Bedales competes at Alresford Show

 

By Gala Pearson, Block 5

For part of our Outdoor Work BAC, a group of four of us – Etty Bratley, Lila Levingston, Sasha Arney and me – are doing sheep husbandry. As part of this, we have been looking at a year in the life of a sheep, which includes worming, feeding, breeding and shearing them.

One of the highlights so far has been preparing for the Alresford Show, which was held on the first Saturday in September. In preparation for the show, we spent a lot of time halter training the sheep. We also had to bathe, trim, dag and brush them to get them ready for the ring.

On 7 September, we woke up early to load the sheep into the trailer and set off for Alresford. When we arrived, we herded them into their pens and did the final touch-ups, brushing off any excess dirt.

First up was Etty, who was entered in the ewe lamb class. Competitors were asked to line up and judges went round to each sheep to judge configuration, teeth and wool. After that, the judge wanted to see whether the sheep was tamed on a leash by walking it around the ring.

Following this, we also did a few more classes – shearling ewe, older ewe and a pair of shearling ewes. These didn’t go as well as they could have as the Southdown sheep were very stubborn. However, the pair of ewes (the Herdwicks) went very well, and Sasha and Gala came in fourth place. After all these classes, Etty entered the young handlers, which went really well – she came second!

By this point, we had been there for nearly ten hours, so decided to finish the day with the grand parade. This involved most cattle, cows, goats and sheep. We all got into one big line and walked around the main ring a couple of times, showing off to the public. This was everyone’s favourite part of the day because we led the parade. Even with all the ups and downs over the last year, the Alresford Show was a fantastic experience.

Block 5’s induction into National Youth Theatre

Freya-H-M-National-Youth-Theatre

By Freya Hannan-Mills, Block 5

Following an audition earlier this year, I was excited to be accepted onto the National Youth Theatre’s two-week summer course.

The course, which leads to National Youth Theatre membership, sees all new members aged between 14 and 17 spend two weeks taking part in the course at Goldsmiths, University of London, where we also stayed in flats at one of the university’s halls of residence.

The two weeks are spent devising, creating and performing new works. This year, the overarching theme was changing climates and we explored geographic, social and political responses to the theme. The final piece was then shared at Goldsmiths’ theatre to an invited audience, which included our parents.

For me, the entire experience was inspirational; a fantastic opportunity to work with professional directors and choreographers who explored the topic of climate change in new and challenging ways. We worked for eight hours a day – sometimes longer – and that intensity and focus created an ensemble which also forged amazing friendships.

I would definitely recommend auditioning for the National Youth Theatre to anyone who has an interest in the performing arts. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really explore and develop techniques and new ways of working. You remain a member of the National Youth Theatre until you are 25, and every year following your initial course, there are opportunities to audition for the rep shows, attend masterclasses and receive tickets for new plays. Find details about auditions for next year’s course on the National Youth Theatre website.