Gecko workshop review

By Aidan Hall, 6.1 and Drama Scholar

Last Wednesday, a member of Gecko Theatre Company came to Bedales, hosting a workshop around the physical theatre company’s process of creating their shows (devising). Throughout the three hours, the Sixth Form Theatre students were exposed to an incredibly unique and engaging art form, one that transcends the boundaries of standardized and archetypical theatre.

Starting with a vigorous warm-up of ambitious stretches and sets of movement that forced students to realize the athletic competence needed to be an effective member of Gecko.

The core of the workshop contained exercises that concentrated on focus, attention and readiness, along with several devising exercises that, by the end of the workshop, left students creating their own work in pairs and eventually in large mobs and yet these groups managed to all operate and flow throughout each other, creating this immersive ‘hive-mind’ experience for both performer and spectator.

Starting with a vigorous warm-up of ambitious stretches and sets of movement that forced students to realize the athletic competence needed to be an effective member of Gecko.

The core of the workshop contained exercises that concentrated on focus, attention and readiness, along with several devising exercises that, by the end of the workshop, left students creating their own work in pairs and eventually in large mobs and yet these groups managed to all operate and flow throughout each other, creating this immersive ‘hive-mind’ experience for both performer and spectator.

It is important not to stereotype when one describes Gecko as being a physical theatre company; the beauty of their work is not just within the bodily movement of each performer, but the surreal environment created by the total commitment of performers, designers and directors alike. It was an amazing opportunity and experience to work with such an internationally acclaimed and original company.

Sixth Form Show perspectives

Bedales Sixth Form Show 14th October 2018 (Photographer Jack Offord)-7703

By Hayley Ager, Head of Drama and Liz Wood, Head of Dance

We welcomed Temper Theatre Company this autumn as a company in residence to collaborate with Bedales and work with students who successfully auditioned to be part of the Sixth Form show. Their combined work, the physical theatre piece Kin, was performed prior to half term. Certain students will then be reworking this into a performance to tour around schools in Dubai in the upcoming exchange trip which Liz is running as part of the enrichment programme. We are incredibly proud of the students for their professionalism and engagement in the project which really saw them, as in real life, devising an original piece of physical theatre as a company. We were also very impressed with the company whose artistic vision, passion and devising skills were the perfect combination for our talented students and what he had in mind for this project.

By McCauley Fischer, Putney Exchange Student

The Sixth Form Show was full of many types of talent and creative choices. The audience entered a theatre filled with a thin layer of fog from a smoke machine, while live music played until the house lights dimmed for the start of the show. The fog allowed for a unique use of light to represent technology and a range of other things from mood to large amounts of water. The show, which centred around inhabitants of a town where a dam threatened to overflow, touched on themes of human connection with the earth and each other as well as communication. It conveyed how technology effects these things, at times showing a light-hearted reality and at times a harsh one. I found the physical theatre very convincing which fully immersed me into the story.

The main group of friends in the story had a similar effect for me because of the convincing portrayal of genuine friendship and excitement by the actors. I felt like they could be kids in any town that anybody in the audience could know. This was a device used throughout the show; the universalness of the characters and their behaviour was effective in getting me invested. The live music throughout the show by some incredibly talented sixth formers really brought it all together and made the show. It was a fun and thought-provoking evening of entertainment.’

By Eben Macdonald, Block 3

I believe that the meaning of the Sixth Form Show, Kin, is that humanity is forever arrogant and ignorant and that social media and this common sentimental social dependence which many people have is damning to society.

This is because the people in the play are constantly warned by the Public Service that there is an imminent breakage of the local dam, which will cause severe flooding and will be very serious. However, they frequently ignore these calls. There is a scene where, during a loud and exuberant party someone receives a call, but because of the noise they are unable to hear it. They even say dismissively over the phone, “Sorry, I need to get back to my friends”, which I feel conveys how damning this social sentimentality is. They could have heard that call and reacted, but they were too busy partying.

