If, in some strange mythological challenge or a curious dream, you had to choose a place around here to be, I think it would be difficult to find a more interesting place to be than the Olivier Theatre.
Now, of course, it would be comforting feeling so well put together, with your sturdy beams, stylish dimensions and all that admirable Arts & Crafts heritage; of course it would be cheering to have the company of engaging colleagues like John Barker and all those lively drama teachers who inhabit your stylish eyrie-like upper reaches; but the real stuff – the stuff of dreams – is happening right at your centre and the last few days are typical of the glories that you have witnessed in your midst, in your splendid solar plexus of a stage.
On a weekend in mid January you find yourself colonized by a chirruping, energetic swarm of Dunhurst boys and girls working under the direction of sundry human-magicians (robe and sceptre-less but wielding plenty of magic) who start conjuring works of an exotic and a Japanese nature from them. Mid-week and the concoction is really becoming recognisable and, yes, here is Land of the Flying Dragon, involving all the Blocks pupils in as visually compelling and complex a show as the formidable Kingsley-Pallant has yet created. Three cracking performances! What home grown entertainment, you have!
Any big fat tears you might be about to shed when that dream is ended (when the show concludes on Saturday afternoon) is short-lived when, just as the rest of the working world is slowing for the weekend, it all starts up again: the moment the last admiring parent has gone, here are the men of the Bedales Estates’ staff – dismantling and pushing you around – out goes the stage in the round, retreat to the proscenium arch and, bash, knock, squeeze, you are in a different shape again and being crawled over – and it’s Saturday night.
Sunday morning you wake bleary-eyed – it has been some week and you are thinking that a bit of inactivity is in order – some, how do you say, chillaxing? No rest in prospect, however, as gesticulating people in black t-shirts with wires coming out of their ears clamber all over you – always twiddling away they are. And here are various, eager musicians – and lots and lots of guttural, twangy noise as they fiddle with their instruments and with the kit. They must really know what they are doing. You will be wondering what is going to happen, as the 2015 Rock Show girds its loins.
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.