Hanford’s Performing and Creative Arts Festival 2023
As part of Hanford’s unique and innovative approach to education, the school held a week-long festival in June celebrating the Performing and Creative Arts. Hanford has established a programme of festivals over recent years designed to inspire and develop pupils’ interests through a combination of practical workshops and inspirational speakers. Previous festivals have included a Literary Festival in 2017, an Arts Festival in 2018, an Adventurers and Explorers Festival in 2019 and a STEM Festival in 2020.
Given that creativity is so integral to the Hanford curriculum, it was a natural step to renew our festival programme, after the hiatus caused by COVID, by holding a year of the Performing and Creative Arts. During the academic year the lucky pupils took part in a wide range of activities and workshops: a modelling session with Aardman Studios in the autumn, storytelling with Emily Hennessey in the spring and singing with Apollo 5 in the summer term and much more besides.
The year concluded with the week-long Performing Arts Festival in June and the programme was designed to foster creativity, curiosity and fun. Pupils took part in a wide range of activities during the week, including a stage and film make up workshop, a debating skills afternoon, two drama workshops (one led by performer, composer and lyricist Hal Cazalet and one by Hanford Old Girl Minna White). There was also a workshop with award-wining photographer Elizabeth Vickers, a stage combat workshop led by Squire Combat, an acrobatic workshop led by circus artist Ameya Ahmad Williams (pictured above with Hanford pupils), a talk on ‘Costumes for the Stage’ by the Blandford Fashion Museum and a dance workshop led by Charlotte Fernandez of the TLW Dance School. The week culminated with the Hanford Open Garden NGS (National Gardens Scheme) event when pupils, parents and visitors enjoyed music by the Blackmore Vale Brass Band and a magic show by The Great Baldini.
Alongside the pupils’ programme there were evening events for parents and members of the public which included ‘An Evening with Larry Lamb’, perhaps best known for his starring roles in ‘Gavin & Stacey’ and ‘EastEnders’; a classical concert with leading violinist Shana Douglas accompanied by Julian Gallant; a concert with the British soprano singer Alexandra Lowe accompanied by Satoshi Kubo and a ‘Play on Words’ with singer and entertainer, Hal Cazalet, who brought the lyrics and stories of P G Wodehouse to life in an evening of music, laughter and glamour.
It was a wonderful week which was greatly enjoyed by all. Rory Johnston, Head of Hanford, said, “Our festivals are always a fantastic opportunity to welcome people to Hanford and to share an amazing programme of evening talks and events with pupils, parents and members of the public. Hanford’s commitment to the performing and creative arts is deep and long lasting and it was a natural step to base this year’s festival around this theme. Hanford girls are encouraged to take part in a large number of productions each year, which are not just fun and creative but also help instil confidence that the girls then take to other parts of their school lives and beyond.”