Drama students treated to Director’s pre-show talk

Last Thursday as a drama department we took to the Lyric Hammersmith, to see Laura Wade’s adaptation of Victorian-set novel, Tipping the Velvet, and were incredibly fortunate to be treated to a pre-show talk for Bedalians from the director, Lyndsey Turner. Fresh from also directing Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the National Theatre she was witty, engrossing and clever all at once.

Tipping the Velvet is the story of two young women taking to the music halls in London as male impersonators and falling in love on their journey. It was Sarah Water’s debut novel in 1998 and set in the 1890s. The play took the tradition of a Victorian music hall and added music, comedy and a celebration of sexuality. Turner’s direction of the women’s physical intimacy was of nothing I’d seen before, they had the women suspended into the air, above their bed, intertwined with ropes. This allowed them to explore the meaning of their act as oppose to only the physicality and I felt it showed a sense of closeness between the women.

Throughout the play they included modern music sung in a choir to allow the story to be modernised and more engaging, for example Prince’s song Kiss was used when the women were performing in their music hall act. This intertwines the Victorian idea of performing in a music hall yet performing music of this century created a powerful balance between Victorian and modern ideas.

The performance was a success, especially considering how difficult it must be to adapt a novel onto stage whilst trying to stay true to the original story.

 By Nina Rebeiz, 6.2

Knitting yarns for sale in Outdoor Work

DSC_0016DSC_0023DSC_0005Double knitting yarns spun from our Jacob Sheep’s fleeces are available to buy from Outdoor Work: £5 each or £50 for 12; premium quality alpaca yarn on sale for £7.50 each. To place an order, please contact Outdoor Work (outdoorwork@bedales.org.uk/ 07786381427).

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‘Mind blowing’ performance of The Messiah

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What an honour it was to witness the music department’s much anticipated performance of Handel’s Messiah. We often forget what a comparatively small school we are and to produce such a juggernaut of a performance is mind blowing.

The Messiah is a piece of work that we all know, or think we know, and is often performed in parts, traditionally at Christmas although the piece was written for Easter. Nick Gleed, not known to be shy and retiring, bravely and skilfully directed the entire piece.

When speaking to Matthew Rice, Chairman of Governors, in the interval he commented that in days of yore soloists would have been shipped in. I asked what the difference was now, and he replied “the teaching”. So enormous credit must go to our back stage heroes who can elicit such a beautiful noise from young lungs. From the first note of Alex Yetman, we knew we were in for a treat.

It is perhaps unfair to single out any of the soloists but my evening was made complete by the purity of Pippa Lock’s voice and the wonderful surprise of James Holt singing Soprano. How delightful it is to see so many boys obviously enjoying the choral experience and the combined choirs filled the Quad spectacularly.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the delight of seeing and hearing Caleb on cello, playing with the expertise we have come to expect of this talented young musician. The Quad was full of parents, friends and visitors and the school must feel proud that everyone left knowing they had witnessed something very special.

View photos

By Jenni Brittain, Teacher of Drama and Housemistress


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.

A2 thespians deliver poignant theatre

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The week prior to the half term, the A2 Drama students performed their final devised pieces to the school. There were six students divided evenly between two groups who produced equally poignant and enthralling executions but exploring extremely different issues. The first group, all female, showcasing the striking Foxey Hardman and Christi Van Clarke impressively exposed feminism and the way in which people, not just women are perceived. The hilarity with which such a poignant issue was dealt with was what made their message effective; a piece full of popular music and dancing juxtaposed with a floor strewn with decapitated Barbie dolls forced the audience to both enjoy themselves whilst being faced with the injustices of our society. The execution of the dynamics made for an important but also thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Ruan Evans, Roly Botha and Tilda Raphael’s piece followed; they transformed the stage into an interrogation department and the detail of their set allowed for the audience to gain immediate understanding of who their characters would be and its triparteit structure directly reflecting the characters relating to each part. The audience were flooded with the experience of Ruan Evans being held imprisoned and tortured in a white box centre stage as simultaneously with the character’s torture we were bombarded with bursts of heavy metal music and darkness. In both pieces, I as a 6.2 student myself, had to keep being reminded that these actors were not only my own age but were portraying ideas and constructions which were entirely original to them. It was not only impressive but thoroughly thought provoking through entertainment, achieving what I believe to be theatre’s greatest purpose.

