Bedales Historians visit Russia

Grand Palace Kremlin 1

By Nicholas Meigh, Teacher of History

The 6.2 History tour to Russia seems, on paper, a short visit of six days, but the content and variety of places visited means that the students experienced a huge amount.

A select group of 22 historians led by myself, Alison Mason (Professional Guidance) and Jane Shannon (Learning Support) set off for Moscow on 2 April. The focus of the visit was naturally historical and the group visited many of the sites of revolutionary Russia. Perhaps the highlight of this city was the extensive visit to the Kremlin; here the group not only trod the usual tourist trail but had the privilege of visiting parts of the Grand Palace that are usually off limits. We were treated to a private tour of the oldest surviving 15th Century parts of the original fortress and to the lavishly restored state rooms.

We travelled by overnight train to the imperial capital, St Petersburg, where we experienced the artistic riches of Russia in the State Hermitage Museum whilst also remembering the role of the city in the revolution with a visit to the Political History Museum. A favourite venue of St Petersburg is the sumptuous Yusopov Palace, infamous now for being the place in which Rasputin was murdered in a variety of ways.

The group experienced the full range of Russian culture in the evenings from watching the traditional folkshow – with special guest star, student Orlando Goffin – to attending a production of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty in the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg.

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6.2s’ grand Russian tour

IMG_1265

The 6.2 tour to Russia, seems, on paper, a short visit of six days – but the content and variety of places visited meant that the students experienced a huge amount.

IMG_1136A select group of 23 historians and Russian language students led by Nick Meigh, Annabel Smith and Frances Vigars set off for Moscow on 26 March. The focus of the visit was naturally historical, and the group visited many of the sites of revolutionary Russia. Perhaps the highlight of this city was the visit to the Kremlin, here the group not only trod the usual tourist trail, but also had the privilege of visiting parts of the Grand Palace that are usually off limits.

We were treated to a private tour of the oldest surviving 15th century parts of the original fortress and the lavishly restored state rooms. We travelled by overnight train to the imperial capital, St Petersburg, where we experienced the artistic riches of Russia in the State Hermitage Museum while also remembering the role of the city in the revolution with a visit to the apartment of Kirov.

A favourite venue of St Petersburg is the sumptuous Yusopov Palace, infamous now for being the place in which Rasputin was murdered. The group experienced the full range of Russian culture in the evenings, from an evening of curling, watching dancing elephants in the Moscow Circus to attending a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake  at Catherine the Great’s Hermitage Theatre in St Petersburg.

By Nick Meigh, Teacher of History

Wesley College theatre troupe get to grips with British humour

Wesley College drama

Students from Wesley College theatre troupe

Our troupe, a touring theatre ensemble from Wesley College in Melbourne, Australia, arrived at Bedales last week.

Consisting of students from 14 to 18 years of age, we were all actively involved in two theatre pieces, the first of these, Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors, was a modern adaption of the classic commedia dell’arte play The Servant of Two Masters and allowed us to explore the subtle divide between our own sense of humour and that of our British audience.  The second of the two pieces, Theatre X, was a far darker and more abstract piece devised by our own troupe. Employing techniques from absurdist theatre and the Theatre of Cruelty, we endeavoured to explore the violence and depravity present in basic human nature. Using techniques of alienation, we imposed upon our audience a confronting and stylised piece, presenting the inhuman nature of the modern person’s relationship with death and suffering.

Particularly enriching was the opportunity to partake in the Bedales Sixth Form drama classes; during these sessions, we learned alongside the students about various theatre practitioners and theatrical methods. We found the abstract and intricate style developed by Richard Wilson to be complementary to the tone of our own theatrical explorations. Our time at Bedales, though brief, was incredibly rewarding and the warmth and generosity of our hosts made our stay an enjoyable one. On behalf of Wesley College, we would like to say a warm thank you to the staff and students of Bedales School.

By Ben Walter and Sam Eidelson, Senior Theatre Prefects 2015

Choreography, collaboration and Bedales School

By Tzeitel Degiovanni, 6.2 Drama and Theatre Studies student, Dubai College

 

DC group shotAfter an amazing and hugely successful Drama exchange last year, whereby we hosted Bella, Foxey, Roly, James, Callum, Ruan, Mim and Hebe in Dubai, the seven of us drama students couldn’t wait to see Bedales in the flesh when we joined them on their ‘home turf’ in freezing cold Hampshire. Being part of the 25th year of this  exchange, the A2 Drama class were already feeling part of something memorable – and thanks to our amazingly hospitable hosts – our incredible week was just that!

