AN annual arts festival is looking for volunteers to help stage the event.Now in its sixth year, the annual two-week Sydenham Arts Festival promises to be bigger and better than before and boasts something for all the family.
More than 80 arts and culture events, many of them free, will be held in venues across Sydenham and Forest Hill between July 5 and July 20.
The fortnight will include dance, music, poetry, film, comedy, a family fun day and numerous workshops and will culminate in a free Arts in the Park music concert featuring Woolwich-based singer songwriter Glenn Tilbrook and his band the Fluffers.
Among the festival's other highlights is a free community musical in four parts marking the centenary of World War 1.
Till The Boys Come Home will feature more than 200 performers from community groups, schools, and other local arts organisations who will tell the stories of Sydenham's Great War including the 408 workers of the South Suburban Gas Company, 58 of whom fought and died during the conflict.
Amongst the cast will be Lewisham mayor Sir Steve Bullock who will play Alderman Robert Jackson, the borough's mayor in 1914 and who was trapped in Germany at the outbreak of the war.
Each part will take place at different venues in Sydenham and can be seen on their own or as part of the four performances.
As well as the gas workers the pieces will feature a music hall concert from 1914, the drive for recruits and the impact on the wives and girlfriends left behind and those who worked in the munitions factories.
Sir Steve said: “The anniversary of the First World War is a very significant one which the borough will be marking in different ways and the community theatre production is a great way to do this and also one which will involve a wide range of local residents, groups and schools.
"I think the historical background [of Till the Boys Come Home] is going to give us some real insights into the impact that the First World War on the lives of people in this part of London."
Festival director Jonathan Kaufman said: 'It's really exciting that this year's festival will be the biggest and best yet, but as our costs have escalated we're making an urgent appeal to the community to support us by becoming Friends of Sydenham Arts Festival.
"By donating to our funds, Friends can claim free tickets to some of our most prestigious events, and be listed on our website as Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum givers.
"We're especially keen to hear from business owners who would to like to sponsor some of our big events - and we can offer great placement on our website."
Visit www.sydenhamartsfestival.co.uk for full listings, how to volunteer and to become a Friend of the event.