Charge: OB’s theatre work post-Bedales

Charge - Eve AllinBy Phil King, Director of Drama, Dance and Bedales Arts Programme

It was with a great sense of pride in recent Bedales drama and theatre studies graduates that I went to see Eve Allin’s play Charge performed at University of Warwick over the long leave weekend.

When here at Bedales, as drama Don, Eve won a major award at the National Student Drama Festival for reviewing live theatre and acted in, wrote, directed and assistant directed wonderful work while she was here.  Eve was a student who made the most of the panoply of theatrical options on offer here and Charge itself was part of the National Theatre New Views enrichment course.

The National Theatre said of Eve’s final draft that it was “a play with a great sense of the visual dimension, playing with fire and light both literally and metaphorically” and this excitement was captured in a converted Chemistry lecture theatre for the recent staging.  Seeing Charge as part of the week-long festival, Fresh Fest, offered me a chance to witness the energy, passion and drive great universities and great university students have for their subjects.  In an age where finance seems to sadly dominate most discussions about higher education watching a focussed army of directors, producers, technicians, actors and writers put on eight plays (that had to win a competition even to get to that point, selected by other students running the societies behind the scenes) was hugely heartening.

Even more heartening was watching Eve not only holding her own but being master of her world as a sharp-elbowed and highly knowledgeable first year (who is having to be highly selective of her drama courses to avoid repetition of the grounding she received whilst with us).  Well done Eve, from all of us.  We very much look forward to you making your mark, first on Warwick and then beyond.

Space and Time explored via theatre

 

By Jamie Murphy, 6.2, Drama Don

Inspired by their stimulus of ‘Space and Time’ Block 5 students recently performed their BAC devised pieces and the two groups took radically different paths.

The first piece, after looking at the David Bowie song Space Oddity, was an exploration of addiction, mental illness and loss, while the second investigated the lives of the astronauts that walked on the moon after looking at the book Moondust.

While both groups utilised physical theatre and naturalism to explore their themes, their narrative styles were markedly different. The first group devised three distinct vignettes that shared themes, while the second group chose to present a more linear narrative, seen through the eyes of the interviewer (who wrote the biographical novel) who witnessed the moon landing on television.

Both groups’ ingenuity, theatrical awareness and talent were clear throughout their pieces, which were evidence of how interesting and distinct devised pieces can be, even when ostensibly based entirely on the same stimulus.

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But is it Art?

By Saul Barrett, 6.2

Yasmina Reza’s Art at the Old Vic presents us with three friends brought together and ultimately torn apart by one friend, Serge, and his costly purchase of a completely white painting.

As an originally lofty disagreement spirals into a malicious attack on one another, Matthew Warchus’ production astutely observes and satirises the way we talk about art. Reza is known for taking middle class and polite individuals and stripping them of all inhibition or kindness as their world comes crumbling around them. We see this in Rufus Sewell’s pretentious and stern character of Serge who is lambasted by the older traditionalist, Mark, while Tim Key’s fantastically vulnerable peacemaker Yvan is repeatedly made the punch-bag upon which they direct their frustrations, along with being denounced as ‘uncultured’.

Tall white walls evoke the sparse elegance of the Parisian setting while three chairs around a coffee table function as the domestic boxing ring around which the trio hurl their long-held resentment towards one another. Along with the well-choreographed dance between niceties and menace of the three actors the real triumph of the evening is Reza’s script which finds humour and sadness while making intriguing statements about art as well as using the subject as a vehicle for exorcising the anxieties and grievances of middle aged friends.

Lemons…

The first time I saw Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons was at the National Student Drama Festival in 2015. It’s a cliché, but it was even better the second time around. The simplicity and beautiful elegance of playwright Sam Steiner’s words echoed throughout the Olivier Theatre and they concluded that it was one of the best venues they’d ever played, along with the biggest audience.

For those who didn’t see it, Lemons came to Bedales from Warwick – an original work written, directed and performed by students. It tells the tale of Bernadette and Oliver – a dysfunctional but totally relatable couple who find themselves constrained by the latest legislation – the ‘Hush Law’ – as it is coined by activists. It limits them to 140 spoken words a day. Immediately, the audience is thrown into their relationship, and Bernadette and Oliver, directed by Ed Franklin, switch between time zones, language limits and spaces alike.

If the Q&A session at the end was anything to go by, we loved it and just wanted it to go on for longer. Full of questions and love and regret, Lemons enthralled students, parents and teachers alike.

By Eve Allin, 6.2

A2 thespians deliver poignant theatre

-211Bedales-Farrows-Creative  -165Bedales-Farrows-Creative

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 trio of Foxey Hardman, Christi Van Clarke and Esme Allman 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.

Groundbreaking Sixth Form Production

Sixth Form Production

The Sixth Form Production of Fewer Emergencies this week was truly groundbreaking work by the whole cast and the Director, Phil King. The work done on the set and lighting, which employed the use of projection, coupled with the fantastic performances by everyone on stage, either acting or helping with lighting, projection or sound, has ensured this is a pioneering production at Bedales. Their interpretation of Martin Crimp’s script, which is just text with no stage directions or even characters, was intriguing and at points very moving. The play consisted of three separate, smaller pieces which were interwoven beautifully, and has already led to discussion between various students as to what the play was about, as it is ambiguous in nature. Everything on stage, from the lighting which was done largely by the cast themselves, to the projections, to the acting and the music was slick and well done, and everything came together wonderfully to form a touching yet humorous piece of theatre.

By Harry McWhirter, 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.

The National’s platform for new student writing

The National Theatre’s New Views programme seeks to project the voice of young students from the classroom onto the public stage. We are part of this national initiative and share the Bedales Olivier platform with Charter Academy and Tonbridge School on the evenings of 24 and 25 June. This year we will be staging two works from Bedales: Dad by 6.2 Amy Blakelock, scrutinising the imperfect lies of a problematic and broken family, and I’m With You in Rockland, a Ginsberg and Whitman fuelled poetic dissection of Americana by 6.1 student Peter Price. Amy’s play has won a place on the national long-list and Phil King’s None of Us is Very Calm is joint winner of the 2014 award for teacher submissions. For free tickets, please call 01730 711511 or email tickets@bedales.org.uk.

New Views

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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.