Pages In This Section

Pigeon English

Renowned author Stephen Kelman recently joined 100 Year 10 pupils in the LRC to discuss his novel Pigeon English. The College pupils have been studying the novel as part of their English literature course . Mr Kelman spoke about the origins of the novel and the creative journey that he followed, as well as treating them to a short reading of the opening pages.  Afterwards, the pupils had the opportunity to ask questions of the novelist, leading him to remark that he was impressed with the attention to detail and sophisticated understanding that Eastbourne College pupils always demonstrate.  This was his third visit to the College and we look forward to welcoming him back again next year.

Writing and Performance in the 21st Century

'Writing and Performance in the 21st Century' was aimed at pupils studying English at A level and GCSE. In addition to Eastbourne College pupils, the event was attended by over fifty pupils from local schools.

Dr Liam Connell, a lecturer from the University of Brighton, opened the proceedings with a lecture about the modern novel.  After that, Sierra Leonean poet and publisher Kadija George talked about how poets are using old forms to create new poetry. 

After lunch in the College Dining Hall, participants returned to the Birley Centre auditorium for a talk by novelist Jonathan Smith about the transition from idea to novel to film. The final session of the day was led by Steve Lambert, founder and director of Badac Theatre Company.  He focussed on the relevance of Shakespeare in the 21st century and directed some scenes performed by Eastbourne College pupils.

This was a highly enriching and enjoyable day, setting a fine precedent for future events of this type.

Vernon Dobtcheff competition

Mr Dobtcheff, an actor and OE,has awarded prizes for this competition for over 40 years, celebrating creativity often inspired by something the pupils have read.

In 2015, the decision as to who would win the prestigious Dobtcheff Prize was put to the vote.  Marianne Smith was a worthy winner for her Emily Dickinson-inspired corset.  Beth Stephens and Sam Peters were close runners up for their Larkin-inspired vinyl cover and poetry collection respectively.  Highly commended for their efforts in an extremely strong field were Eleanor Davies, Kayleigh Winn, Aneesa Zaidi, Tom Page, Luke Howard and Frankie Farrell.

The 2013 entries include film, animation, photography, Lego, paintings, classical and contemporary musical compositions. Euan Clarke, a former Eastbourne College teacher, judged the fourteen entries for the annual competition of creative work by Year 13 English Literature students. Congratulations went to the winner, Leo Lightfoot, for his very powerful film about war and loss, and to the Jess Barnes, Sarah Hill-Smith, Seb Marlow, Laura Scott and David Wexler whose work was highly commended.

King Lear

On a warm and sunny March afternoon, Ben Deery, OE (Powell 98–03) and West End actor, led a hugely entertaining workshop on King Lear in the College outdoor theatre.

He shared his experiences of playing Edmund for the RSC at Stratford-upon-Avon and in New York with a delighted audience of Year 13 English A level pupils.

It was a rare privilege to work with such a fine actor on a play he knows well. We look forward to welcoming him back to the College again soon.

John Agard

John Agard rehearsed his new play ‘Puff’ in the Birley Centre in advance of performances at the National Portrait Gallery. The play is ‘a satirical imagining of a romance between Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh’ and is written in verse and set in the Elizabethan period. The two-hander also features the music of Elizabethan composer, John Downland (1563-1626.)

Cast: Leann O'Kasi (Queen Elizabeth I); Christopher Paddon (Sir Walter Ralegh)

Music: Konrad Adamczewski (guitar); Pam Hewitt (voice)

Director: Mark Hewitt

John Agard was born in British Guiana (now Guyana). His awards include the 1997 Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry, the Cholmondeley Award in 2004 and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2012. Agard was Poet-in-Residence at the National Maritime Museum in 2008. His poem Half Caste has been featured in the AQA English GCSE anthology since 2002, meaning that many students (aged 14 – 16) have studied his work for their GCSE English qualification.

John Agard

The renowned poet, John Agard gave a recital to pupils from the College, local schools and the public. The recital formed part of a series of talks on Englishness in 2013. Pupils also benefitted from talks from Stephen Kelman on Pigeon English and Vedrana Velickovic on post-colonial writing. The College hopes to work further with John on the development of his new piece of theatre - a play set in the Elizabethan period that explores contemporary issues including identity and diversity.

Pages In This Section