Beyond the Classroom: Latest News

The number and variety of entries below give a flavour of the breadth of activities that take place here at Shrewsbury.  If your particular interest is, say, Music or the CCF, please use the links on the left to navigate to its section where you should find a page showing just the news that you're interested in.

Please click on the news headline to display the detail for that item.

We also post regular snippets of news on Twitter. Follow us @ShrewsSchool

Latest News - Beyond the Classroom

2017

Friday 10 February 2017

  • Bertold Brecht's ‘A Respectable Wedding’ - a review
    Severn Hill launch the new House Play season.

    Tackling Brecht is a weighty task at the best of times, and so Severn Hill’s offering of ‘A Respectable Wedding’ was a brave one. 

    Director Ben Higgins, ably assisted by Ed Plaut, kicked off the House play season with real gusto, with a witty and interesting take on a play that is reliant on witty repartee.  We were quickly involved in the wedding breakfast of the bride and groom, deftly played by Ella Davies-Jones and Angus Moore.  Instantly, we were given the idea that the two were not the model picture of married bliss, two hours in to the rest of their lives.  Their tension was palpable throughout the performance, until the final and honest reconciliation at the climax.

    As with any wedding, hilarity ensued with the rival for the bride’s affection, whom Max Morris endowed with a sense of one-upmanship and putdowns that drew inspirations from the greatest of rivalries – the Inbetweeners.  The bride’s bombastic father wants to hold court and dominate conversation, which Seb Hervas-Jones managed to develop as the play went on.  Esther McLaughlin was his counterfoil as the groom’s mother, adding a frisson of a ‘will they, won’t they’ to proceedings; the rest was left to our imagination. 

    Not left to our imagination was the blossoming relationship of the bride’s brother, played in sardonic style by Ben Oswald, and Jasper Mitchell as the porter’s son, whose inclusion on the guest list leaves us guessing until a fateful scene half way through the play. 

    Ending the table plan was Cameron Bates, who brought a Captain Haddock quality to his drunken putdowns and sartorial elegance, though I had never known Tintin’s companion was so musical. 

    His long-suffering spouse, played with alacritous zeal by Sebastian Ingram, brought the house down with barbed invective launched at anyone who got in his way.

    Severn Hill have lain down the gauntlet to Rigg’s and Churchill’s, though they can be justly proud of a completely pupil-led production.

    TPP

Thursday 9 February 2017

  • Follow Shrewsbury School on Twitter!
    If you are on Twitter, please follow us @ShrewsSchool for daily tweets of School news, events and photos. There are also now almost 20 other School Twitter accounts covering academic, sports and co-curricular activities that you may be interested in following.
    Shrewsbury School @ShrewsSchool
    Shrewsbury Music & Arts Events @ShrewsEvents
    Salopian Club @SalopianClubOff
    Sport @ShrewsburySport
    The Boat Club (RSSBC) @RSSBC
    Cricket @shrschcricket
    Football
    @ShrewsSchFooty
    The Hunt (RSSH) @RSSH
    Sport Science @ShrewsSchSS
    Shrewsbury Activities (Thursday afternoons,
    DofE, Rovers & other co-curricular activities)
    @shrewsactivity
    Design & Technology Dept @DTShrewsbury
    Biology Dept @ShrewsburyBiol
    Geography Dept @shrewsbury_geog
    German Dept @ShrewsGerman
    Moser Library @MoserLibrary
    Careers Dept @CareersShrews
    Maurice Walters - Deputy Head (Academic) @DhaMhw
    Anna Peak - Deputy Head (Pastoral) @ShrewsburyDHP
    Peter Middleton - Deputy Head (Co-curricular) @ShrewsburyDHCC

    The Art Department regularly posts images on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shrewsbury_art/

  • Confirmation Retreat
    Just before the last Coach Weekend, 43 pupils who are preparing to be confirmed next term and four members of staff stayed at the delightful Cefn Lea Conference Centre from Thursday evening to Saturday lunchtime.

    The facilities in this remote converted farmland, six miles out of Newtown, proved to be a wonderful resource.

    The speaker, ‘Rev K’ Owen, leading four interactive teaching sessions, engaged with all the pupils superbly and quickly won the Confirmands’ respect. In addition, pupils were introduced to some early morning Reflection times by Dr Elliot, there was a staff-led Any Questions Forum and on the Friday evening, after a themed candlelit banquet and some lively games, Rev A led a thoughtful candlelit Meditation to which pupils could respond using their own candle placed somewhere near a lit Icthus (Fish) symbol on the ground.

