Headmaster’s Blog 26 February 2020

The second half of the Spring Term is always extremely busy and especially so for staff and students in our Performance Arts and Music faculties. Together with participation in local Festivals in both Milton Keynes and Bedford, our senior Speech and Drama students showcase their work at an evening event at the Place Theatre next week and towards the end of March, in a break from tradition, our choirs, orchestras and ensembles will perform Music for Stage and Screen rather than the more classical programme we have enjoyed in the past. This has proved to be so popular that tickets have already sold out.

One of the highlights of the term is always the Senior Production. BMS has an enviable reputation for staging outstanding, full-scale musicals, something of which we are immensely proud. However, we have decided to do something a little different this year to shine a light on the huge variety of talent we have here and to stretch and challenge our students giving them opportunities which they wouldn’t ordinarily have.

From 11-14 March, a superb cast of actors from Years 11 – 13 will perform Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, considered by many to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. On the morning of Sunday 17 May 1787, a fleet of ships with 736 convicts on board leaves Portsmouth Harbour with the prospect of eight months at sea ahead. Based on the true events of the First Fleet’s arrival in Australia to establish a penal colony, the convicts are given hope by having the chance to perform in a play.  However, some of the officers are intent on stopping this dangerous venture. Many of the characters are based on real convicts and officers whose diaries and letters have been used as source material.

What makes this BMS performance unique, though, is that the music which accompanies the play has been composed and will be conducted and performed entirely by our own students for the very first time.  The compositions cover a wide range of styles, including electronic music, folk songs, orchestral arrangements and eight-part vocal music. The music both integrates with the production and creates atmosphere, for example, through the use of traditional aboriginal instruments.  It really is quite exceptional. It promises to be a fantastic show and I would recommend that you buy tickets while they are still available (www.bedmod.co.uk/box-office). Even if you have never heard of the play before, please join us and experience a glimpse into history.

Alex Tate