St Dunstan’s College prepares to celebrate annual two-week Festival with the community

St Dunstan’s College, Catford, is preparing to mark its annual two-week Festival at the end of the month, which this year includes 11 days of concerts, exhibitions, performances and other festivities.

Speaking about the upcoming programme, Festival Director, Richard Gregg, explained: “The St Dunstan’s Festival is an explosion of activity that encapsulates our DNA as a college.

“One of the key goals is to share who we are and what we have, and in doing so to celebrate and value the wider community that we are part of.

St Dunstan’s Festival 2022

“Each year we strive to broaden our reach, engaging with local states schools, community groups but in order to do so requires increased financial investment into the Festival itself.

“Our vision for the future is to see the Festival as central to the cultural life of the local area, offering opportunities for local people to be involved in curating and delivering events, and offering our students the chance to serve and give back to the local area.”

St Dunstan’s Festival originated in the 1990s under the stewardship of Dr Anthony Seldon, who was Deputy Head of the College at that time.

It was originally named ‘The Catford Arts Festival’ and ran over two and a half days at the very start of July.

Preparation for St Dunstan’s Festival 2023

The Festival was quickly dubbed ‘The Edinburgh Festival of South London’, and comprised over twenty main events and ‘a rich and enterprising fringe’.

The 1994 College Chronicle describes the Festival as ‘catering for the souls’ and it contained an array of eclectic events including the St Dunstan’s jazz group, lectures given by writers Brian Masters and Gwendoline Butler, and a Shakespeare play with a twist, entitled ‘A Pocket of Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

The Festival was short-lived, only lasting a few years.

St Dunstan’s College

The current Head, Nick Hewlett, reignited the Festival on his arrival at the College, with its relaunch occurring in the summer of 2015.

The now two-week event is a firmly established highlight at the end of the academic year, enabling pupils to engage with a huge variety of activities and performances, involving not only the College, but also our broader Lewisham community.

Speaking about the Festival, Mr Hewlett explained: “At St Dunstan’s we are absolute proponents of creativity in all its forms. Our community Festival is a triumphant and overtly creative end to our academic year but it runs deeper than this.

St Dunstan’s Festival highlights

“We are a school where so many elements of the curricular and co-curricular offering are underpinned by creative thinking. Pupils are encouraged in all areas of College life to take initiatives and run with them.

“Creativity in thinking is essential in schools and it must be supported. After all, Albert Einstein once admitted that ‘I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking’!”


St Dunstan’s Festival runs from 25 June – 5 July 2023.

Tickets and more information can be found at

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