    The final act of the weekend came in the form of a Do-It-Yourself service for which all 43 pupils were responsible. It was most moving to hear some of their contributions, with mini speeches prepared by Angus Moore (S UVI) and Arthur Bramwell (R III) and some excellent readings, prayers and poetry, a drama and rapturous singing, led by Mr Lucas on keyboards. 

    This was a new initiative at Shrewsbury and something all agreed to have been hugely beneficial to their formation of their beliefs as Confirmation candidates before they formalise their commitment next term.
    Revd Aldous (Chaplain)


  • ShrewsMUN... a month to go! - by Ed Plaut (S UVI)
    On 4th March 2017, over 120 pupils from ten different schools from across the UK and Europe will descend upon Shrewsbury School for a weekend of debating and building diplomatic ties (both real and imagined) at Shrewsbury’s first ever Model United Nations Conference, affectionately dubbed ShrewsMUN. 

    However, although the event itself will be taking place in March 2017, its origins actually lie in an idea that I conceived with a friend of mine, Max Morris, while we were in the Lower Sixth in December 2015. We had both been to MUN conferences in Paris and London over that winter and thought if such metropolises could hold a conference, then so could Shrewsbury. Together, we pitched our idea to our ever-supportive and ever-patient Master in Charge of MUN, Mr Peach, who said that he would happily support our idea. And so ShrewsMUN was born (at least, on paper).

    After being granted permission by the School, Max and I sat down and began to plan our conference…

    While trying to study for our AS level exams, we started to make our first tentative steps into the world of conference organising. As two 16-year-olds, we had little idea where to start with such a task!

    We decided that it was pointless to have a conference without people, and so we started to reach out to schools around the UK and Europe that we had a rapport with to try and make them aware of the conference and carefully cajole them to come. Over another bout of MUN conferences in Manchester and London during 2016, the charm offensive continued. Eventually, we sent off our invites to schools from far and wide (at about the same time we were sending our university applications off…).

    Once we had schools signed up, the attention turned to each individual detail. Max and the rest of the top team of Michael Schutzer-Weissman, James Whitaker and Seb Hervas-Jones and I quickly realised that there’s a lot more to a conference than getting a lot of people to turn up in one place at once! We had to select our chair people for the conference and get together Salopians who were willing to give up a weekend to come and help host the conference, as well as staff. On top of that, there have been flags to buy, badges to make, dietary requirements to note down, committees to organise, nations to allocate and catering to be organised!

    On top of all of this, we’ve been balancing A Level studies, a House Play (featuring in some capacity four of the five ShrewsMUN Executive Team) and sporting commitments. It really has been a busy journey that shows little sign of slowing down as we enter the final month of preparations.

    We all hope that all the hours spent poring over databases and emails will result in a great first conference that could one day become a regular feature of the Shrewsbury calendar, and maybe even nurture some of the leaders of the future! However, our collective inputs probably pale into insignificance by contrast with those of Mr Peach, who continues to make a gargantuan effort in the conference organisation alongside all his duties as a dedicated Head of German. The conference would still be a pipe dream without him!

    We look forward to welcoming all delegates, guests and visitors in March for what should be a great weekend.
    Ed Plaut (S UVI)

    Details of the conference, including the topics each committee will be debating, may be found by following the link: ShrewsMUN 1

Friday 3 February 2017

  • 'Mr Darwin's Tree'
    An account by Charlie Johns (I LVI) of a riveting performance of the one-man show Mr Darwin's Tree'. Originally written to coincide with the bicentenary of Darwin's birth, it has since toured England and the United States to critical acclaim. On Sunday, it 'came home' to Shrewsbury, the town of Darwin's birth, and to his alma mater, Shrewsbury School. 

    On Sunday 29th January, 250 members of the Sixth Form piled into the Ashton Theatre to watch the production of ‘Mr Darwin’s Tree’, written and directed by Murray Watts, with the solitary actor being Andrew Harrison.

    A seemingly last-minute but well received change of plan had led them to be in the Ashton Theatre instead of the usual evening chapel. Shockingly, some Sixth Formers were skeptical; others were keen and unbiased, open to having their preconceptions about one-man theatre obliterated by the hammer of dramatic performance. I would put myself in this camp.

