This year's Artifex was bigger and better than ever in almost all senses. Having begun in 2013, this was the fourth arts festival and it reached new heights the programme encompassed more than sixty events. Again this year, we had a superb temporary venue on J Ground in the form of a 20m geodesic dome. So much was going on over the five days to describe in detail but the first day saw the International Food Fair on Founder's Court which was a celebration of street food around the world. As people sat reclining on the grass on the hottest day of the year thus far, a relaxed, cheerful mood was set in place which lasted for the rest of the festival. This had been preceded by a highly entertaining version of Star Wars in Shakespearean style performed by members of Brooke Hall, the second part of which was performed to a packed crowd on the Friday afternoon in the Dome. There will be few among us who will not retain the image of Obi Wan (Mr Nash) battling Darth Vader (Mr J P Freeman) on the stage!
Thursday saw our very own Escape Room game which was immensely popular, as well as the exceptional Pre-U Art exhibition. The panel game League of their Own in the BTT led by Rory Hay and his team, was a messy, but enjoyable affair for all involved followed swiftly by a House Quiz final in which Gownboys dominated Fletcherites. Later that evening, expert storyteller Ben Haggarty performed stories for a large crowd clasping hot chocolate and marshmallows gathered around a fireplace deep in our beautiful woodland. Haggarty expertly trained up four pupils in a special workshop to fill his shoes and tell stories in front of Friday's lucky audience.
Friday was the busiest ever day in Artifex history. We had conclusion of our inaugural gaming competition with Saunderites being the first holders of the trophy, special workshops on coffee tasting, film making with a seasoned professional, the Designer of the Year competition adjudication (with Isaac Ng (H) declared the winner) and a special evening celebrating beers brewed by our own pupil team. Undoubtedly one of the great highlights of Friday was C'house Got Talent, an event completely organised by pupils. A packed Artifex Dome provided a welcoming and electric atmosphere to the wide-ranging performances from rap with Ayokunle Oshin (W), our very own Ed Sheeran-esque Thomas Round and, even a magician. This event competed with a superb performance in the BTT of Henry V by our Fourth Form Groundlings Group. Friday was rounded off with a large crowd attending our mindfulness session at 10pm in the dome.
The weekend saw workshops guiding pupils through sushi skills and chocolate making, Unplugged (our acoustic night) and a special performance of Greek readings Dionysia in a unique venue behind the Chapel. The festival closed with a concert including Vivaldi's Gloria and the last of our three incredibly popular film showings in our Cinema on the Ceiling series in Chapel. This and so much more took place during Artifex. It stands out as a beacon of pupil-led creativity - a sign that excitement for the arts persists at the deepest level here at Charterhouse.