Artifex 2024

Artifex 2024

This was a big year for Artifex, it being the 10th iteration of our pupil-led arts festival. What started as a small-scale collection of events over 3 days has ballooned into a 100 event extravaganza over a 5 day period.

What makes this festival different is the centrality it places on pupil-leadership. This year, more than ever, pupils were in charge at every stage of the programme’s development. Our Year 12 pupil CEOs, Lola, Stasys and COO, Viggo led a team of Year 12s in building the biggest programme in the history of the festival.

As always, the big draw on the first day was the Inter-House Puskhart Derby, which saw burst tyres (Saunderites), vehicle breakdowns (Northbrook) and much more besides. The ever-competitive Pageites took away the trophy this year, followed closely by last year’s victors, Gownboys. The whole event, among others, was methodically organised by Friedrich and Massimo. From here, the crowds poured out onto J ground to our new ‘Artifex Wave’ arena and the strains of Charterhouse Rocks, with our best bands taking to the mainstage, superbly co-ordinated by Mr Kellett. Our teachers also showed off their musical prowess with their own Chilled Vibes. Led by Mr McCombes, as a send-off to the brilliant Mr Boulton, there were an awful lot of Oasis hits and Mr Tink giving an able rendition of One Direction’s History. Not to be outshone, our pupils took the stage back for themselves with the Battle of the Bands on Friday night, with Northbrook taking the crown.  

Artifex 2024 also brought with it another set of packed BTT performances, produced, directed and led by our own pupils. This time it was Cassia (Year 13), Fleur (Year 12) and Lola (Year 12) who put together a brilliant production of ABBA: Here we go again, alongside a cast of talented BTT regulars. The vision, determination and organisation it takes to put on a production is not to be underestimated – this was a great achievement and went down like a good Mediterranean treat with Artifex audiences!

This year saw the arrival of another raft of brand new Artifex events. Most notably, the Artifex Grand Prix. Duck’s ground became Silverstone for a day as pupils raced remote-controlled cars, built themselves in a tight inter-house competition. Daviesites deservedly took the trophy in the inaugural race! We hope this will quickly become another Artifex staple. Similarly, our Masked Singer: Beaks Edition will certainly be welcomed back in 2025! This year’s first attempt saw Messrs Tink, Byrne, Duke, Allen, Hazeldine, Hill, as well as Fr Jonny, Miss Lamrabat and Mrs Evans take to the stage, as their identities were sought to be established. Another novelty for 2024 was Charterhouse’s first foray into an Assassins game, superbly organised by Fleur (Year 12). Our Inter-house Graffiti competition had a revamp this year, relocated to Lessington, with Gownboys chosen as winners who had created a brilliant collaborative work on ‘Our Neighbourhood’.

Our Artifex Café, managed by a team of hard-working Year 12s and the energetic Mr Patel, as well as our International Food Fair, with food from Himalayan dumplings to Pad Thai available in vast quantities on a sunny summer’s day on Founder’s Court. The Coffee Concerts and Concerts in the Cloister made a welcome return. There was also a special concert of Music for Stage and Screen which brought together pupils, playing alongside staff from across the school. Artifex would not be the same without the strains of near-constant music filling the school throughout the 5 days.

Cinema on the Ceiling saw the Chapel filled with film-lovers, armed with a pillow and a duvet for a screening onto the apse. With films from Hitchcock to Soderbergh, curated by Timipre (Year 12), it is hard to imagine Artifex without it The Escape Room, had yet another sell out year, designed by Ivan (Year 11) and supported marvellously by Mr Branchflower. There were workshops aplenty, including perfume (organised by Lyra (Year 12), wine-tasting, Sushi and DJ workshops (the latter led by Sam Year 9). We had the results of our Charterhouse Mock Election, Charterhouse Bake-Off, the Walford Maths prize presentation, as well as a unique Artifex Embroidery Project, Junior House Debating (won by Bodeites), the Artifex Pub Quiz (organised by Vihaan (Year 11), with Mr Byrne as quizmaster), the House Quiz (V were the victors), stalls from Pride (during Pride Week) and African-Caribbean societies, as well as the hilarious return of Would I Lie To You? (co-ordinated this year by Jonty Year 10).

Charterhouse was distinguished by being the first school in the world to host an exhibition of photography: Ukraine: the Price of Freedom, which had previously been exhibited at the German Bundestag, and the House of Commons. This, as well as the special screening of 20 days in Mariupol brought a sombre reminder of the importance of the arts in times of conflict.

10 years of Artifex culminated in an extraordinary Prom in the Park concert, which included Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto, Bruch’s Violin Concerto, and Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto. Our accomplished pupil soloists, Claire (Year 11), Timothy (Year 13) and Eamon (Year 11) were accompanied by an orchestra of professionals and pupils. This was, quite simply, one of the most memorable concerts in Artifex history – utterly unforgettable. Picnics, sunshine and exceptional music – there could not be a better way to close Artifex 2024. This was, undoubtedly, the finest Artifex of the 10. It will continue to grow, evolve and be at the heart of Charterhouse life.

Here’s to the next ten years!

Mr Mark Begbie, Director of Creative Arts