English Literature trip to ‘Othello’ at The Globe

On Tuesday 2 October, 6.1 English Literature students (along with a handful of 6.2s) embarked on another amazing trip. I’m beginning to learn fast there are many perks to doing this subject! Only a couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet Simon Armitage and now we have seen Othello with Mark Rylance at the Globe.

Mark Rylance gave a very convincing performance as Iago. Surprisingly, the actor chose to portray the malcontent with a bumbling foolishness. For me this gave Iago an even more menacing air, as if his calculated evil was lying behind a simple façade.

The atmosphere of the Globe was incredible as well. With the atmosphere of this historic theatre glowing, you could feel and trace the expressions of people with all of the shocking deaths and deceits throughout the play, as if Shakespeare could see into the future and know his play would still be captivating audiences all these years later.

This Othello, directed by Claire Von Kampen, seemed to have a lot of parts omitted. It was also interesting that Iago’s wife Emilia was portrayed as regal, and is displeased with her husband, which is not at all the impression I had had before.

However, I do not want to risk dampening a brilliant day, and this play truly had everyone on the edge of their seats:  an incredible achievement for a seven hundred year old writer.

The Globe was magnificent. Othello was enrapturing. However the same cannot be said for the bus ride home, and for London traffic; as  Shakespeare once put it: “What fresh hell is this?”

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Block 3 experience The Tempest

To support the study of Shakespeare, the English department took all Block 3 to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre matinee performance of The Tempest in Stratford-upon-Avon on Thursday 12 January.

This was a very exciting opportunity as the production has had rave reviews including: ★★★★ ”Simon Russell Beale’s superb Prospero” The Guardian, ★★★★★ “State-of-the-art stagecraft” Financial Times and ★★★★ “The visuals are true to the hype of a breath-taking order” Daily Telegraph. The students also attended a Workshop about The Tempest at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in the morning which very effectively introduced them to the main characters, themes and ideas about staging and interpretation. The overwhelming response from the students was that it had indeed been a wonderful experience. Read some of their anonymous responses below…

256px-rsc_theatre_stratford-upon-avon_13f2005Last week, I saw The Tempest, written by Shakespeare, and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford, directed by Gregory Doran. 

The plot of The Tempest was about two people, a father and daughter, banished to an island by Prospero’s brother, who now fills his position as Duke. On the island, Prospero has two slaves, one magical and one monster. With the help of Ariel, his sprite, he traps his brother and the rest of the royals in a storm out at sea not far from the island. When the royal party are swept ashore, Prospero makes them suffer as he once did.

Throughout the performance of The Tempest I enjoyed the character of Ariel, played by Mark Quartley. As Ariel was a sprite, his movement was very quiet and elegant – he really made you believe that he was invisible and magical.

I also enjoyed the performance of Stephano (played by Tony Jayawardena), one of the people from the ship wreck, he was the King’s butler, and throughout the play, played a very drunk character.

One of the parts that truly made the show stand-out from all the other productions of The Tempest and made it exciting to watch, were the effects, the lighting and the stage set. When Ariel first appeared on stage, he was shown as a projection on a cylinder.  One of my favourite special effect moments was a part in the storm when Gonzalo went from being on the ship, to being underwater – they showed that very well…

See what the audiences are saying about The Tempest:

Read a review of The Tempest published in The Stage
View images from the production

…The Tempest was an amazing play about Prospero (Simon Russell Beale) who was overthrown from his Dukedom by his brother Antonio (Oscar Pearce).

Prospero managed to survive thanks to Gonzalo (Joseph Mydell) a trustworthy servant who gave him books of magic, food and water.

After the wedding of the King of Naples’ daughter, a storm brings them to an island where Prospero and his daughter Miranda are stranded.

My favourite character was Ariel because he played exactly as you would imagine: light and dainty but could also be cheeky and moody. Ariel’s costume was also how most people would imagine: it was blue and it had parts with glitter and green, his hair was also quite spectacular and it had been slicked back into three spikes. Another character I thought was amazing was Juno, one of the spirits, because she really looked like a goddess and acted like one. Her dress was very big and she moved very elegantly, almost floating.

Prose, poetry and coursework in the English department

By David Anson, Head of English

It is a busy season for the English Department; 6.2s have been beavering away at a very important piece of coursework and the Block 5s are working towards the final hand-in of their coursework folder. Nevertheless, we have found the time for some superb enrichment. On Tuesday 15 November we had the pleasure of welcoming two visiting writers. Our first was acclaimed children’s author Jon Robinson who joined us to be our annual writer in residence. Jon’s Nowhere trilogy is highly acclaimed and has been awarded a number of notable prizes as well as receiving a nomination for the Carnegie Medal in 2014. Jon spent the morning with our colleagues at Dunhurst helping young writers in Block 2 and then in the afternoon Jon worked with 6.1 students who are taking the creative enrichment course – this year run by Jen Moore. Jon’s one-to-ones were extremely valuable and year on year we find this attention generates the most astonishing creative writing – look out for the 2017 ‘Poet’s Stone’ and our creative writing celebration in the Spring term.