    Mr Middleton, Deputy Head (Co-Curricular), descended the stairs onto the stage and stood blinking in the spotlight like a TV host. He told us of the critical acclaim that the play had received. I surveyed the packed arena and wondered if these critics would be doing similar acclaiming, or would be baying for blood like in the Colosseum. Actually, everyone was being quiet and well-behaved, obviously tired after the exhausting exertions that come hand in hand with a Sunday at Shrewsbury School.

    There was a great deal of intrigue about the stage set-up, and rightly so. To stage left was a lone chair, and centre stage was a bizarre construction, which consisted of a step ladder, from which wooden branches made of what looked like metre rulers, protruded. It bemused me at the time, but upon further rumination and reflection I’ve decided that it might be some conceptual reference to the tree of life which Darwin devised during his interesting and enduring life. Below that were a round table and two chairs, where Harrison enacted Darwin’s frantic writing scenes and also the deeply poignant deathbed sequences. A nice minimalist and portable set, I thought.

    But what of the actual acting?

    It’s astonishing how one man can hold the attention of 250 tired young men and women for upwards of an hour. As Mr Middleton perceptively put it in his summarising evening email, “There were moments when you could hear a pin drop”. Too right there were.

    There was writing from Watts that would not have looked out of place in a high-ranking poetry book. Harrison’s intonation, had this been delivered in French, would have gained him a distinction grade in a Pre-U oral exam. He rolled his ‘r’s with precision, and glided gracefully over some of the more tranquil narrations. At times he spoke rapidly and heatedly, at others he faltered and feigned, his voice quivered with emotion. This guy was able to portray Darwin as a squeamish university student, a young, shy, seasick yet passionate expeditionary aboard HMS Beagle, his traditional and domineering, yet benevolent father, and even his dying ten-year old daughter Annie. Mesmerising. I now feel like I’ve got a tangible grasp of the personalities of all these characters, despite having had no prior knowledge of them.

    The play challenges many preconceptions about Darwin and his legacy and the supposed conflict between faith and science. Along with the dramatic story of Darwin’s own life, struggles and scientific quest, there are the powerful themes of his wife Emma’s Christian faith and their poignant conflict on issues of belief in an otherwise perfect marriage, and the personal tragedies and joys of their journey through life together. As a philosophy student, I found it very engaging, and the ideas were discussed in a way that was very accessible, even to those who were new to the ideas being raised.

    I attempted to gauge the reception in the immediate aftermath, in Ingram’s Hall, a building that fills me with joy to be able to call home. One friend of mine said, “Yeah that was a really good!” I’d never seen such an outburst of passion, derived from a dramatic stimulus, from him before. We even had a brief debate in the Link about exactly what it was about it which was so enjoyable. The air in Ingram’s was positively thick with erudite debate; unanticipated.

    This was a very powerful piece of theatre. I have to say, my prejudice that one-man shows are naff and a bit boring was dismantled, destroyed and shattered in one hour. I’m sure this was true for all others present.

Thursday 2 February 2017

  • Hot debate at Shrewsbury School
    It has been a hectic week for the Shrewsbury Debaters, not only within the School but on a national platform too.

    Last week on Thursday two teams represented the School at the Oxford Union Schools' Competition in the regional round. Peter Stanley (SH UVI) and Alec Barnes (PH UVI) made it through to the Final in Oxford on Saturday 11th March as one of eight teams from a competitive field of 54.

    That same day the Junior House Debating Competition started with a great round on whether the NHS is doomed.

    On Sunday, a talented Lower Sixth team of Angus Moore (S LVI) and Sam Bayliss (Rt LVI) competed in the regional round of the Cambridge Union Schools' Competition and acquired valuable experience for competing next year.

    On Monday, our debating veterans Ed Plaut (S UVI) and James Whitaker (Rt UVI) (pictured above) debated on the issue of all-women's shortlists to redress parliamentary imbalance, in the English Speaking Union Competition. The audience enjoyed their way of combating gender inequality and I was proud to see them speak so compellingly on the need to empower women. A great last debate, as they unfortunately did not make it to the next round of this highly competitive competition.
    Sonya Milanova

Wednesday 1 February 2017

  • Woodwind Prizes
    The annual Woodwind Prizes were held on Sunday 29th January, with nearly 50 performers participating in a terrific day that was adjudicated by Katherine Baker, Principal Flute of the Hallé Orchestra.

    With such large numbers performing, the event was rather epic in proportion but demonstrated the sheer talent of the woodwind musicians at the School.