Also, a significant feature of the play is that the characters are frequently buried in their phone. During the play there are scenes of impressive choreography where the characters are looking straight at their phones. This, I feel, is meant to convey how social media consumes us, dominates our lives, and how depressingly addicted to it people are. Wherever the characters move, even when the movement is complex and choreographic, they’re buried in their phones.

When the dam at last breaks, there is a long scene showing the characters drowning, grabbing each other, thrashing about and being tossed around as the city is inundated. After that there is a scene that shows a few friends enjoying a flippant and sentimental conversation, of course on their phones. This, I feel, shows that humanity is arrogant and will never learn from its mistakes, as if they had not been so devoted to social media, they might have saved themselves.

Classicists watch ‘must-see’ play Electra

Last Wednesday, 22 sixth form classicists had the pleasure of watching Sophocles’ Electra, showing at the Old Vic in London. Frank McGuinness’ version of this age old tragedy has been showered with critical acclaim, with both the Daily Telegraph and The Independent offering up five star reviews of the well renowned Kristin Scott Thomas and Olivier Award winning actor Jack Lowden. All of us found the play to be absolutely fantastic, with a very emotionally charged story line. In fact, it was so emotionally charged, that we all came out feeling fairly drained. This became very apparent when, upon our arrival at school, fellow students and members of staff described us as ‘subdued’ and ‘exhausted’. Whilst this initially may be thought of as a negative idea, the opposite is true. We found our end state to be the perfect example of how much this play reaches out to the viewer, making the theatre active for all parties involved. All in all, the resounding consensus is that Electra is a must-see for anybody with an interest in theatre.

By Cameron Cross, 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.

AS performances explore global issues

During the last week of the Spring term, the AS Drama and Theatre Studies scripted performances took place. Sixth Form students explored themes through different mediums including the use of physical theatre, props and accents. Themes such as complications within relationships, terrorism and death were portrayed in different stylistic genres ranging from comedy to horror. The short yet varied performances captured the audience’s attention from the outset, leaving them both laughing and reflecting on global issues that society is dealing with today. The students work and dedication clearly paid off and resulted in a fantastic performance. View photos.

By Thomas Higginson and Sofia Palm, 6.1

AS performances explore global issues

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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.

Incendiary Sixth Form Production

This week’s Sixth Form Production, to be performed in the Olivier Theatre from 15- 17 October,  is the incendiary Pornography by Simon Stephens; tracing the lives of Londoners in the electric days before the 7/7 bombings, when the Olympic bid and the Live 8 concerts were taking place abroad. Pornography is an extraordinary piece of work, in the spirit of Blake as much as The Clash. It is carved from seven blocks of text, with no characters or allocation of lines. Created in just four weeks, Pornography is both the story of our times but is timeless. For free tickets, please call 01730 711511 or email tickets@bedales.org.uk.

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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.

It’s Cabaret at Bedales

In the last week of term, 60 Bedales students from Block 4 (Year 10) to 6.2 (upper sixth) were involved as actors, dancers, singers, music makers, production designers, riggers and technicians in the school’s winter production of Kander and Ebb’s iconic musical Cabaret, performing to over 1,000 people in the school’s Olivier Theatre.

Bedales School

Photo by Amanda Darcy

Bedales students brought dazzling light and ominous shade to the musical. Set as the 1920s drew to a close, on the train to Berlin, sixth form student Nicholas Crane, playing a young American writer, finds himself suddenly becoming a smuggler. The storm clouds are gathering over Germany and the wheels of history are turning. Against the background of rising fascism, life in The Kit Kat Club and for its star turn, Sally Bowles (sixth former Talia Pick), is about to change forever. Georgie Wadstein (6.2) provided a wonderful commentary throughout the performance as a highly accomplished singing and dancing Emcee. The excellent band of student and staff musicians was led by Bedales Director of Music Nick Gleed.

“This was a production of the highest quality. Word was out from early on that it was going to be outstanding – and it more than lived up to this billing. For me, it was the brilliantly modulated way that mood and tempo were adapted to capture the essence of individual scenes that stood out. Big congratulations to all, but especially Jay Green and Claire Gammon, who as director and choreographer, brought off an amazing feat” said Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools.

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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 school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.