Camberwell Arts Festival 2010

I’m nursing a strong coffee and a small hangover after last night’s Camberwell Arts Festival opening party, hosted by Moona in St Giles Crypt, and contemplating what the rest of the week has in store.  The theme of this year’s Festival is to put art in some unexpected places, and get people to explore different parts of the area.  So there’s film screenings on a rooftop, (Well)water-inspired installations in various eateries, trails to follow around and about Church Street, and — we hope — three new permanent artworks to — eventually — be unveiled.

The events I’m personally looking forward to this week are:

The Myatt’s Field Park Tea Dance, taking place today (Sunday 20th), courtesy of Home Live Art.

Also today,  Daniel Lehan’s ‘Your Art Here Too’ on the Green, which follows on from last year’s successful event that drew many passers-by to have a go at creating some art and exhibiting it on the railings.

The Green becomes Speaker’s Corner on Monday evening, and, this being Camberwell Green, who knows how that will pan out…

The mysterious promise of ‘An Introduction to the Art of the Funerary Violin’ on Tuesday will, I expect, maintain the feeling that we’re entering the unknown where anything could happen.

Summertime Sounds in Grove Chapel should bring a sense of calm and civility back to proceedings on Wednesday.

Just in time for the Camberwell Beauty (see what they’ve done there?!) Fashion Day, hosted by the SE5 Forum, on Thursday.

We’ll get back to Midsummer Madness on Thursday night, though, as Creative Routes do what they do best in their Muses Cafe in the Crypt.

And the unpredictability continues on Friday with some story-telling and much more from the Honourable Society of Faster Craftswomen.

All of which brings us to next weekend, featuring a pop-up travel agency on the Green and the now traditional mayhem of The Chutney Preserves Fair on Sunday.

Phew!  I’m going to be busy.  And besides all that I have to fit in a visit to the Camberwell School of Arts end of year show, get a gander at the expanded and refurbished South London Gallery opening on Saturday 26th, and have a quick nosy in the various artist studios open this weekend and next.

There’s lot’s to see and do folks — so get out there and have a look.  The Camberwell Arts Festival is run on a small grant from Southwark Council, put together by our impressively serene and cheery Director, Kelly O’Reilly, and relies on the goodwill and enthusiasm of lots of artists.  It’s no mean feat, and it’s something Camberwell should be proud of.  Make the most of it!

Full info about all events can be found here:

Weekend Festival Highlights

Greetings once again dear readers.  I bring you information about what’s hot and happening in the Camberwell Arts Festival this weekend.

On Friday you’ll be spoilt for choice.  Local artist Steven Appleby will be offering an insight into the extraordinary world of one of the country’s leading cartoonists.  Stephen is a regular contributor to The Guardian, and has published books such as ‘Steven Appleby’s Normal Life’ & ‘The Secret Thoughts of Cats’.  You can catch him at the Library at 7pm.  Meanwhile, at 8pm on the Green, the Scratch Choir of random passing souls will perform the songs they’ve been practising over the course of the week.  The songs all have a connection to Camberwell in one way or another, apparently.  And for the keen photographers out there — we know who you are — your challenge is to ‘Shoot Your Own Damn Festival’ — the results can be displayed at the Arts Bar.

Saturday and Sunday bring the famous Open Studios — all the artists who are squirreled away in Camberwell’s nooks and crannies all year round, throw open their doors and invite you in to take a peek at their work.  They might even offer you a glass of wine and a canape.  Hell, they might even sell you some of their work.  There are studios all over Camberwell, in collective buildings like Vanguard Court, or in the artists’ own homes.  Check out the names and addresses on the Camberwell Arts website (  And if you’re a little shy and prefer to travel in a pack, a tour of some of the open studios will be meeting at Vanguard Court at 3pm on Saturday.

Meanwhile on the Green on Saturday will be Camberwell’s first Arts and Crafts Market.  Organised by Camberwell Community Council this could become a regular event if well supported.  Whilst you’re there it’s the last chance to enjoy the Camberwell Piano — there’ll be an All-Comers concert at 12noon, and then a stripping down of the thing to find new ways to play it at 2pm.  At the same time, in Butterfly Walk, deaf performance artist Aaron Williamson will be busking, but with a twist — he’ll give money to anyone who stops and listens (only 5p mind)!  Saturday night brings Wet Sounds at the Swimming Pool — an evening of underwater entertainment which invites you to float or dive through water to hear a collection of especially made sound art.

Come Sunday it’s wind-down time, and there’ll be an artist’s encampment on Camberwell Green.  More than 40 artists will be coming and going, creating art works, giving performances and leading interactive activities.  In the tradition of the historic Camberwell fair, the event will end with a puppet fight — Puppet Wars.  And then we can all go home.

More details and information about times and locations can be found at

Make Your Own Damn Festival!

Peter has very kindly agreed to a guest post to let you all know about what’s happening in the Camberwell Arts Festival over the next few days. 

The Big Event in Myatts Field on Saturday was a wonderful opening to the Festival ( HUGE thanks to Laura and the team at Home Live Arts) with a real celebratory feel.  The piano on  Camberwell Green is also proving to be a hit — around 20 people were gathered there for the Scratch Choir practice yesterday evening.  Fitting the Festival’s theme of ‘Make Your Own Damn Festival’, the Scratch Choir is made up of any random soul who turns up, and will be giving a final performance on the Green on Friday evening.  In the meantime, the piano is there for all other random souls to play and sing as the mood takes them.  On Thursday evening there will be an ‘All-Comers Concert’ so get down there if you can play, or even if you can’t.

If you fancy being musically creative in other ways, on Wednesday evening the Complaints Chorus will be setting people’s Camberwell moans and groans to music in the Arts Bar.  Drop in to air your grievnaces, and hang around to see comedian James Sherwood’s take on the area later in the evening. 

If music ain’t your bag, then no fear becuase there’s other ways to get creative instead.  This evening people can drop into the Arts Bar to make posters to hang in windows (you can do this at other venues around Camberwell throughout the Festival too, such as Hosue cafe).  On Wednesday there will be a life drawing class with a difference at the Castle — burlesque artistes and others will be your models as they perform.   And, if you’re still not satisfied with these creative opportunites then get down the Sun and Doves on Thursday evening for a spot of knitting as the Stitch and Bitch crew challenge you to ‘Knit Your Own Damn Festival’!

For those of you not seeking creative outlets, then you might want to try some of the more traditional events — the kind where you can just sit back and appreciate other people’s artistic talents.  Every evening from Tuesday to Friday there will be tours of the Camberwell School of Art Summer Show given by artists and others who will pick out their favourites from what is always an exciting show.  Be in the Art School foyer at 6.30pm to join a tour. 

For something really civilised, then head down to the Grove Chapel on Thursday evening for a concert of ‘light classics’.  Alternatively, head over to the Marlborough for a bit of madness at Creative Routes’ Muses Cafe.

Hopefully, that will be enough to keep you busy over the next few days.  We’ll post again soon to let you know what’s coming up over the weekend.  We’d love to hear comments from anyone who has attended any of the events in the meantime.

All events in the Festival are free.  Full info and details about venues can be found on our website here: (apologies for poor links — just scroll down the page to see everything).

Melanie (Camberwell Arts)