Bedales Prep takes to the West End Stage

Pupils from Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, took to the stage at Les Misérables in London the week before last in a series of acting workshops organised by the theatre company. The activities involved pupils from Block 2 (Year 8) acting out a student revolution in costume and re-creating the barricade scene in Les Misérables in slow motion.  They also experienced fun acting warm-up techniques such as seeing how big a balloon could be blown in one breath.

Pupils then enjoyed watching the actual show. It was made all the more interesting because of their backstage experience learning how the props and mechanics worked on stage.

Later that week, pupils took part in an urban art experience learning about urban culture through specialised workshops with professional artists in drama, art, music and dance. The day culminated in a show of their newly discovered skills to parents.

The artists who worked with Block 1 and 2 pupils (Years 7 and 8) included: the talented human ‘beat box’ artist Vid Warren; professional break dancer Sasha B; and the urban art group ‘Soulful Creative’. Dunhurst drama teacher Simon Kingsley-Pallant helped pupils explore the urban concept in a series of small plays.

Commenting on the pupils’ performing experiences, Jane Grubb, Head of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst said, “Les Misérables is a powerful and moving musical. Our pupils were given the chance to combine inspiration from watching the show with techniques learnt in the acting workshop to perform their own on-stage ‘revolution’. An important part of our academic syllabus is in learning through doing. Children learn better that way and retain information that is more meaningful to them. The urban culture experience was a cross-curricular activity in the arts, giving pupils the chance to develop a whole range of skills while learning about contemporary culture. Their showcase at the end of the day was a fantastic display of their achievements.”

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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.

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