In the evening we had the treat of poet, playwright, novelist and critic Glyn Maxwell reading in the Olivier Theatre as part of the Bedales Poetry Series. Glyn has won some significant awards for his work over the years and has extensively edited the work of Derek Walcott who is a particular favorite of mine. It was really quite special to hear both his poetry and prose being read in the theatre. Glyn had supper with some of our Sixth Form English Literature students at 50 Church Road beforehand; something we try to arrange every year. Our students had a rare opportunity to ask some very candid and insightful questions of a writer at the peak of his career.

An energetic reading of Antony and Cleopatra

The Shakespeare Society recently gathered at 50 Church Road for an energetic reading of Antony and Cleopatra. We read the entire play through with charisma and emotion to try and appropriately convey the feelings of each character in such a powerful tragedy. However we enjoyed some humour interspersed at various points in the play, whether reading in drunken voices the scene of some generals draining the wine or a clown wishing Cleopatra “all the joy of the worm”, ie. the asps he has just brought her, and Cleopatra’s response of “Will it eat me?”. The very fact that Shakespeare can bring such variation to one of his most heart-wrenching tragedies is a testament to his abilities as a playwright, which makes it all the more enjoyable to read. The pizza and ice cream for afters went down a treat, and we discussed what our next play might be… perhaps Troilus and Cressida? Who knows, but we eagerly await the next meeting!

By Angus Carey-Douglas, 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.

English Literature students enjoy production of King Lear

Last Wednesday A Level English Literature students went to see a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester. The production was directed by Angus Jackson, whilst Frank Langella played the title role, bringing both pride and tragedy to his interpretation of Lear in a perfect balance. Langella demonstrated his extreme versatility as an actor of both stage and screen in the production, crafting his interpretation of Lear so that his inevitable descent into madness gained a sense of heartbreaking inevitability. All the students found it an extremely rewarding experience to see the text they had learned about in class being brought to the stage, as all the scenes we had studied were actualised. We could see the torture of Gloucester happen before our eyes and witness ourselves Cordelia’s upsetting estrangement from her father. Shakespeare’s work is perhaps not the most accessible kind of writing due to its complex language and plot, but the production emphasised the skill and dexterity of the language, making it a production that was not just suitable for those who had studied the play, but for all. With fantastic performances from all the cast and an amazing set, the production gave a refreshing insight into the play whilst ensuring it did not lose any of its original resonance. King Lear will run until 30 November at the Minerva in Chichester before the production moves to New York.

By Amy Blakelock, 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.

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

Bedales celebrated impressive exam results on GCSE results day with over half the grades awarded at A* or A. Unlike any other school, Bedales students tailor their studies by choosing a combination of GCSEs, the more challenging IGCSEs, and the school’s unique GCSE alternative, Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs). All three qualifications use the same A*-G grading system. This year’s cohort achieved 29% A* grades, higher than any of their predecessors since the current curriculum was started in 2008.

The content of BACs is broad and stimulating offering cross curricular opportunities that are suited to a wide variety of learning styles. Internal assessment includes a mixture of written assignments, presentations, projects and performances, together with terminal examinations as appropriate. Bedales is the first school to be recognised by UCAS as offering its own GCSE-replacement qualification.

12 Bedales students achieved a minimum of nine A* grades; three of those achieving 11A*s and three achieving 10A*s.  In total 21 students (from a cohort of 92) achieved a minimum of nine grade A*/As.

Lili Bidwell from West Meon, Poppy Duncan from Stroud and Juliette Perry from Petersfield all achieved 11A*s. Chloe Green from Liss, Robert Miller from London and Phoebe Noble from Chichester all received 10A*s. Lili obtained A*s in Bedales Assessed Courses Classical Music, English Literature and Philosophy, Religion & Ethics, IGCSEs in Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSEs in English, French, History and Spanish.  Poppy achieved her A*s Bedales Assessed Courses in Classical Music, English Literature and Geography, IGCSEs Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSEs in English, French, Latin and Spanish. Juliette received A*s Bedales Assessed Courses in Design, English Literature, Geography and Philosophy, Religion & Ethics, IGCSEs in Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSEs in English, French and History.

Twins Emily and Natasha Blackley from Priors Dean achieved a total of 18A*s and 4As between them; nine A*s and 2As each. They both achieved A*s in their Bedales Assessed Course in Geography, IGCSEs in Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSE French, as well as an A in GCSE English. Emily also received A*s in her Bedales Assessed Courses in Ancient Civilisations and Dance, and GCSE Spanish, and an A in GCSE History, while Natasha obtained A*s in her Art, Design and English Literature Bedales Assessed Courses and an A in GCSE Latin.

