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A group of extraordinary and enthusiastic Drama students recently returned from touring their highly successful Greater Expectations! a loose adaptation of Charles Dickens’ original story through Barcelona and Igualada. They collaborated with young people from Lazzigags Theatre to perform their tri-lingual production at a couple of venues in Barcelona and then were invited to perform at the prestigious Igualada Theatre Festival - the only amateur company and the only child performers. What an honour!
There are moments in life when an opportunity presents itself that should not be turned down; a core challenge for those who love rich learning is to disrupt the contemporary machinery of schooling by finding ways for students to encounter the unforeseen. This collaboration has been one of those moments.
Today, it is more important than ever since Brexit that young people in the UK interact with our European friends and what better way to do that than through theatre. Spinning Dickens’ story together has allowed us to explore his literature, express ourselves in three different languages and engage with a style of theatre that we hadn’t experienced before.
The Dolphin Theatre Company also had the opportunity to train with the Castellars (human tower builders), learn how to cook Valencian paella, tour the impressive Camp Nou football ground and walk through the magnificent Gothic Barrier. Judy, Head of Drama, spoke on a panel and was later interviewed on Spanish TV about the importance of Drama being in the curriculum and the magic of theatre.
But the most important aspect of this tour was the new friendships that have been forged between the Catalan students and the Dolphin students.
On Monday 23rd April, Year 7 spent the afternoon at the Saatchi Gallery on the Old King’s Road and the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.
The children initially visited the exhibition - Known Unknowns - featuring slightly obscure artists to the general public but hugely respected and well known in their field. They included Mona Osman, Kristine Roepstorff and Tom Anholt. Having spent time analysing and studying the various paintings they then popped over to the Royal Court Theatre where they created pieces of theatre inspired by the Artwork.
As always our children impressed the workshop facilitators hugely with their independent creative thoughts and ideas. Theo admired Roepstorff’s painting You are being Lied to and commented on how it reminded him of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover, which he listens to quite a lot. Having done some research into colours and marketing, Hari explained how the colours made him feel in Tom Anholt’s Through the Generations. Putting emotions onstage were then explored in the theatre workshop and a highlight was Annie and Dylan’s still image entitled Horrorstruck!
Arts trips like these are even more important in the Government’s ever narrowing of the curriculum.
Following the showing of the film 'Demain' last May Dolphin School decided to aim to become a more sustainable school and we had lots of pledges of help from parents and children. The idea of a recycled plastic bottle greenhouse was one of the first to come forward and so we set about collecting 1,500 2 litre plastic bottles. By September we had enough to start constructing some of the panels using bamboo canes and many of the children got involved in the threading of bottles, whilst adults attached them to the frames. After a slight false start and a couple of design modifications construction was in full swing. It was then decided to use green bottles for the roof panels in order to provide additional shading for the young plants. On a wet and cold Sunday afternoon in November a group of parent helpers put in the posts and the project started to come to life. Inclement weather and Christmas slowed down proceedings, but finally on 27th January all of the panels and the roof were fitted by a determined group of Dads and the project was completed! We now have a splendid home-made and efficient greenhouse. We are delighted to celebrate this feat, none of which would have happened without all of the preparation of the bottles and the making of the frames all done by volunteers, for which we are immensely grateful. It is difficult to estimate the number of hours that went into the construction of the greenhouse but it is remarkably solid and we hope that it will help us achieve our next aim of producing enough salad for the whole school for lunch one day in the summer term.
We are delighted to announce that former pupil, Jo Hurst (nee Young), has returned, 17 years after she left at the age of 13, to take up the post of Head of English. Jo was a pupil at Dolphin for 10 years from the age of 3. After going on to spend her senior years studying at Queen Anne’s, Jo read English Literature at Cambridge University. Since graduating Jo has gained vast experience working at Windsor Boys and Dauntsey’s and she is very excited that the latest step in her career has brought her back to Dolphin.
Jo said; ‘My earliest memory of Dolphin – possibly my earliest memory at all – is walking round and round in circles for the nursery production of ‘Walking in the Air’, my snowman costume slowly disintegrating into a puddle around me. Of course, it being Dolphin I had spent weeks constructing my costume (entirely of foam, to capture a suitably ethereal appearance) and I was devastated.
From there, the memories escalate. There’s dropping a slightly-too-big rock of sodium into water in the middle of the playground and watching the glass tub shatter; bouncing up and down on a via ferrata in the Alps; cross-country runs through Arctic conditions; and the plays, all those school plays.
I am delighted to be returning to the school as Head of English this term, not only for my sake, but also for my children who are starting their adventure at Dolphin this term too.’
Tom Lewis, Head of Dolphin School, said; “We’re delighted that Jo has joined the team. As a former pupil she has a unique perspective and special affection for the school which we know she will use to great effect to inspire the children.”