Events Features

Local arts festival starts on Saturday

Proms at St Jude’s has a packed programme of community music and literature
By Cheryl Kuczynski

A concert at Proms at St Jude's - Credit: M. Eleftheriades
A concert at Proms at St Jude’s – Credit: M. Eleftheriades

The popular north London community music and literature festival, Proms at St Jude’s is back this week and everyone is welcome! Proms has delighted audiences for the past 30 years and this year’s programme is among its best ever. 

Classical music, opera, jazz and a celebration of music from the 60s and 70s is all on offer at St Jude’s Church on Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb. The beautiful Grade 1 listed church is renowned for its excellent acoustics and performers include Orchestra Nova, conducted by George Vass; the Darius Brubeck quartet; Echo Ensemble, conducted by Noah Max; Fantasia Orchestra, conducted by Tom Fetherstonhaugh; the Nevill Holt Opera, conducted by Nicholas Chalmers; Historical Fiction, the Gould Trio, Joanna Eden celebrating the music of Joni Mitchell, Carol King and Bonnie Rait and Peter Edwards performing the music of the black composers of the 20th century.

The Last Night of the Proms at St Jude’s celebrates the Queen’s Jubilee with music by Armonico Consort and Baroque Players, conducted by Christopher Monks and narrated by broadcaster Jennie Bond.

We’ve got something for all the family in the form of Teeny Prom for little ones up to 5 years old and the Royal Albert Hall’s resident ensemble, Albert’s Band, promises great musical fun for children aged 5 and over. We also have a strong late night comedy line up with MC Matt Green introducing stars of the comedy circuit Charmian Hughes and Paul Kerensa.

Our popular free lunchtime concerts showcase the best young, up and coming musicians and, weather permitting, visitors can enjoy a picnic on the lovely lawns of Central Square. 

Fancy a bit of a walk? Our 12 guided walks give people the opportunity to explore the lesser-known parts of Hampstead, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Covent Garden, London’s East End and the rapidly evolving Brent Cross Town.

For book lovers, LitFest takes place on the weekend of 25/26 June and features authors Jon Sopel, Howard Jacobson, Steve Richards, Jeremy Farrar, Charlotte Mendelson, Francis Spufford and Claudia Roden. These great authors discuss their work in the inspiring surroundings of the Henrietta Barnett School, an imposing Lutyens designed Grade ll* Listed Building in Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb. In an online-only event, author Colm Tóibín, recently awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature, will be in discussion with academic and biographer, Hermione Lee.

Having fed the soul with culture, we can be relied on to feed the body too! The refreshment marquee and LitFest café will serve delicious fresh sandwiches, snacks, homemade cakes, tea, coffee, wine, beer and soft drinks and Happy Face Pizza will be on site over the weekend of 2 and 3 July. 

Susie Gregson, founder and Chief Executive of Proms at St Jude’s said, “We are so excited to welcome visitors back to nine glorious days – and evenings – of world-class, professional live music, top-rated authors, comedy and heritage walks, organised entirely by our wonderful volunteers and all in aid of two charities which are close to our hearts. Last year, in the grip of Covid, we raised £60,000. This year, we want to smash that and raise much, much more!”  

All profits go to two charities – Toynbee Hall which supports disadvantaged young people in London’s East End and the North London Hospice, which provides palliative care and end of life support to people across the London boroughs of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey. We also support rising young talent and have an active education programme, promoting live classical music to children and young people.

The fun takes place in or around St Jude’s Church, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London NW11 7AH and the full programme, details about performers and authors as well as booking information are available at www.promsatstjudes.org.uk


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