London folk arts centre unveils Autumn 2014 educational programme

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has launched its autumn season of activities at Cecil Sharp House in London including classes, courses and workshops based on traditional English folk arts for children, young people, adults and families.

New activities include:

·       A folk choir, meeting fortnightly for people who want to learn to sing by ear

·       A one-day conference to train people to teach morris dancing to children and young people

·       The chance for young people to get involved in the London Folk Ensemble and play and perform together across the capital

·       The chance to explore the Grade II Listed Cecil Sharp House for free during Open House London in September

Other popular activities make a welcome return including:

·       Holiday folk music making courses for children and young people

·       Family barn dances

·       Free art exhibitions

Cecil Sharp House, England’s national folk arts centre and home of EFDSS, is located between Camden and Primrose Hill within easy reach of public transport. It has step free access to all levels.


Education Director, Rachel Elliott, said: “This season is packed with activities for all ages in a cross section of the folk arts. There are some new opportunities for people of all ages to get involved in folk arts and we look forward to welcoming old and new visitors this Autumn.”


A full list of classes and courses at Cecil Sharp House can be found at:

Monday Musicians
Mondays 8 September | 13 October | 10 November | 8 December, 7 – 10pm

Play folk dance tunes from the British Isles and associated traditions! All instruments and levels welcome. This is most suitable for musicians with some knowledge of written stave notation.

Tickets £5, £4 concessions
More info: | 020 7241 8953

Monday Folk Choir Workshops *NEW CLASS*

Mondays 6, 20 October | 3, 17 November | 1 December, 7 – 9pm

A new opportunity to explore choral folk song arrangements in a relaxed and friendly environment. These five fortnightly sessions are suitable for singers of all abilities, without the pressure and commitment of public performance. All material is taught by ear.

Tickets £50, £40 concessions
More info: | 020 7241 8953

Morris Dancing
Tuesdays 9 September to 16 December, 6.30 – 9pm

Beginners: 6.30 – 8pm | Improvers and advanced: 7 – 9pm

This mixed level class is based on the popular and lively Cotswold morris tradition, in which dancers perform with handkerchiefs and sticks. Please note: these classes are designed to overlap. This allows beginners to be taught on their own first, and then learn from more experienced dancers in a mixed session from 7 – 8pm.

Tickets £5, £4 concessions

More info: | 020 7241 8953

Cecil Sharp House Choir
Autumn term
Wednesdays 24 September to 17 December (no classes on 29 October), 7 – 9pm

Sing traditional songs from the British Isles and beyond, in a cappella harmony arrangements, by choir leader Sally Davies. For confident singers who can hold a tune and are keen to perform
£78, £62 concessions
To enrol, contact: | 020 7241 8953

English Country Dancing
Thursdays 4 September to 11 December, 7.30 – 10pm

Learn the steps for English country dances, ceilidhs, barn dances and American contra. Musicians welcome to join the live band. No previous experience needed and no need to bring a partner.  
£5, £4 concessions
More info: | 020 7241 8953

Saturday Folk Music Workshops
Saturdays 20 September | 11 October | 1, 8 , 22 November | 6 December July, times vary depending on workshop

Discover your inner folk! Fun, welcoming and expertly taught workshops at different levels in banjo, accordion, fiddle, song, melodeon and folk ensemble.

Fee £66, £54 concessions
To enrol, contact: | 020 7241 8953

Family Barn Dance
Sundays 12 October | 9 November | 7 December, 3 – 5pm

Bring the entire family and take part in lively dances from the British Isles in a supportive and fun environment. These high energy events give budding dancers a chance to take their first steps and spins. A wonderful and creative way to spend time together as a family. Live music inspires the dancing and expert callers guide the moves with simple instructions.

Dances are specially selected to suit children and adults of all ages, so everyone can take part. Groups should include a minimum of one adult for every four children. Children under 5 should be partnered by an adult and may need guiding or carrying through the dances.

No unaccompanied children or adults!

