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1985 Inaugural Peterhouse Festival

After much preparation the Peterhouse Festival got under way to become, what many people hoped, a successful "Open Day" for the school, and to promote the school's image in the eyes of the public. It started on the 24th July and lasted for a whole week, ending finally on 30th July.

The opening
Preparations had been in progress for more than two weeks. The school grounds were leafless, weedless and looking very tidy. Classroom windows had been cleaned, floors swept, and classrooms made to look more tidy than usual.

The first two days of the Festival were relatively quiet compared to the week-end. The only main event occurring was the performance of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night".  The schoolboys attended this play and so did the High School and members of the Borradaile Trust. On Friday night most of the boys attended the "Five Plays" presented by 1 North House of Cranleigh School in the U.K. These were greatly appreciated as they were comical, making the boys reflect on what they symbolized.

Accommodation was available though unfortunately was limited. Bed and breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was offered for $8 a head. Friday supper, Saturday lunch and supper were available at $5 a meal. A bar was open next to the Administration Block, at appropriate times throughout the Festival. The Tuck Shop was open all day on Saturday and Sunday. Morning and afternoon teas were offered by the school free of charge. All meals, overnight accommodation and seats for "Twelfth Night" and "Five Plays" had to be booked in advance. The Festival Office situated in the Administration Block was open all day on Saturday and Sunday. This was meant to be visited by all visitors in order to sign a book though only 1 90 of the visitors did so. If people desired information were asking for lost property, or wished to enquire about the tours being done by boys of the school, they would visit it.

The Opening of the Arts and Crafts Centre
Perhaps the most important thing done during the Festival was the official opening of the new Arts and Crafts Centre.  Senator Joseph Culverwell and Dr. Megahey helped Mrs. Bruce Fieldsend to do so. The Arts and Crafts Centre had a pink brick wall erected around it and a pond was also built near the Art School' s main entrance. Paintings were displayed on the walls by the more senior boys of the school.

Numerous exhibitions took place. In the library was the "Zimbabwean" exhibit. This showed accounts of the Smith regime, and its birth and overthrow, by way of newspaper clippings. Books were laid out on the tables in the middle of the library with pioneers' accounts of life and struggles in what was then Rhodesia, including works by Baines and Selous. Next to the books were paintings of scenes in this country when the pioneers first arrived.

At the Arts and Crafts' Centre there were exhibits of art, pottery, batik and woodwork. This contained some "Works of Art" done by the boys, or at least articles which Mr Kennedy found artistic. One of the most enjoyable exhibits was the Science one. This took place at the science laboratories. On entering, one first came across the Biology exhibition. This included dissections of worms; the nerve reflexes in a frog's leg; models of parts of the body; and other such experiments. The Chemistry section periodically burnt chemicals to show reactions and flame colours to the visitors. The Physics Department had set up numerous experiments, the "water-goes-backwards" experiments arousing the most curiosity. Among these physics experiments were pucks with dry carbon dioxide on the bottom which were meant to be frictionless. Finally, boys doing Electronics displayed their ingenuity by showing the visitors how to go about producing a car alarm.

Other exhibits which took place were the Chimanimani Trips which take place every year for the members of the B Block, local junior schools' art which showed us the artistic talent of the Springvale House children; the Mathematics/Geography exhibit which showed the visitors maps of Zimbabwe and mathematical wonders; the Computer display at the Lower School computer room which showed people the miracles computers can perform. Also seen was the Mountain Club who abseiled off the Chapel roof. During selected times, art, pottery, batik and woodwork demonstrations took place at the Arts and Crafts Centre. Shona Culture exhibitions also took place at St. Francis School, near the Lower School. Story-telling, dancing and other such African traditions were performed. Video films were constantly shown to visitors throughout Saturday and Sunday in the Physics Lecture Theatre, which is near the Science laboratories. There were horse-back tours of the Springvale site which lasted an hour. These cost $5 a head and permitted people to see the Lower School and the rest of the Peterhouse complex across the road. The Gosho Park Nature Reserve Tours showed visitors the collection by Mr. Ginn. The animals at Gosho Park include Sable, Eland. Impala, Duiker, Kudu and some Zebra. A live Chess Match was played on the Great Court between Wright and Mr. Greenacre; junior boys being used as pawns and the bigger boys being used in more important positions. Later there was a musical by Ruzawi called "Jerusalem Joy" In the afternoon there was a Choral Concert done by the Chapel Choir presenting works by Handel and Each.

