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#56 - 2013

At Shiplake College we always take pride in our strong links with our local community and in 2013 the whole Shiplake Village community came together to perform a production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. College, church, primary school and Sunday school combined for the ultimate feel-good charity production which raised £2,500 for local charity Helen and Douglas House. The production was reported in the Riverbank.

“From the moment boys and girls from Shiplake Primary School's Years 5 and 6 poured onto the stage with their smiles and infectious enthusiasm it was evident that A Shiplake Joseph, a Community Youth Production between Shiplake College, the Primary School and the Sunday Club would be a high-energy entertainment bonanza. Lloyd-Webber and Rice had originally written Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat for a performance in an English School. Catherine Saker and Jenny Unwin's slick edit romped through the action. Such was the pace that matinee performances, with seventy actors and singers on stage in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, for St Mary's School and the remainder of Shiplake Primary School kept even the youngest of children entertained. Louise Rapple's eight-piece band picked out the honky-tonk sounds of the Seventies but Joseph's multicoloured onesie, proudly worn by Ruaridh Sheppard, epitomised the nod to contemporary tastes. His eleven brothers are wonderfully disgruntled as they hiss, boo and gesture amongst the audience whilst Jacob showers affection on his favourite son. Tom Jones, as Reuben, soon won the audience's affection. The element of pantomime, memories of Christmas linger, was heightened by a camel that makes asides to the audience. A sedan MDF wood limo and a golden 'pimped' BMX bike were typical of the production's irreverent sense of fun. Once in Egypt, there is comic slapstick as Potiphar's wife chases Joseph around the stage. Above all Joseph is an exuberant musical ranging from operatic high notes, through country and western to disco. The clear diction and melodic tones of the Primary School boys and girls, with their glittering cowboy hats, combined magnificently with Shiplake College's junior choir. Together they provided a sound track that carried the biblical story through to the footstomping triumphant conclusion of the mega-mix finale. Nor should it be forgotten that Billy Sayers' lip-curling Elvis presentation of the Pharoah, complete with leather jacket, was conclusive proof that the King lives.”

In February, the College hosted its first Shiplake 7s Rugby Tournament, with teams from different schools competing for the Cracknell Cup, named in honour of Old Viking Chris Cracknell and his achievements on the field since leaving the school. The fixture is still a highlight of the rugby calendar today. The programme is available to view in our online archive.

On 7 June 2013, Former Head of Lower School, Simon Cane Hardy, officially opened the new Lower School building. The £300,000 centre, which now houses over 50 day pupils in Years 7 and 8, had a kitchen, two study rooms for each year group and a day room with a small library and computers.

It was reported in the Riverbank that café-style prayers, introduced by the College Chaplain Stephen Cousins became so popular that it had to move to a bigger venue.

Also in 2013:

- The College invested in an e-library, giving pupils and teachers the opportunity to become voracious readers. With the ability to download over 250 titles, free of charge, onto a wide variety of 3G and wi-fi devices.

- The College featured in an episode of Midsomer Murders. The episode, entitled 'Schooled for Murder' included footage of the College’s Great Hall, Terrace and Senior Common Room.

- Pupils read 250 books during a six-week 'readathon' for charity.