Packed term of engaging Drama workshops

By Eve Allin, Drama Tutor

This half term the Drama department have hosted at least one drama workshop every week for all students at Bedales. Even though these workshops have all taken place online, it has been a brilliant way for students to connect to professional artists working in theatre.

We had a special workshop from Emergency Chorus, an emerging experimental theatre company, with Bohunt Drama students to kick off the term: 

The workshop with Emergency Chorus, makers of Landscape (1989), was interesting and the creators were insightful and kind. They gave us a presentation about their process and artistic intentions for the play whilst remaining inclusive and allowing us to ask some questions or ask us what we remembered about their show. I said that I liked the musical choices throughout and the atmospheric effects they all had that enhanced my pleasurable viewing experience.” — Gus McQuillan 

“I was inspired by the way their play was so contextually and historically driven. Specifically, how they focused on Capitalism in such a powerful way whilst still balancing this quite informative aspect with strong visual and aesthetical moments.” — Arthur Richardson 

Old Bedalian Amy Blakelock gave us a fascinating workshop centered around her Offie nominated play ‘Easy’: 

“From learning about story-archs and other writing techniques to playing a guessing game of which extract appeared in her final one-woman show, Amy’s playwriting workshop was hugely thought out, informative and really fun.” — Nay Murphy 

And OBs Hebe Bartlett and Roly Botha gave us a masterclass on auditioning and getting an agent: 

“I was lucky enough to participate in a brilliant workshop led by Hebe and Roly. They talked about the acting industry, how they both individually got into it and gave us tips on auditions and agents! It was very helpful and I will carry the information they gave me with me in the future.” — Jessica Asamoa 

Actor and workshop leader Benjamin Press joined us for a workshop centered on the Meisner method – a well renowned and unique technique to approach acting, Ben was brilliant at working with students over Teams: 

“Even though we were online, the Meisner workshop was ace. Keeping the energy sharp had a whole new challenge when not being face-to-face, which I found really useful, and it was brilliant to have an expert like Ben come in to help us along the way, especially since we’ve been studying naturalism this term. I had a lot of fun.” — Jamie Thorogood 

We had a brilliant visit from three Central School of Speech and Drama students, who are running workshops around how to create open spaces for women and girls: 

“The CSSD Research workshop was such an amazing experience for me. It made me reflect on my female friendships and solidify my relationships with my girlfriends, not to mention that it was so much fun and such a compassionate, lovely environment. Sophia, Safura and Naomi were so kind and made the workshop so friendly; it was one of the best workshops I have done.” — Elena Belisario 

“As a Drama A Level student I have learnt so much from the CSSD Research workshop. I have learnt how to create a creative space when devising in a group and how to produce a meaningful and powerful piece of theatre. Sophia, Safura and Naomi were very approachable and enthusiastic when answering questions, especially when I asked how I could transfer the activities we did, into my drama lesson. Overall, I believe that this was a very important workshop as I learnt so much from the way I work and made me feel very connected to my inner feminist.” — Aryana Taheri-Murphy 

For our final workshop on Wednesday this week Anita Pollinger-Jones gave students an insight into subtext in performance in her bespoke acting workshop using Hamlet and Pygmalion. We are delighted that so many students took part in our workshops this term, and we will be continuing these sessions every Wednesday in the Summer Term. 

Professionally mentored Design project

By Huxley Green, 6.1

6.1 Product Design students have been continuing with the first full project of their A Level studies: designing a learning space to be placed somewhere on the school grounds. This project was to be inspired by a notable designer and feature the use of two particular materials; each student was allocated a different designer and combination of materials. We were then asked to come up with conceptual ideas to be expanded upon at a later date. These would be represented by research and design work in our sketchbooks, a scale model and a CAD model using SolidWorks. Final presentation boards were presented to Old Bedalian Patrick Lewis, a practising architect based in London who is running the project alongside Bedales Head of Product Design Alex McNaughton.