Performing our exam piece, See A Girl Dance Again, in The Quad during Monday’s assembly was no doubt a scary learning curve for all of us, but one that we will certainly learn a lot from. The reception (applause, stomping and all) was very much appreciated after 14 hours on our feet, and it was wonderful to see OB’s, Bella and James, in the front row supporting us!

Immersing ourselves in Bedales life, joining in lessons, assemblies, boarding house life and the infamous “hand shaking” – whereby every student shakes hands with every member of staff and says goodnight – was a fantastic experience, and not one we’ll forget soon. Thanks to the Theatre Studies teacher, Jenny, we were able to collaborate with the Year 12 theatre students for an hour, where we created a ‘Brecht on Brecht’ piece about the life of the man (and notorious philanderer) himself. Then, in the ever-patient hands of Liz, we joined an A Level Dance class and worked with the current AS students on their exam duets. This was especially exciting for us Dubai College students, as Dance isn’t available to us as an A-Level. Some of us were perhaps more successful than others but everyone certainly tried their best! Sharing our ideas and learning from the creativity of the students at Bedales has definitely helped shape our piece, and our team, into an even stronger collective than when we arrived.

Leading workshops with the Block 3s and 4s, as well as at Dunhurst, based on the physicality and musicality of our piece, was inspiring to say the least. We were flattered at how enthusiastically everyone took to our piece and at how they made it their own – with many dark horses emerging from the shadows!

DC pigs

On our fourth day, Andrew took us on a tour of Outdoor Work at Bedales; growing up in a place where the landscape consists of desert and skyscrapers – we loved it! We enjoyed trekking through the mud, seeing the pigs (especially Angelica!) and learning about sheep reproduction on a working farm that makes and sells its own produce. The Bedales motto became extremely apt when we were on our tour – ‘work of each for the weal of all’ – and is a sentiment we all agreed to take back with us.

Bedales were then generous enough to let us join students in a workshop with The Hiccup project – a Brighton based comedy dance/theatre duo. We used physicality to the extreme and became surreal monsters, breaking down barriers that undoubtedly brought our class from DC and the Bedales dancers closer than we ever though we could get, in the span of just 4 hours. We then unreservedly made a Backstreeet Boys music video, ‘danced’ to a collection of 90s pop, and became dictators, heart-breakers, rappers, drunkards and consequently first-class dance/theatre extraordinaires. Needless to say, this was the highlight of our time at Bedales, as despite waking up with sore… everythings… we definitely formed bonds for life.

Overall getting back to Dubai has been bittersweet, as despite the cold and the travelling, our experience of life as boarders and students at Bedales School has been an amazing one. Thanks to everyone who smiled at us in the corridors, helped direct us around the maze that is the 6.2 flat, shared their tea, asked us to ‘brekkie’ and just generally made us feel more than welcome and consequently reluctant to leave! I know the 6.1 Drama students at Dubai College are very much looking forward to the tables turning next year and having the Bedallians perform here in the desert! Literally… 🙂

Read Bedales student Hebe Bartlett’s report here and view a gallery of pictures here.

 

 

 

Old Bedalians talk on life beyond Bedales

Ob-evening-group

On Friday evening this year’s 6.2 students were given a glimpse of themselves in ten years’ time when a group of Old Bedalians who left the school in 2004 came back to share their experiences and to talk about their careers. This annual event always produces a wide variety of OBs and occupations and we had examples from the world of journalism, advertising, film, computing, politics and design. All spoke warmly of the help and encouragement they had received at school and the strong social and professional networks that existed among Old Bedalians. They did much to reassure the 6.2s that it was quite normal to experiment and change direction in order to find the right career path and that self- belief was the most important guarantee of success.  They came across as a lively, entertaining and wise group of alumni, and they were able to pass on some valuable insights and advice to the 6.2s who are following in their footsteps. Many thanks to the OBs for their time: Jeremy Walker; Mrinal Sinh-Smith; Lucy Luscombe; Bella Mates; Francesca Pheasant; Luisa Parker; Nico Ball.

OB Mrinal Sinh-Smith (from The Guardian) with his sister Radheka Kumari, current 6.2 student.

Mrinal-Sinh-Smith-and-Radheka-Kumari


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.