Inspired by Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist, which the Senior Forms were performing an adaptation of for their annual School play, the School spent an entire week going Dickens mad, with a ‘What the Dickens’ week. Dedicating a whole week to one of Britain’s most celebrated authors, pupils, through a wide range of Dickensian activities, learnt about some of the stories he wrote and the characters he created.
Every morning pupils were greeted by a different Charles Dickens’ character, such as Mr Bumble and Scrooge. Parents, pupils and staff had great fun, guessing who the characters were.
Located at the School entrance behind an authentic bay window the School created its very own ‘Old Curiosity Shop’ which was open for business all week. Pupils enjoyed searching through the dusty objects on an old Welsh dresser to uncover a variety of Victoriana and guessing its purpose.
During ‘What the Dickens’ week pupils were thrilled when the original Oliver, Mark Lester, visited the Prep School. Star of the 1968 film, came into School to talk to the cast of the Christmas performance, Oliver! The Musical.
Dean Close pupil Cameron Stephens, who played Oliver in the School production said: “Meeting Mark was thrilling. He signed my cap and gave me some useful ideas about the interpretation of my character. I am really looking forward to performing along with the rest of the cast who are brilliant.”
Throughout the week the School chose to support one of Britain’s oldest Victorian children’s charities – Barnardo’s, by collecting coppers and small change. Barnardo’s was founded in 1866 to care for vulnerable children and young people.
Lunch was transformed into a Victorian feast as pupils dined on Victorian favourites such as game pie, delicious plum duff and baked apple dumplings.
Finally, the School’s archive department created a fabulous display of photographs and artefacts from the School’s first days for pupils and staff to learn what school might have been like 130 years ago, when the school first opened in 1886.