‘Twas the night before Speech Day…’

It was the end of an era at this year’s Poetry and Prose with a final appearance from Ben Stone and his parents. Mrs Stone made her presence felt by inadvertently forgetting to switch her phone off and thereby embellishing Alexandra Sarban’s gorgeous rendition of her poem in the original Rumanian, with a melodious trilling! It all added to the atmosphere and general sense of barely-contained chaos that is PAP.

At this year’s performance, I was ably assisted by Cora Throckmorton and Amelia Eden-Hamilton and they did a very efficient and professional job. Whilst I was fretting about fairy lights and the elusive p.a. system, they nobly rose to the challenge of keeping me sane.

It was wonderful to have three acts from the Prep School this year and the audience, the largest we have seen in a few years, were all completely bowled over by the assurance and talent of the following: Charlie Loudoun, Janey Godfrey-Faussett, Skyla Mercer, Katherine Mangiaracina, Amelie Mortimer and Bronwen Rogers. I hope to include more Prep School pupils next year.

I wish I could name everyone who took part, not to mention the thanks I owe to a number of people, but I do want to mention two pupils in particular. Grace Willcox and Joe Wildman were emerging from their comfort zones to perform and both were, understandably, nervous. Despite a few last minute jitters, they both did a terrific job and Joe’s poem about the love of rugby struck a chord with many fathers in the marquee.

As ever, there was a mix of genres. Congratulations to Maddie Dempsey and Evie Kennett for performing Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise.  Women of all ages around the marquee stood in unison with the girls to acknowledge the TIME’S UP movement and show solidarity with a younger generation of women, who hopefully, will not tolerate the ‘everyday sexism’ which has occurred in many parts of the world, through the ages.

Classic literature was celebrated with Lexie Drake’s incredible performance as Cathy from Wuthering Heights which was in honour of 200 years since Emily Bronte’s birth. The Headmaster reprised his role as Henry Vth to kick off the second half of the evening.  Mr Mortimer wasn’t named in the programme so several people jumped and seemed genuinely surprised as he took to the stage with great erudition and authority.

Finally, the evening closed with a spectacular dance routine from the Lower School’s forthcoming production of The Lion King. If the costumes and music are anything to go by, we are in for a real treat.

Mrs Parrack

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