Commenting on the students’ achievements, Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools said:

“Congratulations to our students on their excellent results. The Bedales curriculum is now mainly a combination of the more challenging IGCSEs and Bedales Assessed Courses, with fewer GCSEs, which makes the results even more impressive. Bedales has a history of educational innovation. The replacement of some GCSEs with our own Bedales Assessed Courses has, I believe, not only created a better platform for A Level success but also led to more success with offers from prestigious universities as these courses are not only more imaginative and motivating, but also offer a more academically stretching curriculum.”

Other Bedales successes include:

  • Oscar Braun-White from Rowland’s Castle achieved 9A*s and 2As.
  • Phoebe Landers from Headley achieved 9A*s and 1A.
  • Jojo Mosely from Hambledon achieved 9A*s and 1A.
  • Sophia Falkner from London achieved 9A*s.
  • Sofie Kitts from Swanmore achieved 8A*s and 1A.
  • Ally Swain from Sevenoaks, Kent achieved 8A*s and 1A.
  • Lizzie Compton from Rake achieved 7A*s and 3As.
  • Jack Shannon from Steep achieved 7A*s and 3As.
  • Maya Wilson from Rowberrow, North Somerset achieved 5A*s and 4As.
  • Ellie Soper from Hambledon achieved 5A*s, 4As and 1B.
  • Hux Chambers from London achieved 3A*s and 6As.
  • Roly Botha from the Isle of Wight achieved 2A*s and 7As.
  • Margaret Rice from Bampton, Oxfordshire achieved 1A*, 8As and 1B.

Bedales Assessed Courses are externally moderated and recognised by UCAS. Bedales’ unique curriculum is built around a group of five compulsory subjects: IGCSEs in English, Mathematics, Science (Double or Triple Award) and a Modern Foreign Language (the 2013 cohort was the last to take GCSEs in English Language and a Modern Foreign Language). This ensures both that the full range of core skills is covered and also that the minimum requirement for much of higher education is met. Students then choose from other options, which include up to five BACs from a total of 11 courses on offer that include subjects such as Ancient Civilisations, History and Classical Music, an additional IGCSE Modern Foreign Language or GCSEs (e.g. Latin or Computing).

The overall combined GCSE/IGCSE /BAC pass marks in 2013 were:

  • A* – A: 54%
  • A* – C: 93%

As Bedales students study a combination of three different qualifications, the figure quoted is a combined statistic for GCSE, IGCSE and Bedales Assessed Courses. No other school studies this unique combination of qualifications. Data is provisional.

View photos.

Read more about exam results.

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

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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.

Bedales A Level Success

Bedales students have achieved strong A Level results for 2013 with 40% of all grades at A*-A. They have secured places at universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Bristol, St Andrews, York, Warwick, Leicester, Leeds, Manchester, Kings College London, University College London, Imperial College London, Plymouth, Aberdeen, Swansea, Sheffield, Nottingham and Brunel, art colleges such as Falmouth University, Arts University Bournemouth, City College Brighton, University of the Arts London and UCA Farnham, as well as international institutions including New York University.

Six Bedales students have secured places at Oxford and Cambridge; four have done so through this summer’s grades and two former students received unconditional offers.

Sam Wilkinson from Midhurst, who will read Physics at Oriel College, Oxford, received his results today having spent the summer working as a Data Scientist for NASA in collaboration with their team which is based at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Sam achieved four A*s in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, and an A grade in Biology.

Katie Millard from Hambledon will read French and Linguistics at Keble College, Oxford after achieving 4 A*s in Chemistry, Latin, English Literature and French. Maddy Green from Liss will read Medicine at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge after achieving three A*s in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, and an A in Further Mathematics. Nell Whittaker from Shrewsbury will study English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge after achieving an A* grade in English Literature and two A grades in Latin and History. Former student Christy Callaway-Gale from Petersfield will read Spanish and Linguistics at Oriel College, Oxford after achieving three A Level A* grades last summer. Rosie Nicolson from Cranbrook, Kent will study Architecture at Cambridge, having gained three A Level A* grades at Bedales in 2011. Three of the students, Christy, Sam and Maddy, were taught at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, before progressing to Bedales senior school and sixth form.

Two students; Georgina Gulliver from Buriton and Deputy Head Girl, Katie Shannon, from Steep will both go on to read Architecture at the University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh respectively. Georgina achieved two As in Art and Mathematics and a D3 in Music Pre-U. Katie achieved three As in Art, Design and Mathematics, and a B in Physics.