Unfortunately, as we re-entered lockdown in January, most students have been unable to continue their model-making at home, so this has been delayed until later in the year. However, it was possible for us to continue our projects using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop along with SolidWorks from home on their own computers. In-house video tutorials aided us in progressing independently alongside our online classes and one-to-one instruction.

These sessions allowed us to create a wide range of impressive presentation boards, which were presented to Patrick. We each had a window of time to talk Patrick and Alex through our final design at the online group critique presentation session on 28 January, before we received feedback from Patrick about how we could continue and improve our projects.

My project was to combine the beautiful campus and the high-quality Music and Drama of Bedales into a missing element; an outdoor stage inspired by Charles and Ray Eames (my allocated designers), using concrete and plywood (my allocated materials). Other projects included quiet reading areas, sensory learning spaces for Dunannie, social areas and a library/café.

Patrick seemed to be impressed by a scope of designs produced by 6.1 students and we hope to be able to present our evolved and developed ideas, a scale model, and revised and improved presentation boards to Patrick in person later in the year.

Old Bedalian news – February 2021

Barty Phillips (nee Brereton, OB 1946-1950), former Design Correspondent for The Observer who has written around 30 books on gardening and the home, has launched a blog to keep her focused in lockdown.

Barty’s Garden explores Barty’s passion for gardening through regular posts that focus on everything from winter flowers and Evergreen trees to observations from her garden in the snow, each illustrated with beautiful photographs.

Read Barty’s blog here.

Judith Herrin has kindly gifted a copy of her new book, Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe to Bedales’ Memorial Library, following the book’s publication in August 2020.

A TLS, Spectator and Telegraph Book of the Year, the University of Oxford’s Peter Frankopan describes Ravenna as “an outstanding book that shines a bright light on one of the most important, interesting and under-studied cities in European history. A masterpiece.”

Find out more about Ravenna here.

Simon Anholt‘s new book, The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation, was published in September and has now been chosen by #UNGenevaReads – the book club of the United Nations in Geneva – as their Winter Read. Find out more about the book here.

#UNGenevaReads is hosting an online conversation with Simon Anholt to discuss the book and tackle tough questions like ‘Why doesn’t the world work like it should? How can the world work together?’ on 26 February. Find out more about the event here.

Barnaby Phillips’ new book, Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes, is set for publication on 18 March. Loot tells the story of a tragic and relevant chapter in British and African history, the defeat of an ancient kingdom and the story of some of Africa’s greatest works of art.

Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of V&A East and former Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, said: “This timely, thoughtful and beautifully crafted volume deftly guides us through a truly astounding passage of events. These are the kind of histories that change the way that we look at things we thought we knew – whilst shocking us at the things that we simply hadn’t grasped.”

Find out more about Loot here.

Delilah Montagu is celebrating the release of her new EP, This Is Not A Love Song, her first EP since 2019’s Gold.

The EP includes recent singles ‘Us’, ‘Loud’ and ‘Version of Me’, as well as three previously unheard tracks. Listen to the EP on Spotify here.

Jacy Wall (nee Davies, OB 1960-1968), tapestry weaver and printmaker, is represented in an extensive new craft show at Soshiro Gallery in Welbeck Street, London, along with nearly 100 other international makers.

Crafting a Difference runs from 21 January until 2 April 2021, although currently online due to COVID restrictions. A selection of work will also be streamed in the Crafts Council’s annual show, Collect, which also takes place online in February. For more information and to view the show, click here.

Old Bedalian Mila Fernandez inspires students in virtual Dance workshop

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By Charlotte Land, 6.1

On 4 June, A Level Dance students were fortunate enough to take part in an online workshop run by Old Bedalian Mila Fernandez. Mila studies dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, The workshop focused on imagery and improvisation, merging the two concepts together to form a piece of dance.

We began the workshop by imagining a beach and its waves and, while working on our breathing, started moving around the space before adding arm gestures. We then proceeded to change the dynamics by making the movement more complex, using differing levels and the whole body. The second part of the workshop also included the use of imagery, but this time it was a piece of clothing. We began by moving only our backs, playing around with how expressive you can be using only your torso. We envisioned our garments and started to create movement for their different parts: colour, texture, how it felt to wear it, etc. It was an interesting approach we haven’t tried before, and it pushed us out of our comfort zones. One 6.1 student felt they had learned how to let loose and allow their body to flow without having to think about what was coming next.

