Talbot Heath

Hooked on Classics


Last month, Classics students were given the opportunity to visit Stratford-upon-Avon to see the dramatic tragedy, ‘Dido: The Queen of Carthage.’ The performance was bold and dramatic, with the use of spectacular special effects such as a waterfall from the ceiling and the staging strewn with sand to represent the scenery of a beach. The experience was visually and emotionally exciting considering the passion of the theatrical presence from the actors. A student classicist commented, ‘It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to see Dido presented on such an elaborate stage. Definitely worth the journey.’

Not only has the classical performances been a focus of the school performed by professional actors but also by the talented thespians at Talbot Heath in the splendid Classical Ode to Autumn which took place recently, and where a variety of the arts were showcased. The music department prepared graceful tunes from the flute quintet dressed as cherubs from mythological bedtime stories; the sound of the cello, grand piano and violins created the perfect ambience for the classical festival.

Extracts from Latin verse from Ovid Amores 1.1 was recited with passion by Jasmine Johnson-Cole, in a white toga, performing from the galleries; Ellie Burrage transformed herself into the distressed Medea on the courtyard balcony; the vines and the scarlet light created the perfect scenery for the dramatic extract of the Greek play. In addition to this, on the main stage, there was the Lower Sixth drama group performing a comedic adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, the performance was abstract and innovative. Dance also took the stage, in one of the courtyards, dancing with poise to a modern recitation of the Latin poet, Catullus.

These performances were brought to life with the stunning lighting effects (courtesy of ‘Lamps and Amps’), the costume of the actors and dancers, but also the guests. Many girls from the Junior School and parents came dressed for a Roman ball and others for a battle. Medusas, Cupids and Julius Caesars filled the hall; the Juniors were also able to enjoy tasks such as creating symbolic mosaics, an ancient maths task, delving into Pythagoras’ theorem, there was also a comedic photo booth, transforming yourself from a Roman citizen to an Ancient Greek goddess. Not forgetting the delicious authentic Roman and Greek food created for guests by some of the Greek catering staff (particularly the delicious chickpea bites) which gave guests a taste of the ancient culture.

It was an electric evening and gave many pupils the opportunity to express but also learn about the intriguing period. As one parent stated, ‘It was a vibrant atmosphere, full of expectation and surprise. Such stunning performances of all ages offered a magically classical event.’

The classics revival does not stop there: the department has created a Classics Society, which has more than thirty members already, and on the 21st November, TH will be hosting a Roman inspired evening to include Roman appetisers and a variety of activities that the classicists will enjoy. Classics has never been more influential to the pupils at Talbot Heath and long may it continue!

Thank you to all of the staff and girls who collaborated for this event, with special thanks to Miss Symons, Head of Classics, and the Classics department.

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