June 25th, 2011
The Lower School drama club challenged its young actors with a play by arguably the best writer of all time, William Shakespeare. The Tempest provided the chance to work with an fascinating plot which could also be adapted to suit a modern day interpretation.
The first act focused on the backstories of the main characters and the relationships between them. The pupils devised the first act almost entirely themselves, with the help of Miss Baxter, Miss Bruton and Mr Bhantoa. The story was set in modern times, on a Butlins-like island, the central role of Miranda was cut to save the boys embarrassment.
The second act was an adapted version of the original scripted piece. However, the pupils once again incorporated their own facial expressions, movement and ideas to ease the transition of the Shakespearean world to modern times.
The production itself was a hit, with the technical skills of George Easy and the organisation of the staff helping greatly. The comedy of the play prompted laughter from the audience, whether it was the comic duo of Sebastian and Antonio in the first act, or Stefano, Trinculo and Caliban’s humorous scenes in the second. The lighting provided another edge to the play, emphasising the importance of Prospero’s two speeches and the drama of the actual tempest scene. Performing The Tempest was a tricky feat, but the lower school managed to make one of the world’s most famous plays into an enjoyable treat for all.
Report by Edward Hunt and Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero
June 25th, 2011
The charity group ‘Young Enterprises’ visited the School to teach Third form pupils about business and enterprise. A board game was used first to illustrate the gambling and important decision making needed to maximise profit in a business enterprise. The second section was about making efficient choices in funding, in which they had a competition between groups on producing and selling bead bracelets. In the third and final part the students worked on PR and the press – volunteers were interviewed in a fictional scenario concerning a company – for example, a crisp factory has started to manufacture a less popular brand of crisps and customers are starting to buy competitors’ crisps. The group would then have to give a media report on what was being done to rectify the mistakes, and how to improve in the future. The activities were used to teach pupils about various aspects of starting and managing a business. The students enjoyed a fun and educational day which may well come in very handy in the future.
Report by Aidan Collins
June 24th, 2011
Seventeen Lower Sixth formers risked the dreadful weather forecast to embark on their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition training in Snowdonia. Luckily, the conditions turned out to be far better than expected as the first afternoon was spent in a micro-navigation exercise to test the precise use of map and compass. Despite threatening cloud on the second day, the groups enjoyed bright and breezy conditions on a five hour walk and navigation exercise at higher levels, which included some guided scrambling up and down river gullies. Those who were unaccustomed to this found a real sense of achievement in what they had accomplished, while the day was augmented by the botanist in one group pointing out the orchids growing from the bogs.
Having accomplished the preliminary training, the three groups spent the next two days on their practice expeditions, judging routes, navigating and walking considerable distances between campsites. There were problems with sickness and a twisted ankle, but the groups coped extremely well with any setbacks. Though the trip ended with rain, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm and sense of pride gained by the students over the weekend.
June 22nd, 2011
The design ideas developed by U6 student Dan Watt captured the imagination of cinema enthusiasts in St Albans last week. Dan’s A-level Design & Technology project explores how the facade of the derelict Odeon cinema on London Road can be restored to its former Art Deco glory. His coursework design model was a star attraction at an open-day held in the cinema attended by over six hundred people.
Dan was invited to display the model by the entrepreneur James Hannaway who is embarking on an ambitious scheme to bring the cinema back to life. Hannaway and his team provided support to the A-level project, and were pleased to display the finished model at their event.
While the final plans for the cinema – now known as The Odyssey – have yet to be revealed, Hannaway was generous in his praise of the design project. “The model is just brilliant. Every detail has been thoroughly thought through – he must have really looked at the building. Some features, like placing the name across the face of the building, we hadn’t considered. It’s a great bit of imagination,” said Hannaway.
Hannaway, who is the CEO of the successful Rex cinema in Berkhamsted, was sufficiently impressed by the model that he expressed an interest in preserving it after Dan’s A-level course was completed. During the open-day, hundreds of visitors took time to inspect the model, discuss its features, and give an opinion about the design. Dan’s project was also given an honourable mention during the Q&A session hosted by Hannaway and his team in the main cinema auditorium.