Ayesha Hazarika to close Sydenham Arts Festival

Photo Steve Ullathorne:  Starting her career as a stand-up comedian, Ayesha Hazarika then took what she thought was a natural diversion into the Labour Party as a Special Adviser working for Ed Miliband (remember that infamous bacon sandwich!).  Since leaving front line politics she’s become a much sought-after commentator with regular appearances on The Andrew Marr Show (BBC1), Newsnight (BBC2), The Agenda (ITV), The Today Programme (BBC Radio 4) and Matt Forde’s Unspun (Dave).  Closing the festival, Ayesha lifts the lid on what life’s really like behind the scenes at Westminster with brutal honesty and humour and asks what’s next for British politics. Don’t miss her!

Spend a night with the Ivor Novello Award-nominated singer-songwriter, Boo Hewerdine at St Barts.  As a recording artist, Boo’s first tentative steps came with the band, The Great Divide before the formation of his much-loved eighties group The Bible. He’s now in constant demand as a musician, songwriter, producer, teacher and live concert performer.  Brit Award winning, former Fairground Attraction singer (and Scottish national treasure) Eddi Reader (MBE) is perhaps the artist Boo Hewerdine is most regularly associated with.

We open the festival with a performance and Q&A by international writer and poet, Deanna Rodger.  Deanna is a performer, facilitator and co-curates two leading spoken word events: Chill Pill and Come Rhyme With Me.  She teaches the Writing Poetry for Performance module with Benjamin Zephaniah at Brunel University and is a tutor at School of Communication Arts.

And finally, our comedy billing sees semi-finalist comedian of the year Bryony Twydle’s new show Twaddle, fresh from Brighton Fringe.  Bryony Twydle (New Comedian of the Year 2016 semi-finalist, Funny Women 2015 semi-finalist, BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sketchorama’, one fifth of award-winning sketch group The Jest) brings her debut solo show to Sydenham Arts. Watch as she pushes her warped, arrogant, self-obsessed characters to their breaking points – and pushes the audience’s boundaries too.

Now in our 9th Year, Sydenham Arts, Summer & Sydenham 2017 Festival sees the return of Foxtots Bops, and we are proud to introduce Step Lively Barn Dance & Ceilidh in Mayow Park – London’s largest ever barn dance. Our dance theme continues with Salsa with Yamile, performances by singer, Harriet Eaves, and our summer film, the iconic West Side Story, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.  We’ll be introducing some homegrown talent and winners of the Underbelly Award 2016, Four Femmes on the Thames.  Sydenham homegrown talent, Four Femmes on the Thames were winners of the Musical Comedy Award 2016.  They offer a wry and cheeky take on the struggles of dating, feminism, love and London-living through comedy and song.  With slick performances from all four vocalists and their band the Hommes, this promises to be one of the favourites in the festival diary.