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Bedales marks Remembrance Day

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By Clare Jarmy, Head of Able, Gifted & Talented, Oxbridge and Academic Scholars & Philosophy, Religious Studies & Ethics

On Remembrance Day, students and staff gathered outside the Memorial Library – which was built in 1921 in tribute to the students who were killed in World War I – to reflect. In Remembrance Jaw, a few  days before, we heard about three Old Bedalians – Lance Newman, Ferenc Bekassy and Sadie Bonnell – who had in one way or another been overlooked. I am immensely grateful to the Librarians Ian Douglas and Matilda McMorrow, who undertook hours of research, both within our own Archive and in national archives.

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‘Beyond Bedales’ Media Careers Event

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By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor and Alex Beckmann, Alumni Relations Manager

We are very lucky to have four Old Bedalians with successful media careers coming to Bedales to talk to students about how they got into the industry, what their current job entails and share experiences and advice with interested students.

The event will focus on TV careers (producing, editing, pitching ideas, presenting, setting up your own business) and possibly cover scriptwriting and writing. Visitors include Kirstie Allsopp (pictured above), Peter Grimsdale, William Miller and Claire Whalley and students will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the OBs. 

We are excited to launch this as the first ‘Beyond Bedales’ careers event and hope to be able to offer more in the future, focused on different industries throughout the year.

The event is predominantly aimed at students in Block 5, 6.1 and 6.2 if they are interested in this as a future career field, but all students are welcome to attend if they would like to learn about what it’s like to work in the media.

Biology department marks Parents’ Day

By Mary Shotter, Biology technician

Following on from this year’s Eckersley Lecture on the History of the Periodic Table by Dr Peter Wothers, this year the theme of the Biology department’s Parents’ Day display was The Elements of Life, which looked at how individual chemical elements were used in the natural world.

In the lab there was the chance to make slides to view under the microscope and see the myriad of microscopic creatures found in pond water, test your grip strength (won, as always, by Sam Wilson in 6.2), check your lung volume and blood oxygen levels, and test your speed using a reaction timer.

Most popular of all, though, was a chance to see if you were ‘one in a million’ by trying out a series of genetic tests where people looked at a number of their own physical traits – for example, whether they could smell freesias, taste the bitter chemical found in sprouts or roll their tongue. Results ranged from being one in 31 to one in 2 million!

It was particularly nice to meet up with several Old Bedalians who came back to see us and who have gone on have very successful careers in the field of biology including Gary Skinner (OB 1992), who specialises in the use of DNA as a digital storage device and whose father, also Gary, was a previous Head of Biology and Science. We were also visited by the daughter of another former Head of Biology, Andrew Routh, who at 95 was keen to find out how the department had changed over the years.

It was a lovely day and a pleasure to welcome so many, old and new, to explore the world of Bedales Biology.

Gentlemen of Bedales Cricket Club

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By Murray Chancellor

Having packed away your cricket gear a few years or even decades ago and just stuck to watching professional and test match cricket ever since, have you ever wondered if you could still play that match saving innings, finally take that elusive hat-trick, or indeed, actually hang onto that catch?! Here’s your chance!

The Gentlemen of Bedales Cricket Club (GoBCC) was formed in the early 2000s and emanated from the annual social game between Dunhurst parents and teachers (which, incidentally, this year is on Friday 7 June at 4pm).

GoBCC now has around 12 social fixtures against local village teams each year, generally from April through to the end of June. Home games are played on the fabulous and picturesque Bedales Memorial Pitch – probably one of the best village cricket venues in Hampshire. Local village teams love coming to us for our home fixtures.

The team has grown to include teachers, parents past and present, Bedales students past and present, and other likeminded cricketers. New players and talent of all standards are always warmly welcomed.

Last Sunday’s game against the Hambledon Invitation XI (HIXI) featured the HIXI opening batsmen being piped onto the field. GoBCC won by 124 runs with five minutes to spare before the heavens opened.

