years.
Other Festival highlights will include an interview with the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, former Shadow Foreign Secretary, a distinguished elder statesman of the Labour Party and, like Nicki, a longstanding Chiswick resident.
There will be a Poetry Evening in celebration of Bedford Park’s Nobel Prize winner WB Yeats, with author Marina Warner, whose son Conrad Shawcross RA created the Enwrought Light sculpture in memory of Yeats.
Image above: Rachel Griffiths in Very Annie Mary
There will also be a screening of the musical comedy film Very Annie Mary, starring Rachel Griffiths, Jonathan Pryce, Ruth Madoc and Joanna Page, and a wine tasting with international wine judge, writer and broadcaster David Kermode (‘Mr Vinosaurus’) of ITV’s This Morning.
On the musical side, international film organist Roger Sayer will give a recital on the acclaimed organ in St Michael & All Angels Church ahead of his Hans Zimmer Live Tour performance at the O2.
Image above: Adrian Bradbury, phtograph Richard Hughes; David Juritz; Craig Ogden
Festival favourite David Juritz, violin, will give a Baroque concert with equally celebrated musicians Craig Ogden, guitar, and Adrian Bradbury, on the theme Towards the Goldberg Variations. And another Chiswick favourite, soprano Milly Forrest will give an early evening concert aimed at families, featuring musical highlights from The Marriage of Figaro with regular soloists from the Royal Opera House and English National Opera.
Image above: Green Days
Green Days weekend – 10 & 11 June
Nicki Chapman will open the Festival at 11am on Saturday 10 June on Acton Green, opposite Turnham Green tube station, and then judge the children’s fancy dress competition – this year on the theme of ‘Chiswick’.
Thousands of people flock to Green Days each year for its two-day mix of live music, funfair, food and drink, children’s corner, five-a-side football and array of stalls, from craft exhibitors and books to plants and bric-a-brac.
Among other highlights of this year’s festival, we’ll be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Bedford Park Open Gardens (1983-2023), the 50th anniversary of Artists at Home (1973-2023) and the Centenary of WB Yeats’ Nobel Prize for Literature (1923-2023).
Image above: Roger Sayer at the organ
Arts and community events
The Festival begins on Friday 9 June with a lunchtime organ recital by Roger Sayer. He was the organ soloist for Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated score for the motion picture Interstellar and went on to perform the work live with the composer at the Royal Albert Hall, attended by Christopher Nolan, Jessica Chastain, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Stephen Hawking.
On Friday evening, at 6.45pm in the church, it’s the preview party for the annual Bedford Park Summer Exhibition and Bedford Park Photographic Exhibition, which run throughout Green Days weekend in the church and parish hall.
Here’s how to enter your art work for the Summer Exhibition: www.bedfordparkfestival.org
And here’s how to enter your photographs for the Photography Competition & Exhibition: Bedford Park Festival Photography Competition – How to Enter & Rules 2023
Image above: Photograph of a winter walk through Chiswick House Gardens by Jennifer Griffiths, entered in ‘Chiswick Life’ category in 2022
On Sunday June 11th at 10.30am, St Michael & All Angels holds an open-air Mass On The Green, followed by all the regular Green Days activities. The preacher will be the Bishop of Ely, The Right Reverend Stephen Conway.
From the opening party to the Festival Mass and Bedford Park Open Gardens on Sunday 25 June there is a stimulating array of concerts, talks, walks and drama. There’s something for everyone, whatever their age or taste, in aid of charities and the church.
Profits will support St Michael & All Angels Church, which runs the festival for the community, and its three 2023 charities: The Upper Room, helping the needy in Shepherd’s Bush; Swinfen Telemedicine, which links specialist medical expertise to doctors and nurses in remote regions of the world; and Crosslight Chiswick, its newest charity, which provides face-to-face debt advice, together with money education and budgeting support to individuals and families in need.
See updates on social media. Read the full Festival programme and book tickets at www.bedfordparkfestival.org.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar