As we edge ever closer to the fifth month of the year and to proper, glorious spring, we’re also soon to see the latest edition of the Notting Hill Mayfest! This month-long cultural festival will once again host a number of exciting events, from music and opera to talks, art, cinema and kid’s activities, which will take place at a number of different venues in Notting Hill.
Celebrating the history and cultural life of the area, the main base of the festival will be the beautiful St John’s Church on Lansdowne Crescent. For this reason, Mayfest will pay tribute to the Church by celebrating its life and work and that of the communities that make use of the building. This includes the opening event on the 1st May which will see a performance by the Church’s choral scholars and musicians-in-residence, as well as an event on the 10th May given by the Filipino community of St John’s. An art exhibition of work by upcoming young artists will be helf in the Church’s Sacred Space Gallery, and there’s also the ever-popular village-style May Fair that takes place on 17th May.
The 2014 Mayfest will see partnerships will the Pop Up Opera – performing Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle (shown below) on 3rd May – and Pop Up Screens who will show the charming Notting Hill with a specially filmed video introduction from its writer, Richard Curtis.
Kids can join in the fun with the Mayfest’s two children’s days, run in association with the groundbreaking Multi-Story Orchestra. This will be a amazing opportunity for local children to learn more about and actually perform with a full orchestra and the newly restored organ at St John’s.
Musical elements of the 2014 Mayfest will see the festival once again champion young and upcoming talent. A selection of wind soloists from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama will perform on 8th May, whilst dynamic young vocal ensemble Schole will be performing Monteverdi madrigals and Britten part-songs on 7th May. On 22nd May, the St John’s musicians in residence, The Outcry Ensemble, will present a concert of established chamber music as well as a new commission from young composer and Multi-Story artistic director Kate Whitley.
An organ recital on 9th May by Thomas Trotter will launch the St John’s Organ Recital Series 2014; the performance will be preceded by a community film from the Video College – an organisation which offers free production-based video training to local residents – which shows the restoration of the St John’s historic organ.
The 2014 Mayfest Lecture on 12th May will see well-known author, broadcaster, columnist, lecturer and campaigner for prison reform Jonathan Aitken discuss his journey in a talk entitled From Power To Prison To Peace.
As well as the events at Notting Hill’s churches – St Peter’s Church, St John’s Church and St George’s Church – for the first time this year, Mayfest has also teamed up with the wonderful Gate Cinema on Notting Hill Gate, which will be screening Grounded during the month of May.
The festival is generously supported by both Strutt & Parker and the Heritage Lottery Fund. All proceeds from the festival are donated to charities and charitable causes.
The Mayfest’s full line-up can be found on the official website nottinghillmayfest.org.uk, where you can also purchase tickets for all the events.
Notting Hill Mayfest
1st May – 31st May 2014