If you are interested in playing some social Sunday cricket, see the contact details on the GoBCC web page.

Stoner Cricket Club

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By Rollo Wicksteed, Old Bedalian 1949-54

Eighty-five years ago, at the end of their final year at Bedales, two boys had a meeting with their young games master to discuss the future. Jim Atkinson (1930-34) was about to
embark on an engineering degree at Cambridge, and John Fox (1929-34) was preparing to study Civil Engineering. ‘Benn’ Bennett (staff 1930-71) was in his fourth year at the school. However, it was not their futures they talked about, but the much more important question of cricket and in particular, cricket at Bedales. An idea was suggested: at the end of the Summer term, OBs should be invited to return for a week of cricket. Benn agreed to approach ‘The Chief’ (Mr Badley) to see if the proposal met with his approval. It did, so he was promptly chosen to be the Club’s first President, and Stoner Cricket was born.

Fifty years later, as the Club celebrated its half century, John recalled his memories: “Although a performer of little talent, I was quite potty about cricket and when I was due to leave, the idea of abandoning the cricket field was quite awful. I don’t remember being overly impressed by the scenic marvels of the place where I spent 14 happy years successfully resisting being taught anything… but when I found myself leaving it for good, its beauty came upon me suddenly and the notion of arranging some cricket softened the blow”.

Jim, who was not usually lost for words, was less effusive and wrote, “If the cricket has been no more than a vehicle for the making of friends and the interplay of eccentric  personalities, then never mind”. Jim was a more than useful village cricketer and was
a Stoner regular for the next 30 years, during which time he proved himself a considerable eccentric and made countless friends.

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Benn was, of course the driving spirit and a cricketer good enough to have earned a place on the Lord’s ground staff. As curator of the Bedales wicket he supervised the creation of the ‘Mem’ Pitch after the war, ensuring that it was the best ground in the district. On the death of Mr Badley in 1967, Benn became President of Stoner. Since Stoner’s foundation, hundreds of OBs and their friends have played for the Club including over half a dozen Head Boys. Staff have also played an important part including Ken Keast (staff 1939-49), Harold Gardiner (staff 1952-68), John Batstone (staff 1968-93), Norman Bellis (staff 1956-63) and Anthony Gillingham (staff 1946-70).

For those too young to know him, Anthony was an Old Etonian Marxist who helped sink the Bismarck during the war and had a father who played for Essex!

There have been many other interesting characters who have worn the club colours.  Richard Tomlinson (1970-76) has written a highly acclaimed 400 page biography of W.G. Grace. Roger Lloyd Pack (1957-62) became a film and TV star whose brief innings in
the film The Go-Between was featured in its entirety. Matthew Quantrill (1978-83) was a remorseless compiler of runs who tragically died before he could record his 100th Century.

Peter ‘Bunny’ Layton (1940-46) was a stockbroker whose legendary generosity did not always extend to his racing tips or his running between wickets, Alastair Britten (1957-62) invariably slept in a tent during Stoner Week as a tribute to the Club’s pioneers. Finally, Connor Wilkinson (1976-78), was always available to make up the numbers and his unfailing optimism with both bat and ball won him wide admiration. I could go on but enough.

After 84 years, the news that the 2018 Cricket Week had to be cancelled due to lack of  players saddened me and only Hitler had managed that. However, amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth, there are cautious grounds for optimism that a renaissance may be round the corner. Cricket at Dunhurst is flourishing, and both the Bursar and the new  Heads at Bedales and Dunhurst, love cricket and may even sport MCC ties, which shows the right spirit! We also hear that staff and parents have their own team trading under the name ‘Gentlemen of Bedales’, which includes some enthusiastic pupils.

The idea of a week’s cricket after the end of term has been discussed, and sounds an attractive possibility. Perhaps it’s worth a try – it worked last time!

This article was originally published in the Bedales Association & Old Bedalian Newsletter 2019. Find out more about Stoner Cricket Club, including this year’s fixtures, here.