Silent Film Accompanied by Live Organ Music

Darius Battiwalla improvises an accompaniment to Buster Keaton's The General

Saturday 7 October 2023, 7.00pm. St. Dunstan's Church, High Street, Mayfield £10 (free for students in full time education) Book now

Following his performance at the 2022 Mayfield Festival Darius Battiwalla makes a welcome return to Mayfield to play the Walker Organ as an accompaniment to the screening of Buster Keaton‘s silent film The General.

The film is is one of the most revered comedies of the silent era and is based on a true tale from the American Civil War. It features Keaton as the hapless Southern railroad engineer, Johnny Gray, who is facing off against Union soldiers. When Johnny’s fiancee is accidentally taken hostage on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues them using different modes of transport in comic scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless wit and dexterity.

Darius Battiwalla was born in London and started playing the piano at an early age, before taking up the cello and then the organ. He was educated at Leeds University and The Royal Northern College of Music, where he won prizes for both organ and piano accompaniment, and where he now teaches organ, continuo and improvisation. Darius has recently been appointed Leeds City Organist, performing regularly in highly successful recital series. He has given organ recitals at cathedrals and concert halls throughout the country, and broadcasts on Radio 3. He has given recitals for the Royal College of Organists’ and Incorporated Association of Organists’ annual congress, appeared as a soloist and orchestral organist and pianist for the BBC Philharmonic and Halle orchestras. Over the past ten years Darius has improvised scores to more than fifty silent films on both organ and piano throughout the country, as well as a regular series for the National Media Museum. His improvised score for Phantom of the Opera at the RNCM in 2017 was described by as a ‘magnificent example of musical creativity… a real multimedia achievement’.

Tickets: £10 (but free for students in full time education)

In addition to using the ‘Book Now’ button on this page to purchase tickets online they can also be bought in person at Sew Inspired, High Street, Mayfield. Tickets will also be sold on the door before the performance (cash only) from 6.30pm, subject to availability.


Drinks can be purchased from the bar both before the performance and during the interval.

This event is promoted by the St. Dunstan’s Organ Trust and supported by the Mayfield Festival.