Artifex 2015 proved that the arts at Charterhouse are going from strength to strength - bring on Artifex 2016.
The International Fair saw a packed Hall and a bustling atmosphere in celebration of the diversity of nations represented by Carthusians. From Iceland, Nigeria, Russia, Belgium, Spain, Mexico, Italy, China, Japan and many other nations we had culinary and cultural delights. These ranged from Salmon Roe Caviar and Panna Cotta to fermented shark (a culinary experience many will choose not to repeat).
The Greyhound Café opened to large crowds who enjoyed the sunshine and sublime setting of the Old Headmaster’s House Garden for a selection of teas and coffees brewed and served by an enterprising group of First Year Specialists (Year 12).
In the Llewellyn Room, the music of Kurt Weil and the world of Bertolt Brecht was explored to superb effect in this pupil run concert. Co-ordinated by Joseph Deery (S) and with performers Yolande Rowson (D), Peter Adamson (G), Florence Lace-Evans (P), Arthur Barnard (L) and Frederick Hervey-Bathurst (G), they entertained the crowd with high-quality music.
The Designer of the Year award saw the award of prizes by special guests from Godalming and Clifton Colleges for the finest design work (on display in the John Derry Technical Centre). The top prize went to Matt Adams (S) for his innovative speakers inspired by the streamlining style of the 1930’s.
Meanwhile, South African Cloister was transformed into a Spanish Cinema with churros and ice-cream being devoured by the hungry viewers.
The first day came to a close with a superb Summer Concert in Hall and a scintillating performance of Handel’s Zadok the Priest.
On Thursday, Mr Elton (Teacher of Mathematics) entertained a large crowd gathered in South African Cloister with a thrilling collection of amusing songs, including a love song to Apple’s mobile phone assistant ‘Siri’ and a one-man performance of the Sound of Music. The Jazz Club returned this year with an even bigger audience, entertained as ever by the super Jazz Improvisation group led by Mr Alex Curtis in a Llewellyn Room transformed into a swanky jazz club. Thursday night also saw the final performance of an entirely pupil-led production ofJeeves and Wooster which was performed to a packed Ben Travers Theatre. Directed by Oliver Geffen (D) and with superb comic performances from Isaac Fletcher (D) as Wooster, Ben Taylor (R) as Jeeves (and numerous other characters) and George Kendrick (D), this was a real treat for all who managed to see it. To close the evening, a lucky few were taken into the bowels of the oldest part of the School as they were guided on an exploration of the Cult of Mithras by some of our classicists in the cellars of Gownboys.
In the Old Headmaster's House Garden on Friday afternoon, we welcomed Mike and Tane from the award-winning Caravan Roastery , London who introduced a select few to the world of coffee. They learned how to identify different coffee from around the world, as well as how it is brewed and roasted.
The Classics Radio Play in the Saunders Room saw a special recorded performance of a play written entirely by pupils based on ancient sources such as the speeches of Cicero. This was swiftly followed by the opening of the Pre-U art exhibition which displayed the work of the finest artists at the School. One of the highlights of Friday was the opening of the George Mallory and History of the Book exhibitions by Stephen Venables (OC and the first Briton to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen). He spoke eloquently on the School as George Mallory (a former member of Brooke Hall) would have seen it and connected it seamlessly with the world of literature. New portraits of George Mallory by our Director of Art, Peter Monkman were unveiled and some of the literary treasures of the School archives were put on display for all to see. Following a repeat of our Magic Show (a great success from last year) which was led by a group of pupil magicians we had one of the more unusual events of the festival. Chapel was transformed into a cinema, as pupils came in late in the evening as darkness fell and lay down on the floor of the building as they watched the Oscar-nominated film Selma projected on the ceiling whilst wearing wireless headphones. Tickets for this were sought after by many and the film was greatly enjoyed by all who managed to snap one up!
The weekend saw C’house in the Park - our rock concert in Founder’s Court. It would be fair to say that this was attended by hardy souls, unafraid of the thunderstorms and heavy rain. Donning red ponchos, all those who went were entertained by music from some of the best bands at Charterhouse. Hopefully in future years, the main stage in Founder’s Court will be the centre of more events. On Saturday night, the weather having cleared up a little, we were treated to a superb outdoor performance of The Madness of King George III with Rollo Jackson (R) in the title role. Innovative use of the School site from Scholars’ Court to Hall made this a very effective and enjoyable production indeed. Even later in the evening, some lucky souls ascended to the observatory in the Science building to gaze at the stars and planets under the guidance of Mr Richard Brown from the Physics department. Sunday afternoon brought the completion of the House Quiz, won by a strong Robinites team, as well as a workshop for selected fourths on stagefighting with professional stunt man, Mark Ruddick.
So ended a mammoth five days of arts excitement which took place around the School.