In early May, First and Second Form (Year 7 and 8) pupils from Oundle School set a new record for the number of pupils on stage at Oundle’s Stahl Theatre with the forty-eight strong cast of Fantastic Mr Fox. Playing rabbits, moles, weasels, badgers, and of course foxes, all gathered together at a celebratory feast marking Fantastic Mr Fox’s heroic outwitting of hated farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
Theatre and performance Director, Naomi Jones commented, “This tremendous ensemble were onstage throughout the performance, brilliantly supporting the story-telling with many enthusiastic choruses of ‘Digga Digga Dig’!”
The story of Mr Fox’s triumph was retold to the audience and the on-looking animals by the charismatic Mr Badger and his wife, expertly portrayed by Ned Freij (12) and Mya Onyett (13). To set the feast-day scene, this energetic performance opened with a dance which involved the whole company, brilliantly choreographed by Lower Sixth Form pupil, Molly May-Keston (16), with live piano accompaniment from music teacher, Sarah Ratchford.
Saul Agar Ward (15) was exceptional as the mischievous Mr Fox alongside his rather more pragmatic and matriarchal Mrs Fox- a role which Abi Slade (12) carried off with aplomb. The villainous farmers were vividly depicted by Penny Hodgson (12), Oliver Bould (13) and Ally Nelson (13).
The set, complete with enormous tree which dramatically fell at the end of act one, was as ingenious as it was aesthetically pleasing. Designed by Paul Laughton and lit by Red Desmond, the set looked wonderful, providing a fitting backdrop for the outstanding costumes and make-up designed by Jo Henderson. The production was directed by Naomi Jones and Molly May-Keston.
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015.
There are currently 1100 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.