Tim Jones from Dorking will read Mathematics at Imperial College London after achieving three A*s in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Further Mathematics, and an A grade in Physics. Joe Pemberton from Chichester will also read Mathematics, but at the University of Warwick, after achieving two A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics, an A in Latin and a D3 in Music Pre-U. Lucy Waterhouse from Midhurst achieved two A*s in Drama & Theatre Studies and History, and an A grade in English Literature and will read History of Art at the University of Bristol. Evie Cullingworth from Downley, Buckinghamshire achieved two As in English Literature and Drama & Theatre Studies, a D3 in Music Pre-U and will study Drama at New York University.

Felix Conran from London is delighted to have secured a place at the University of the Arts in London to study Product Design and Arran Stamper from Preston, Lancashire will read Illustration at the University of Edinburgh (after achieving two A*s in Art and Russian, and an A grade in Design). This is a particular achievement for both these students as it is rare for Art and Design students to be offered places on such prestigious arts degree courses without having first completed a Foundation Diploma year. This was because their work was of such a high calibre.

Although both receiving university places, Archie Howes from Ropley and George Veys from Guildford have decided to set up their own business, Darkroom Productions, an event management company providing the sound and lighting for festivals, concerts and corporate events.

Commenting on the results, Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales Schools, said:

“Congratulations to our students on their hard work and good results. Bedales students progress to an impressive range of universities and art colleges in the UK and overseas. I’m sure that the 2013 leavers will go on to make a significant contribution in a broad range of fields across the arts, sciences and business.”

Other Bedales student successes include:

  • Sebi Bacon from Steep achieved two A*s in History and Mathematics, and an A grade in Physics; to study Economics at University College London.
  • Georgia Green from Steep achieved an A* in Drama & Theatre Studies and two A grades in English Literature and Spanish.
  • Elize Layton from London achieved an A* in Drama & Theatre Studies, and two A grades in Dance and Religious Studies.
  • Piper Anderson-Klotz from London achieved an A* in Art, an A grade in French and a B in Classical Civilisation.
  • Toby Matimong from Southsea achieved an A* in English Literature, a D2 in Music Pre-U, and a B grade in Biology.
  • Egor Platon from Chisinau, Moldova achieved an A* in Russian and two B grades in History and Mathematics.
  • Jessica Sankey from Petersfield achieved an A* in English Literature, and two B grades in Classical Civilisation and History; to study English at the University of Sussex.
  • Reuben Thompson from London achieved an A* in English Literature and two B grades in Economics and Geography; to study Geography at the University of Exeter.
  • Anna Brown from Liss achieved three As in Biology, Physics and Geography.
  • Scarlet Watney from Bosham achieved three A grades in Design, Economics and Mathematics.
  • Georgina Brand from Petersfield achieved two As in Design and Psychology, and a B in English Literature; to study Fashion Communication at Northumbria University.
  • Anna Jacobs from West Meon achieved two As in Biology and History, and a B grade in Mathematics.
  • Sophie Grierson from London achieved two As in English Literature and Drama & Theatre Studies, and a B grade in Classical Civilisation; to study English Literature at the University of Leeds.
  • Oscar Cooper (Head Boy) from Southsea achieved two As in Economics and History, and a B in Mathematics.
  • Bethany Maskall achieved two As in Biology and Chemistry, and a B in Drama & Theatre Studies; to study Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield.
  • Mohammad Pechuho from Karachi, Pakistan achieved two As in English Literature and Religious Studies, and a B in Classical Civilisation; to study Classical Studies at the University of St Andrews.
  • Talia Pick from Chichester achieved two As in English Literature and Drama & Theatre Studies, and a B in History.
  • Charlotte Robins from Winchester achieved two As in Biology and Mathematics, and a B grade in Physics; to study Natural Sciences at the University of Exeter.
  • Eleana Wilson-Smith from Midhurst achieved two As in Religious Studies and Spanish and a B in Art; to study a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Arts University Bournemouth.
  • Oliver May from Lymington achieved an A in French, and two B grades in Biology and Chemistry.
  • Neal Raithatha from East Meon achieved an A in Mathematics, and two Bs in Chemistry and Economics; to study Mathematics at Loughborough University.
  • Izabela Swiderska from Petersfield achieved three B grades in Design, Psychology and Spanish; to study a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at University College Falmouth.

The full A Level statistics were as follows:

  • A* passes: 14%
  • A* – A passes: 40%
  • A* – B passes: 63%
  • A* – E passes: 99%

Cambridge Pre-U D1and D2 grades are equivalent to an A*; a D3 is equivalent to an A; M1 is equivalent to an A grade and M2/M3 merit grades are equivalent to B grade.

Please note that this data is provisional and subject to re-marks.

View photos.

Bedales A-Level Success 2013

Bedales A-Level Success 2013

Bedales A-Level Success 2013

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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.