    The Junior Class was for students working up to Grade 6, the Intermediate for Grades 6-8, and the Senior for anyone working at Diploma level.

    Katherine thought the overall standard was fantastic and was delighted to give a performance herself at the end of the Senior Class in the beautiful acoustic of the Maidment Auditorium.

    Junior Class
    1st – Jeffrey Li
    Highly Commended – Francesca Harris
    Commended – Gordon Chong
    Special Mention – George Clowes & Josie Williams

    Intermediate class
    1st – Oliver Toms
    Highly commended – Phoebe Morris (Sax)
    Commended – Joe Thevathasan
    4th – Harriet Adams
    Special Mention – James Snell & Rueben Denison

    Senior class
    1st – Orla McCormack
    Highly commended – William Bedson
    Commended – Sophia Price
    4th – Jemima Price
    Special Mention - Jonty Gould & Ella Johnson (Sax)

    Maria McKenzie, Head of Woodwind

  • 'Baptism of Fire' - Shrewsbury School commemorates Wilfred Owen
    An article by Sam Bayliss (Rt LVI), submitted for publication in the Shropshire Star, describing a joint Shrewsbury School and Friends of St Chad's commemoration of Wilfred Owen, which took place last weekend.

    The life and work of Wilfred Owen, Shropshire’s most famous poet, was celebrated with a day of activities on Saturday 28th January, one hundred years after his arrival on the Western Front in January 1917. Sam Bayliss writes.

    The day, organised by James Fraser-Andrews of Shrewsbury School’s English Faculty to raise funds for St Chad’s Church, remembered the household name who not only pioneered war poetry as we know it today, but changed people’s views of war.

    Helen McPhail, former chairman of the Wilfred Owen Association, led a tour that followed in Owen’s footsteps, as they were guided around the town. The church then played host to world authorities on the writer with three lectures in St Chad’s Church in the afternoon.

    Speakers included Dr Guy Cuthbertson, Owen’s most recent biographer, Dr Martin Deahl, ex-army consultant psychiatrist and Iraq veteran, and Dr Adrian Barlow, formerly of University of Cambridge. Insights into Owen’s life, explorations of ‘shell-shock’, and Owen’s cultural impact on later writers proved fascinating subjects to the 200-strong audience.

    The day concluded with an evening recital of words and music, devised by James Fraser-Andrews. Led by Director of Music John Moore and Head of Woodwind Maria McKenzie, musicians from Shrewsbury School performed music from the period and beyond – including a world-premiere of a new setting of Owen’s poem ‘The Letter’ by student Dan Powell (Ch UVI). Readings included Owen’s best-loved poems, letters home, and brand-new writing from the School’s Creative Writing Society.

    The day was a fitting tribute to the poet who revolutionised war poetry after his first experiences of the Western Front in 1917, and who would tragically lose his life only seven days before the signing of the Armistice, on 4th November 1918.

    “The pupils performed with great sensitivity for the kinds of art - by Owen and others - that civilises, dignifies or, at the very least, lays bare the contortions of the soul in times of such terrible violence,” said Mr Fraser-Andrews.

    The Friends of St Chad’s were pleased to raise £1700 throughout the day, which will help maintain the unique church in Owen’s home town.   The event was a precursor to the major centenary commemorations of Owen’s death that are due to take place next year.

    Editor's note: As Sam Bayliss was himself part of the group of Shrewsbury School pupils who took part in the concert, he is perhaps a little reticent in stating just how warmly received their contributions were. The Headmaster received the following email after the concert from parents who were part of the audience. It was entitled 'Shrewsbury School at its best':

    "The evening recital of poems and music at St Chad’s last Saturday evening to mark the 100th anniversary of Wilfred Owen’s move to the Western Front was quite brilliant; magnificent musicianship and singing accompanying readings that inspired and moved in equal measure. Owen’s baton moves on to a new and worthy generation.

    Congratulations to every last participant and to Mr Fraser-Andrews, Mr Moore and Mrs McKenzie for helping to make it all happen."

Friday 27 January 2017

  • 'Floreat' Awards
    This term has seen a new award at Shrewsbury School: Floreat.  Shrewsbury is full of success stories and headline-grabbing highlights, but there are also many examples of Salopians quietly doing extraordinary things.  Floreat seeks to shine the spotlight for a brief moment on those whose efforts might otherwise go unnoticed. 

