2006 saw many memorable productions take place under the direction of Head of Drama, Catherine Saker, including this ambient performance of The Arabian Nights. Reviewed here by Gail and Holly Rosier of Acorn Theatre, published in The Court:
“The Barn at Shiplake College was magically transformed by the Mad Dogs Theatre Company into an exotic Bedouin Tent. Floating tea lights, white muslin and live music transported the audience into the world of 'alf lay la wa layla' or The Arabian Nights. All the ingredients of a fantastic show were here and the set provided the youthful actors with a dynamic space to relate the stories of Shahrayar and Scheherazade to the audience who sat in the round.'
How fortunate for the young people that they have Catherine Saker as a director, with an eye for the spectacular and splendid and yet these stories were told in the simplest way with theatrical wit and humour, using the ensemble cast as set and characters. The simple white costumes made by Mrs Harper perfectly complemented this production.
Scheherazade, Laura Cotton, was well cast with a clear voice and confident performance and Tokunbo Fatona who played the fierce husband Shahrayar 'matched' her exactly forming a strong frame on which all the stories could hang. They were ably supported by a fine cast of young people who became executioners, thieves, giant birds and even very credible donkeys.
In fact, the "Best and Most Focused Donkey Award" must go to James Gifford who played this part as well as many others with incredible comic timing and dramatic commitment. Other enjoyable and humorous performances came from Joe Coleman as the doctor's wife and Nick Harper as the other Evil Sister. Freddie Greaves who was turned into a dog by his wife, Kate Winthrop, were pillars of strength in all the stories as were Ed Pinker and Sasha Burgess. This fantastic ensemble cast worked really well together and were on stage the whole time maintaining a high energy, focused performance. I would love to see this production given a wider audience. Perhaps the director could be persuaded to enter the Kenton Theatre Drama Festival so that this wonderful show gets another airing."
In November, the U14 squad were lucky enough to have a rugby training session with four players from the world's most prestigious rugby club, the Barbarians. The session was reported in The Court and The Henley Standard. Little did anyone know at the time, that fourteen years later, one of the players mentioned and photographed would be announced as the seventh Headmaster of Shiplake College!
Two of our rowers spent the summer winning medals! Will Satch won a gold medal rowing for the England Junior VIII up in Scotland and Charlie Jenkins travelled to Holland to win his two gold medals for Great Britain in an event called the Coupe de Jeunesse.
We loved this clipping from the June 2006 edition of ‘The Ringing World’
Once again inclement weather meant that our riverside pitches flooded and it resulted in a media frenzy! See the report here from The Court:
“It started with an e-mail to BBC South on a soggy Monday asking if they would like to film rowers on the flooded rugby pitches. They thought we were joking but a photo showed otherwise. BBC South decided it was old news and put it on their website. BBC Newsround were the first to pick up the story closely followed by the Henley Standard, Meridian TV and a number of photographic agencies. By early afternoon Wednesday there was a crowd of photographers, in wellies, taking photos of rowers performing in front of the rugby posts. For Newsround presenter Gavin rowing was a new experience. As he disappeared towards the horizon, unable to turn, veteran cameraman Dave sadly shook his head, "It wasn't like that when I worked with John Noakes on Blue Peter." Eventually Mr Foster successfully taught Gavin how to turn and he rowed back in to complete his report for the BBC. The Sun, with a series of awful puns, decided to run a flooding photo alongside a "before" photo that we supplied. Consequently Mr Johnson and labrador Horace made it into The Sun running across dry playing fields back in the sunny days of September.”
Also in 2006:
- This year's July expedition saw brave adventurers spend 4 weeks in Kenya. As well as visiting the School in Kikunduku, they spent their time walking, climbing Mount Kenya, white water rafting and finally chilling out on an Indian Ocean beach.
- Over the Easter holidays twenty-five pupils enjoyed their Art trip to The Metropolitan Museum, The Guggenheim, The Museum of Modern Art and The Frick Collection in New York.
- The Great Hall was host to a catwalk show, organised by Old Viking Emma Bond. The event raised over £3000 for a breast cancer charity and a number of staff members, including the headmaster, strutted their stuff on the catwalk as models.
- The first boarding girls arrived in September and there was considerable interest for future places.