Engagement beyond the here and now

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Wednesday evening and it’s our first Jaw of the year; Jaw is an assembly where the expectation is that students are engaged in something beyond the here and now – in the moral or spiritual.  Cecilia Knapp is an inspired way to start: poet, playwright, mental health campaigner, she begins her talk with a poem and then pitches her talk to the audience with the immediacy, candour and clarity that means it hits home. Her talk is about the power of creativity – in her case writing – to help, especially when you are faced with such horrors as the death of a brother as she was.

Wellbeing and creativity are at this community’s heart and seeing those two values embodied was powerful.

Cecilia’s first play, Finding Home, her one woman show, was then performed in our theatre – a further inspiration to students who are starting to explore what words and theatre can do.

Talking to students and colleagues on the day following Cecilia’s performances, it is evident how great her impact has been: as well as feeling that our emotions have been galvanised, she has provided a common vocabulary to discuss matters which are at the heart of our communal lives.