    Based on the principle that a word of encouragement can have a significant impact on an individual, the intention is to celebrate and commend both curricular and co-curricular success stories in order that pupils may be encouraged on their Salopian journey and further flourish.  The intention is to promote an ‘I Can’ approach amongst Salopians, to applaud effort rather than just attainment, and to encourage pupils to be confident in their abilities and ambitions. 

    Floreat is hosted by the Headmaster and members of the Senior Academic Staff every Friday following nominations from the Common Room and the pupil body. Those nominated this term include bee-keepers, Classicists, charity fundraisers, hockey goal-keepers, drummers, poets and Arabists.  All have impressed and inspired with their qualities of determination, resilience, fortitude and, in many cases, the courage to step out of their comfort zone.

    PJM

     

     

Thursday 26 January 2017

  • Sponsored Walk - view from a glider
    Back in the warm days of September, one of our pupils piloted a glider and filmed (with a head cam) walkers trudging up the Long Mynd in the early part of the Whole School Sponsored Walk.

    Tom Brennan (LVI I) gained his pilot's wings via his membership of the CCF (RAF) section and flew a glider kindly loaned by the Midland Gliding School.

    This short clip was taken as he flew southwards along the Long Mynd escarpment at less than 80 feet in places. Tom then landed and journeyed on to complete the walk on foot. He had certainly earned his ice cream at the end!

    Please click on the image below to view the film on the Shrewsbury School TV YouTube channel:

Friday 13 January 2017

  • Fourth and Fifth Form Art Exhibition

    Please click on the image below to open a gallery of pictures that are part of the Fourth and Fifth Form Art Exhibition, currently on display in the Art School.

    The exhibition continues until Friday 20th January.

    The Art Department is now on Instagram. Do please follow them at: https://www.instagram.com/shrewsbury_art/

  • Prep Schools' Musical Theatre Day
    Following the success of last year’s inaugural Prep Schools' Musical Theatre Day, 75 excited Year 7 pupils descended on Shrewsbury School for another exhilarating day of singing, dancing and acting.

    This year, our theme was ‘A Bit More Moore’, celebrating the oeuvres of our Director of Music, John Moore.

    John has been writing award-winning musicals for Salopian casts for 20 years, including last year’s production of Great Expectations which won 5* reviews at the Edinburgh Festival in the summer. Many of the cast were available to help out and mentor our young guests, as they all learned numbers from past shows including Jekyll!, The Bubble and The Lost Domain.

    The senior students also gave a wonderful lunchtime concert in which they sang some of their favourite songs from the shows. Particular highlights were Phoebe Morris’ glorious rendition of On my own and Angus Kincaid’s velvety version of Ole Man River.

    The day ended with all of our visitors and helpers – as well as their parents and teachers – joining in a rousing sing-along, complete with waving glowsticks. It was a hugely enjoyable day for all involved, as this lovely thank you message from one of the prep schools shows:

    "Thank you all for another splendid, inspirational Musical Theatre day last Friday. It is definitely the thing to dispel the January blues! The children had a great day and were full of it on the way home. Very many thanks to you all and to your delightful, humble pupils, who shared their time, energy and expertise with such grace."

    Helen Brown, Director of Drama

Friday 6 January 2017

  • School Firsts
    Awarded to pupils during the final School Assembly of the Michaelmas Term.

    Each term a committee of Sixth Form pupils meets to award the School’s highest form of ‘colours’ – a ‘School First’. The committee members take their work seriously, for two main reasons: firstly, this is a good example of pupil power – while teachers may make nominations, it is only those ten or so Upper Sixth pupils sitting on the committee who have the power to vote; secondly, to retain the value of the ‘School First’, precious few are handed out.

    Nowadays School Firsts have been split into two types: sporting and non-sporting. Below is a list of those pupils who were given the coveted award for their exceptional contributions to School life in non-sporting activities.

    For their exceptional contributions to the musical life of the School:
    Angus Kincaid (Ch UVI), Marvin Hui (M UVI), Josh Himsworth (Ch UVI), Ben Higgins (S UVI), Steffan Williams ( UVI) and Arthur Yu (SH UVI)

    For their exceptional contributions in School and House drama:
    Robin Huber (G LVI) and Toby Pattinson (Ch V)

    For his outstanding contribution to the cultural life of the School through the Creative Writing Society:  
    Charlie Johns (I LVI)

Sunday 1 January 2017

  • News will be published here shortly for 2017
    In the meantime, please follow the link (above right) to our 2016 news.