St Michael’s Church has a long history of supporting artists and exhibiting local artworks from the Stockwell area. Back in the days before the Residents Association’s popular Summer Festival existed, St Michael’s held an annual arts and crafts exhibition open to all in the area, with pictures hung up on the railings outside the Church!
In October 2017, the St Michael’s Arts Festival was founded and launched by local artist and photographer Charlotte Harmer and her husband Justin, Director of Music at Stockwell Parish, to promote and exhibit local talent even further. They put on a lively and ambitious programme of seven events, with a very successful art show curated by Charlotte, and raised over £3,500 for the Friends of St Michael. Highlights included John Bromley-Davenport’s solo performance adaptation of Three Men in a Boat, a concert of ambitious choral works including Bach’s Magnificat, and a fascinating lecture on The Crusades by eminent historian Malcolm Billings.
Our 2018 Festival doubled the number of events and increased the number and scope of artists and artworks on display. Highlights included an evening with Simon Russell Beale and his “Desert Island” hits, a performance of the Brahms Requiem & Elgar’s Cello Concerto, an entire short opera performance of Salieri’s Prima La Musica, and photos of the Rolling Stones by Michael Joseph in the Art Show. Proceeds were reinvested into the 2019 Festival.
Our aim for future Festivals is to continue to provide more focus on and elements of children’s and young adults’ involvement in the Arts, as well as increase the amount of affordable access we are able to offer, both in terms of tickets and participation. As the Festival grows, we plan to increase the dramatic elements of our programme to balance out the numerous musical events.
The Festival is run annually by a small organising committee of volunteers, overseen by a body of trustees, chaired by Henrietta Royle, and under the baton of Musical Director Matthew O’Keeffe. We rely on volunteers to run each event and are always grateful for enthusiastic offers of help and support.
Musical Director: Matthew O’Keeffe
Matthew is a conductor, singer, composer & arranger based in Lambeth. Matthew grew up singing locally - in Corpus Christi Church, Brixton Hill, where he started a choir aged 14 and caught the conducting bug! Matthew was a choral scholar at Norwich Cathedral and sang in the professional a capella group The Penny Arcade Quartet, which signed to Mercury records. After graduating from KCL with a 1st class music degree in 2016, Matthew founded the charity Lunchbreak Opera, which attracts office workers in the city to watch a short opera at lunchtimes. On returning to Brixton in 2017, he founded the Brixton Chamber Orchestra, which is fast becoming one of London’s most exciting new ensembles. Aside from performing, Matthew has given several lectures on themes of music theory and history, particularly sacred music in the Roman Catholic Tradition. His compositions have been premiered in Westminster Cathedral and King’s College Chapel and his arrangements have featured on BBC television and in international competitions.
Chair of Trustees: Henrietta Royle
Henrietta is a long-standing resident of Stockwell and churchwarden of Stockwell Parish. In addition to the Arts Festival, she chairs the Friends of St Michael and deputises at the Stockwell Park Residents Association. Her main interests are art and theatre and she is married to a passionate classical music fan. She is the CEO of the BBA, an Ambassador of the 30% Club, a Director of Cotswold Assistance and a Trustee of the Share Foundation.
Organising Committee: Henrietta Royle, Christine Keiffer, Stephen Grist, Hester Warner, Katie Cadge, Miranda Snow
Trustees: Henrietta Royle, Justin Harmer, Stephen Grist, Rev. Erica Wooff
To contact us please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a registered charity (No. 1181784) and all our takings are distributed evenly between two objectives:
Investing in future Arts Festivals at St Michael’s; and
Donations to the Friends of St Michael to help repair and restore the Church.