Arts Festival - Artifex 2016


This was the year that Artifex (Charterhouse Arts Festival) really came into its own. It was a huge success and has reawakened the creative life of the School, with pupils going to the sort of events they would never have been to before. Charterhouse is a school with creativity at its core.

We saw the return of the International Fair in Hall with pupils representing a broad range of countries, from Oman to Nigeria. Various delicacies from around the world were tasted by a thankful crowd - a great celebration of the diverse cultures here at Charterhouse. The next day, our international theme was developed in our modern languages 'Ubuntu' evening with food, drink and readings in a broad range of languages with some of our finest linguists. 

We transformed the chapel into a cinema for two nights this year with special showings of 'The Blind Side' and 'Searching for Sugar Man' projected onto the ceiling for an audience cozily laying on the floor of the chapel with duvets! 

The Pre-U Art exhibition showed off the extraordinary artistic talent here, as did the wonderful photography from the analogue photography exhibition 'Life and Death'. 

Theatre played a significant role in this year's festival with a polished production of Peter Shaffer's 'Amadeus' in front of the west end of chapel, latterly moving into the body of the building itself for the final scenes. Michael Freeman (S) and Jamie Stapleton (S) gave exceptional performances as Mozart and Salieri respectively - brilliant performances from two pupils only in their second year at the School. They were accompanied by a team of young musicians who created the musical drama behind Shaffer's text. Oliver Geffen (D) directed a pupil-led production of the classic 'And Then There Were None' in the Ben Travers Theatre to full audiences. To have a pupil-directed production of such a high quality is a rare thing indeed. This, and the Bodeites House production of 'Treasure Island', made for an excellent dramatic offering this year. 

One of the major innovations this year was our Artifex Dome on J Ground which added a unique festival atmosphere to the place. Like any great festival, pupils going from event to event enjoying whatever was on offer. In the Dome, we started with a brilliantly witty concert from our multi-talented maths teacher, Mr Owen Elton. On top of this, 'Late Night Shakespeare' saw parts of 'As you like it' read in a rehearsed performance-style. The next day, the Dome was transformed into a Jazz Club with a superb evening of music given by our highly polished Jazz Quartet (this year accompanied by a professional Jazz percussionist) and later in the evening sixty pupils came for a very popular introduction to mindfulness meditation with our resident expert, Revenant Chris O'Neill. 

Other Artifex Dome events included a late-night 'Unplugged' music session, the launch of our annual 'Charterhouse Review' (a published collection of pupil-authored literature) and Perception Society talks led by pupils, which included a fascinating introduction to 'Artificial Intelligence' led by Riccardo Mokhtari (B). The Dome was packed for the showing of the short film competition entries on the Friday evening with the winning entry by Luis Enriquez (g). On the Saturday afternoon, Michelle Wibowo (award-winning food artist) led some fascinating hands-on sessions in chocolate art and sugar painting with a group of lucky participants. It was in the Dome that this year's Artifex drew to a close with our highly enjoyable 'Summer Concert' given by our talented musicians. 

The arts are alive and kicking at Charterhouse. Pupil-led creativity is the watchword and we look forward to seeing how Artifex and the arts can grow over the coming years.