Not even a global pandemic gets in the way of Poetry and Prose. 

Lockdown has altered the nature of Warminster’s annual literary picnic this year, so I thought I might change the name to cheer up proceedings – Poetry and Prosecco!

For those of you unaware of the social event of the year in Warminster’s calendar, P&P, as it is affectionately known, takes place on the Friday in May before Speech Day. I normally would have spent the day rehearsing in the marquee which is always slightly damp no matter what the weather is doing outside. Warminster used to hold Sports Day on the same day, (!), so I was also generally very red in the face having foolishly attempted to run the open invitation 1500 metres … in a dress. Is it any wonder I never finished first?

This year, armed with my trusty technical assistant, otherwise known as Mr Parrack, we ventured into the garden to film my introduction, middle and ending. It was a beautiful sunny day and as much as we tried, it proved to be very difficult to block out the noise of the ducks, the inquisitive cows in the field next door and the distant rumbling of tractors. Ahh … bucolic bliss and the peace and quiet of the countryside.

As many of you will be aware, technology is not my strong point. I am to technology what Mr Bonnell is to singing, as wonderful as he is. Despite a few off-camera Anglo Saxon remarks, we did manage to compile a programme that I hope you will enjoy.

I must thank all the staff, parents, pupils and old Verlucians who contacted me and/or agreed to perform. Like the diva I am, they know that the show must go on.

It is a fabulous evening which generally begins sedately and then becomes more raucous as it progresses. The audience brings sausage rolls and canapes, and there is much popping of corks, crunching of crisps and eating of hummus. This is Warminster: it’s a high-class event. No meat paste sandwiches and pickled onions for us.

The dress code has always been whatever you feel comfortable wearing. Although it is worth remembering that British weather is notoriously changeable and a pink, linen, halter-neck sequinned dress may have seemed a marvellous idea at five in the afternoon, but by eight in the evening it could be freezing. Let that be a lesson to you Mr Robertson.

P&P is an eclectic mix and during a normal run you could be watching a performance from a Shakespeare play, then be held spellbound by a pupil reciting their own poem written in their own language, then the next moment crying with laughter at a Rowan Atkinson sketch. All human life is here and, of course, as I am involved, it has that gloriously unpredictable feeling of organised chaos.

Sadly, I will not be with you in person this year, but hopefully I will be beaming my way into your homes through the wonders of modern technology.

Next year will be my 20th P&P! I know and I still look barely old enough to have left school myself, but it is true. I hope next year P&P will be bigger and better than ever and that we will all be together in the marquee with my face as red as a tomato and my winner’s medal around my neck.

Thank you to Yellow Balloon Films for stitching this together for our community.

Susan Parrack​, English and IB teacher, Head of Ken House


Please watch our literary delight!

Poetry & Prose I (password: Poetry)

Poestry & Prose II (password: Prose)