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Top of the Hill! Goldsmiths sponsors local arts and community festival

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Goldsmiths is proud to be the main sponsor of the Telegraph Hill Festival – south-east London’s biggest community festival.

Performer at one of the Festival's many events.
Performer at the Festival's La La Piano Bar

With over 125 events organised by local people, this year’s festival promises to be the biggest and best yet. From 5 – 23 March, local people are coming together to put on events including open studios, comedy and music.   

Goldsmiths sits at the foot of Telegraph Hill. We are not only sponsoring the Festival but also putting on a special event and contributing to a film project exploring local history.

Patrick Loughrey, Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “We are delighted to be one of the sponsors of the Telegraph Hill Festival. 

“Goldsmiths shares the Festival’s creative and imaginative ethos and commitment to building a strong sense of community”.

Events are organised by local volunteers and performers who donate their time and skills, and Goldsmiths is hosting a chaotic science cabaret event with all proceeds going to charity. 

Science Showoff at the Amersham Arms will feature 10 Goldsmiths scientists addressing subjects like sex robots, aliens, artificial intelligence and the interactive future of television.

We are also working with the Festival to help create a documentary looking at the history of the local area through interviews with older residents conducted by young people. Filming will take place during the Festival with the final cut screening at the new Curzon Goldsmiths cinema in early summer.

Telegraph Hill is home to Goldsmiths staff and students both past and present, many of whom are involved in the Festival. Read some of their stories below, including some colourful recollections of Goldsmiths and Festivals past. 

The Telegraph Hill Festival is supported by the Goldsmiths Annual Fund.

Local actress discovered her passion for drama at Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths alumni and Telegraph Hill Festival regular, Vivienne Soan, has fond memories of treading the boards of the George Wood Theatre.

In 1973, Vivienne moved to London from a village in Wales to study Drama and the Philosophy of Education at Goldsmiths, and has been a fixture in the cultural and community life of the area ever since. 

Vivienne’s passion for drama was sparked at Goldsmiths and led to years as an actor in touring theatre productions, roles in television such as ITV's recent thriller Midwinter of the Spirit and the Sky sitcom Stella, radio and even films, like Notting Hill and Sliding Doors.

“I loved drama” recalls Vivienne, who remembers acting in productions at Goldsmiths’ George Wood Theatre, including a 1976 starring role as Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. 

Never one to shy away from centre stage, she has played various parts for the Telegraph Hill Festival down the years, including comedy compare, saxophonist and even murder mystery actor.

Vivienne remembers our Department of Educational Studies as an innovative place to study, with inspiring tutors who promoted child centred education where children learn through their own interests. She was a teacher for many years, but finally left the profession in 1998 dissatisfied with the increasingly bureaucratic nature of primary education.

Since 2007, Vivienne and her husband Martin have run the popular local cabaret night, Pull The Other One, which is currently residing at The Ivy House in Nunhead. This year she is looking forward to enjoying the Telegraph Hill Festival as a member of the audience. 

Tech analyst gets jazzy at Telegraph Hill Festival

Entrepreneur and former Telegraph Hill Festival treasurer, Jules Hewett, honed his musical talents and passion for jazz at Goldsmiths short courses.

Ten years ago, local businessman Jules decided he wanted to give something back to the community. A successful tech analyst and entrepreneur, he used his talent for numbers to help double the income of the Festival between 2006 and 2013.

“I wanted to get involved in something in the local community.  As I have run small businesses and am good with numbers, it seemed to fit.”

Not content with running a successful business and acting as treasurer for the Festival, Jules also cultivated his passion for jazz at evening and weekend short courses run by Goldsmiths’ Department of Music. Studying jazz piano, Latin jazz, and improvisation, he fondly recalls having one of his original compositions performed by members of the Latin jazz class:

“It was called ‘Cantar y Bailar’ (Singing and Dancing) and I still have a recording of it!”

Jules is part of a thriving community of musicians who live in the area and is particularly looking forward to the classical evening at this year’s festival, where local classical musicians perform for free.

“If they don’t have professional engagements, they come together to perform and we get to enjoy a varied evening of professional-quality music for free.” 

Catch Jules performing at this year’s Festival with a live band at the Jazz Night on Sunday, 20th March.

Festival veteran recalls performance that took audience participation to a new level

Telegraph Hill Festival veteran and Goldsmiths alumni, Anna McCraith, recalls some bizarre and enchanting highlights of Festivals past.

Anna first heard about the Telegraph Hill Festival when a programme dropped through her letterbox back in 2006. With that began an affiliation that has lasted a decade and become an annual highlight for her and her young family.   

“It felt like a great way to meet people from all walks of life” recalls Anna of that first year, “we went to the community musical, comedy show, a historical walking tour of the area and a classical music night”.

Anna returned to live in the area in 2006 following a break in her studies to give birth to her son. Having originally moved to London from small-town Northamptonshire to study for a Primary Teaching PGCE at Goldsmiths, she remains grateful to the staff who did everything they could to help her manage her studies alongside becoming a mother. 

Of her time at Goldsmiths, Anna says “One of my best memories was how flexible the staff were willing to be around the fact I got pregnant after being offered a place!”

In 2007, Anna got involved in the organisation of the Festival, helping to promote it and gain sponsorship. Her long association includes being part of the community choir with her son who has been a member since the age of five.

Anna’s most memorable Festival experience was at an interactive life modelling performance, which climaxed with “five people in the audience stripping off and joining the performers on stage”.

This year, Anna is most looking forward to the Festival’s famous murder mystery night, which will have extra performances as it always sells out.