Oxford Festival of the Arts 2017, the school's ninth celebration of culture and the arts in Oxford, concluded on Saturday and raised the bar once again, with more visitors than ever before attending a succession of high quality arts and culture events across the city's iconic venues.
Arts & Crafts Day on the opening Saturday offered visitors of all ages a wide range of fun hands-on activities, while Sunday Sounds, the Festival's inaugural music day, was a resounding success. A magical Tenebrae concert at SJE Arts closed the opening weekend in style.
A busy week was punctuated by a host of high profile speakers and guests: these included a gripping talk by Baroness Shirley Williams, a question and answer session with ex-England cricket international Mark Ramprakash and an appearance by Jeremy Irons as he joined Magdalen College Choir during An Evening of English Music.
An action-packed second weekend offered a host of irresistible events, including outdoor screenings of three Wallace and Gromit films, Handel’s Semele from Garsington Opera and Back to the Future, and Big School hosted a hilarious Jane Austen improve show, Austentatious. Another Festival first, Carry the Bat: Cricket, Culture and Community Day, attracted hoards of visitors in the sunshine to enjoy a plethora of activities on School Field in celebration of Oxford’s vibrant South Asian cultures.
Visitors to the Festival's second week enjoyed a comedy night featuring Marcus Brigstocke and a magical outdoor Shakespeare on School Field: A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the banks of the Cherwell. MCS Theatre Academy were back on stage for the much-anticipated Playhouse show Children of the Night, a contemporary re-imagining of Oliver Twist. Week two also enchanted music and dance lovers, with the Festival’s Twilight Concert Series in Oxford's iconic venues and An Evening of Dance with Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard and Chloe Hewitt. The Festival's grand finale on Friday will go down in Festival history: world-renowned ballerina Darcey Bussell talked to hundreds of guests about her glistening career, before the school enjoyed the 60th anniversary of the ever-magical Madrigals on the Water.