Tickets £7 adult, £5 children, Free, under 2s
Advanced booking recommended | 0844 888 9991
Tickets can be purchased from the reception desk at Cecil Sharp House (in person only), Monday – Friday, 9.30 – 5.30pm, with no booking fee

Children and Young People
Fun With Folk Dance
Two fun-filled  mornings of folk dance and song
Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 October, 10am – 12.30pm

Enjoy two lively mornings of folk dance and be introduced to traditional English folk songs. This course concludes with participants performing their new skills to family and friends! For children aged 6 – 9 years

.Fee: £15 | £12 concessions
To enrol, contact: | 020 7241 8953

Get Your Folk On! Juniors
An exciting two day introduction to folk music
Monday 27 October – Tuesday 28 October, 2 – 4.30pm

A great opportunity for 9 – 12 year olds to join our folk music programme! Musicians of all instruments and levels are welcome to come and enjoy playing, singing, dancing and creating fantastic folk music. No previous experience of folk music needed.
Fee: £15 | £12 concessions
To enrol, contact: | 020 7241 8953

Get Your Folk On!
A three day creative course of fabulous folk music-making
Monday 18 to Friday 22 August, 10.30 – 4.30pm (6pm on Friday)
For young people aged 12 – 18 years with varied levels of musical experience, from improvers to advanced players. Get Your Folk On! is open to both newcomers to folk as well as dedicated folk enthusiasts. Players of any instrument are welcome.
Fee: £30
To enrol, contact: | 020 7241 8953

London Folk Ensemble 2014/15

Welcoming 12 – 18 year old musicians who want to create and perform amazing folk music together! The Ensemble meets monthly from October to July, and performs at exciting events across London and beyond. Being a member is an annual commitment for which there is a fee.


Sampler Session

Sunday 7 September, 2 – 5pm

Come to our free sampler session if you would like to join the Ensemble for 2014/15 or if you are just curious to find out more about the London Youth Folk Ensemble experience! Attending this session is a pre-requisite for anyone who wishes to apply to join the Ensemble 2014/15.

Fee: Free, but pre-booking necessary as places are limited.

For more details visit: london-youth-folk-ensemble | 020 7241 8953


Folksong in England: Level 1
Wednesdays 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 October | 5 November, 7 – 9pm

Internationally published folklorist Steve Roud presents this popular introductory level series exploring the history of English folk song. Topics will include: the many possible definitions of ‘folk’, the songs themselves, the singers, the places and times for singing, the music, cheap printed broadsides and other sources from which people learned songs, the folksong collectors, the scholars and the beginnings of the post-War revival.

The course is aimed at beginners and will not presume any previous experience or knowledge..
: £66 | £54 concessions
To enrol, contact: | 020 7241 8953



More Morris, Better Morris – in schools and beyond

Sunday 2 November, 11am – 5pm

A dynamic day of presentations and practical sessions on the delivery of high-quality morris dance workshops. For morris dancers who teach, or are interested in teaching, morris to young people – in schools and out-of-school settings.

Tickets: £20, including refreshments and lunch

Book online via Eventbrite

In partnership with the Joint Morris Organisation | 020 7241 8953



Yan Tan Tethera exhibition

Until 25 September, available to view during building opening hours

Alongside David Littler’s exploration into the the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library archives, artists Freddie Robins, Shane Waltener, Stewart Easton and the McGrath Makers’ Group showcase new work inspired by the connection between textiles and folk song. Enjoy Freddie Robins’ new commissioned piece, The McGrath Makers ‘East End Embroidered Costume’ and films of Shane Waltener’s bobbin dance performance pieces.

Tickets: Free (no booking required)


Isabel Greenberg Dreadful Wind and Rain

6 November 2014 to 31 January 2015, available to view during building opening hours

Inspired by the jealous, lustful and murderous folk song narratives, Isabel presents her interpretation of the cruel and fantastical folk song Two Sisters. Created as a graphic novella published by Gosh Comics, the exhibition will tease out Isabel’s visual exploration of the narrative and feature the work produced for the novella. Expect to see dioramas, beautiful drawings, prints and original interpretations of this well-known song.

Isabel Greenberg is a London based comic artist, illustrator and writer. Isabel won the 2011 Observer/Jonathan Cape Graphic short prize and has previously published work with Jonathan Cape. Her work is heavily influenced by mythology, fairy tales and, at the moment, a lot of English folklore.

Tickets: Free (no booking required)



Open House, London

20 and 21 September 2014, 11am – 5pm
Tours take place between 1pm and 4pm on both days

As part of the Open House London, we will be flinging open the doors of Cecil Sharp House. Join us for hourly tours, where our expert staff will walk you through the architectural features of the House, the archival wonders of English folk held within the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, the Ivon Hitchen’s mural and the contemporary exhibition Yan Tan Tethera.

Please be aware that tours including the Ivon Hitchen’s mural will take place at 1pm only.

Tickets: Free (no booking required)

Opening hours 10 – 5pm.

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