American Day
On Monday morning boys awoke to find American newspapers in place of the Herald on the door steps. On proceeding to breakfast one saw an American flag flapping on the flagpole next to the amphitheatre instead of the "Peterhouse Crown" When lunch was served one noticed that there were hamburgers and chips on the waiter's tray. At half past seven live jazz was performed by the Broadway Five. Boys could order drinks (non-alcoholic of course), and later on a film entitled "Breaking Away", a story about a cyclist, was shown. Throughout the afternoon videos were shown on basketball and American Space Exploration. There was also American Football coaching. Posters of actors and to American cities and countryside were stuck on the hall windows and administration block.

French Day
On Tuesday we had exhibitions and events with a French theme. Videos were shown all day outside the administration block of television series such as "Tin Tin" and "The Avengers". The French Embassy had brought French films and videos along with posters of the Olympics and other sporting events. There was, of course, a French Soiree later that evening in the library where French speakers attended a buffet supper. It cost $2 a head.
Patronal Festival and Festival Dinner
On Thursday night it was the Feast of St. Peter in Chains. After a full School Eucharist, at which Andrew Fowler-Watt demonstrated his vocal excellence to the boys (Andrew Fowler-Watt is teaching at Cranleigh), the much awaited Patronal Festival Dinner took place.

The Festival sponsors were Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd.; Bob Wilson Motors (Private) Ltd.; Judson Auto Electrics; Robertson's Building Systems; United Bottlers Ltd. The whole school's thanks go to them.

The British children from Cranleigh gave $4,200 towards the Kukura Neshungu Centre for handicapped children. This is to go towards the foundation for the building fund. Cranleigh also gave books to Rakodzi High School and made donations to St. Francis School, a part of the Peterhouse complex. Most of the money was raised by Alastair Pearson who, with his father, did sponsored mountaineering on Ben Nevis in Scotland.
On the whole the Peterhouse Festival was a great success, reaching the extent of being mentioned in the newspaper. It definitely promoted the school's image and gave the parents a better idea of the school's activities. Letters of appraisal reached the Rector's mailbox and no complaints were received at all. A lot of work was done by Mrs Coughlan who was the Festival Secretary, Peter Beaven who organised the cleaning up of the school, and by the students on the whole who helped tidy the school, take tours and look after exhibitions.
M. Athitakis

Mr George Niven's production of "Twelfth Night" formed part of the Festival in the Trinity term. It will be remembered for the superb performances of` Sean Bell and John Christou as Malvolio and Feste, the simple effectiveness of the set, and the really gorgeous costumes. Mrs. Martin and her wardrobe ladies worked wonders. Someone suggested to me that the costumes must have been hired from Reps - but this is not so. They were either specially made for the occasion (Viola and Sebastian, obviously, among others) or were old stuff done up. The results were all that could be desired, from the tattered clothing of 'Sailors' to the truly regal array of Olivia.

Mr Kennedy surprised and pleased us more times than I can remember with sets both indoors and out. For this production he made a cunning colonnade, each arch capable of being curtained from behind, so that the Illyrian seacoast could be seen when necessary and screened off when not. Other effects were kept to the bare minimum and scene shifts were indicated by the appearance of tubs of flowering shrubs, a throne, table and benches and so on. The shifts were faultlessly executed by Mr. Marriott's team with the equally faultless assistance of Barry Johnstone and Denton Reid who ran the lighting, and of Mr. Jardine who saw that the props were where they should be. Malvolio is, of course, a gem of a part to play. but it can be ruined by over-acting. Sean Bell did not fall into this trap. He aroused our amused contempt delightfully and, which is far more difficult, our sympathy when he was begging to be released from his lunatic confinement. Moreover, every word he uttered was clearly enunciated which cannot be said for some of the other actors.

John Christou was a splendid Feste; timing and diction were excellent, even in those difficult passages with their out-dated word-play. The one thing Christou cannot do is sing soulfully. Well, no one is perfect and I for one thought he was hamming up his inability, so it did not matter.

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