English students participate in Twelfth Night workshop

A substantial number of nervous Block 4 English IGCSE and BAC Literature students sat in the Quad on a recent Monday morning awaiting a mysterious Mr Allen; the man who had played Olivia in Propeller’s production of Twelfth Night, and had come to give a talk.

The mysterious Mr Allen never came. What appeared instead was a cool, young man who introduced himself as Ben, an old friend of English teacher, Ed Mason’s. I must say, I was very jealous of his casual curls that went perfectly with baggy trousers and a friendly face.  Instead of a tedious lecture, we started off with a comical warm-up, jumping, high-fiving, and helloing our immediate friends.

Once warm, we all joined in pairs to act out an ancient Greek myth on the dualism of humans. This story ends actually with the splitting of the human pairs, and the joining again through marriage. We discussed how this linked with Twelfth Night and the themes of twins and love in Shakespeare’s masterpiece.

Now, with this background and a script each, we read through the beautiful and humorous scene where Olivia falls in love with Viola. All of the group were impressed with Ben’s understanding and views on this scene. I know that he helped immensely to clarify certain details and Shakespearean meanings for me.

We learnt so much from Ben, and it was just a pity that the workshop lasted only an hour, but I’m sure we will remember clearly his trendy hairstyle as we write our final essays. We finished our workshop by performing, in pairs, our take on the scene. With his hugely helpful advice on how to articulate Shakespearean verse and his exceptional explanations of the subtleties therein, I am certain that this excellent workshop left both the actors and English fanatics:  a) very contented; b) in a much better place with our most famous playwright; and c) wanting more…

By Josh Mazas, Block 4


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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