By Radheka Kumari, 6.2


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.

Bedales performers tour Dubai

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Having spent the latter half of this term rehearsing and devising, it’s great to finally be on our way to Dubai! During our stay, we will tour around a variety of different educational establishments and perform a 35 minute piece which we have created ourselves, based on the themes of the risk of extinction, conservation, and the continuing cycle of life. It will be a fantastic experience as we will be performing in many different locations and to varied audiences, as well as running workshops for students from other schools. We are really looking forward to being welcomed by Dubai College and our generous host families.

By Roly Botha, 6.2

Image: in the airport about to board our flight to Dubai.


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.

Arts and Crafts movement

Geoffrey Lupton Constructing the Library  Edward Barnsley

With an exceptional retrospective exhibition currently in the Bedales Gallery, it seemed an opportune moment to give an assembly on the Arts and Crafts movement and the intertwining of its heyday and the early history of Bedales School. The alumni list of Old Bedalians from the early years of the school is littered with the children of influential craftsmen and makers of the movement, and others who went on to become makers after starting their making journeys in the Bedales workshop.

Amongst these pioneers and advocates of the movement were Geoffrey Lupton and Edward Barnsley, both of whom were educated at the school. Ernest Gimson, one of the most distinguished and well respected designers of the period, was commissioned to draw up plans for the buildings of the school in 1906 of which the Hall and the Library were constructed. The Lupton Hall was constructed (and financed) almost entirely by Geoffrey Lupton and the Memorial Library built later after the great war to these plans. The furniture in the library was designed by Gimson and made by Edward Barnsley in the workshop that now bears his name in Froxfield.

Plans for the ladderback chairs made for the Library

As a community we are hugely privileged to have this grade one listed facility at our daily disposal and it is of enormous satisfaction that the legacy of the Arts and Crafts period remains flourishing in these parts. The relationship between the Barnsley workshop and Bedales remains strong with the Barnsley Scholar annual award to an upper sixth Design student cementing that relationship.

The exhibition of the furniture of the Edward Barnsley workshop  and some fine paintings inspired by the local landscape by renown artists working in the area can still be seen until 6 December. Further details on the gallery website.

By Ben Shaw, Head of Design

Pictured:
1) Geoffrey Lupton constructing the Library
2) Edward Barnsley
3) Plans for the ladderback chairs made for the Library


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.

Walking in the footsteps of Edward Thomas

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On 16 November 1914 Edward Thomas embarked on his first poetic journey- writing Up in the wind. This poem was inspired by a conversation with a barmaid in the Pub with No Name.

On Sunday 16 November 2014, a crowd of Edward Thomas fans assembled to commemorate this and to embark on a poetic journey of their own- walking in the footsteps of the great man. The day began with two lectures which gave the audience details of the intriguing milieu of Thomas’ life. The first lecture was given by Dr. Guy Cuthbertson- Professor of English literature at Liverpool University and biographer of Thomas. The second was given by David Cave the Head of English at Churcher’s and our very own Head of English, David Anson. These informative and enjoyable talks were followed by a poetic tour of Steep- Thomas’ home village- which included his home, Steep Church and the crossroads (by the Cricketers) mentioned in his poem; ‘Aspens’. Soon it was time to embark on a treacherous expedition to the Poet’s Stone. This was a dangerous mission as the steep ascent had a thick coating of mud, yet for those dedicated clamberers it was most fruitful- leading to a sensational view. At the top our effort was duly rewarded with special Edward Thomas sausages and a heart warming poetry reading by the renowned critic Edna Longley and her husband, Michael Longley. As the day drew to a close, a commemorative Beech tree was planted at the Pub with No Name so that this brilliant man’s life and legacy could be appreciated in time to come. View photos.

“The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet”
Edward Thomas- Early one morning

By Flora Shaw, 6.1


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.

