This week saw the end of a spectacular festival celebrating art, music and drama at the school.

Our annual Creative Arts Festival is a wonderful showcase of the creative and inspirational work which goes on both inside and outside the classroom, it also welcomes a wide range of musicians, comedians, artists and theatre companies to the school.

This year’s star-studded programme began with an inspiring keynote speech from Old Bedfordian and Holby City actor Bob Barrett (74-84). Bob shared some funny anecdotes from his time at school and explained how his school years helped him to shape his career path. He also praised the school for the outstanding support he received when his mother died when he was just 12 years old.

Audiences were also treated to an evening with Whose Line Is It Anyway? comedian, Tony Slattery, who performed with comedy historian, Robert Ross, a reflection on his career and personal life.

Adding to the stellar line-up was broadcaster and poet Ian McMillan and cartoonist of the year Tony Husband, who presented A Cartoon History of Here, and reflected upon local stories and legends surrounding Bedford. The show included fast-flowing improvised elements and interaction with the audience as well as live drawing from Tony. Fourth Form boys also enjoyed an interactive workshop with Ian and Tony in the afternoon, which showed how everyday objects and incidents can inspire a story.

On top of this, the festival had a vast array of exciting theatre productions included in the schedule such as a nationwide tour of Much Ado About Nothing performed by The HandleBards, who pedal their entire theatre company from venue to venue. They are the world’s first and only cycling theatre company and perform environmentally sustainable Shakespeare productions. 

The festival also showcased the talent emerging from Bedford School. School-led events including a Jazz Orchestra performance directed by Bedford’s own legendary Jazz Pianist, Nikki Iles, was held in our Quarry Theatre which was transformed into a jazz club complete with cabaret-style tables for the evening.

Talented Lower Sixth Former Ishaan Mukherji wrote, directed and, along with other boys, performed a short play called ‘This is Our Death Sentence’ which followed two soldiers drafted to Afghanistan, who begin to learn secrets about themselves and the military for which they chose to fight.

Away from the stage, the art school featured work from students, including those completing their A-Level, International Baccalaureate (IB) and GCSE studies.  

The festival came to a magnificent close with a choral and orchestral concert in the School Chapel and Great Hall which included an epic suite of music from John Williams’ Star Wars.

Director of Creative Arts at Bedford School, Mr Jonathan Sanders said, “This was a true celebration of the creative arts which encompassed what we do really well at Bedford School and shared that with the local community. This year’s festival was our most innovative and successful to date, and we look forward to developing these ideas even further next year.”

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