Standing up for the Arts

“In the midst of recession, the UK’s creative industries have been quietly outperforming the rest of British industry, growing by 15.6% since 2008 against a baseline increase of 5.4% for the UK economy as a whole. The creative sector is now worth £71.4 bn and accounts for 5.6% of all employment in the country. In short, Britain’s artistic side has been booming.”  (The Guardian Editorial 19 Jan).

I fear that this realisation has not got through to Michael Gove, whose sense of what is important curricularly seems to be denoted by what was important in late 1970s Aberdeen: subjects characterised as being “soft” by his reforms have been marginalised. Meanwhile, here at Bedales, we continue to stand up for the Arts, both through current students and past ones. Take the adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at the RSC’s rebuilt theatre at Stratford, two must-see productions that no one can get tickets for. Two OBs feature – Lydia Leonard (Anne Boleyn) and recent leaver Pierro Niel-Mee (Christophe/Francis Weston). Behind the notable stage and screen headline figures are scores of OBs working across the creative industries – in music (in performance, production and distribution), fashion and product design, theatre (direction, costume and stage design), arts’ administration, all branches of film and no doubt gaming.

Closer to home, you can (literally) stand up for the Arts on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7.30 pm through watching the first of the A2 Theatre Studies shows – it is outside behind the theatre and, without giving anything away, makes very good use of the earthy setting; brace yourself – and wrap up warm!

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales School

Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.