Student led Philosophy Festival

On 13 September, we had the pleasure of listening to a range of speakers on the philosophy of…an array of interesting topics and issues. Student Oscar Braun-White (6.2) organised the ‘Philosophy Of…’ day where he gathered a line-up of fascinating professionals who spoke to us of their opinions and experiences. These included Professor Anthony Price on the problems of utilitarianism, Dr David Read and Dr Kamyar Afarinkia on ‘Science in the 21st Century: Saviour of Civilisation or Destroyer of Worlds?’, and John Caird on his work with theatre. We had a stimulating debate on feminism from Jeremy Paxman and Laura Bates, exploring the issue of women being targeted and suffering sexual harassment. As a philosopher and teacher, Dr Gopal Krishnamurthy talked of the ‘philosophy of education as a disruptive and ethical activity’. As a poet and psychoanalyst, Dr Valerie Sinason gave a very touching and eye opening account on the way handicapped people are viewed and treated in society. We hope to see more of these fantastic events in the future!

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By Sofia Palm (6.2)

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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.

Making music in Normandy

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Leaving school early on Saturday July 5, the day after the end of term, 36 Bedales musicians and six members of staff set off for a five day concert tour of Normandy.  We crossed the English Channel to Calais and arrived at our hotel in Rouen in time for supper, the first rehearsal on mainland Europe and an evening stroll around the floodlit city.

After breakfast the next day, we drove to the beautiful town of Honfleur, with its picturesque harbour and typically French buildings. The 90-minute afternoon concert in the church of Saint Catherine – the largest wooden church in Europe – was a great success, attended by a very appreciative audience of about 450 people of all ages.

Monday’s concert was in Bayeux.  Another early start gave us plenty of time to look around this important city, arrange informal lunch parties and then view the exquisite Bayeux Tapestry which depicts events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England.  The strong connection between this part of France and England, over almost a thousand years, was still in evidence. The music and administrative staff of the Cathédrale de Notre Dame could not have been more helpful, making sure that everything was in place for the afternoon rehearsal and subsequent evening concert.   Exactly a month before, this cathedral had been the focus of world-wide attention on a service commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.  Its members of staff were genuinely delighted that a “famous English School” was now performing a concert of British, French and German music. The atmosphere inside the spectacular cathedral during the concert was amazing and the acoustic in which the choir and orchestra performed was fantastic. There was a huge range in our repertoire, which included Callum Anderson’s breath-taking performance of theToccata from Widor’s Fifth Organ Symphony on the Cathedral’s magnificent organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

On Tuesday, for our final day of performing, we stayed in Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy and one of the largest and most prosperous cities of Medieval Europe. In the afternoon, the choir performed an informal concert in Rouen’s Cathedral. This attracted the attention of the cathedral’s visitors, many of whom chose then to attend our evening concert in the Church of Saint-Maclou. Saint-Maclou is one of the jewels of Flamboyant Gothic Architecture in France.  The large audience was made up of visitors and local residents who, delighted with the concert, stayed behind to talk with us after the concert and asked that we might return again in the near future.

This final concert was the climax of a wonderful music tour which was enjoyed by all. Many parents came to support us. The invitations to return to Normandy were received with a real and happy intention to do just that. Many thanks to everyone who made this fantastic trip possible, especially Sheila, Keir, Nick, Will, Giacomo and Debbie.

By Emma Duncan (6.1)

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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.

Book now for Petersfield Shakespeare Festival

Have you got your tickets yet for the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival at Bedales? If not, visit www.petersfieldshakespearefestival.co.uk or phone 01730 711599 to avoid disappointment. The Merry Wives will kick-off the festival at the Sotherington Outdoor Theatre from the 14-19 July, followed by Macbeth from 21-26 July. The performances will feature West End actors and local favourites, including Old Bedalians. Ste Johnston will return in triumph after his performance last year as Bottom, as Shakespeare’s fattest and naughtiest knight, Sir John Falstaff, who boozes and bounds his way through the bedrooms and bars of the English countryside. Bring your picnic, or order a gourmet pizza from The Cricketers, sit back and be entertained.

Portrait Photographer

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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.