For an independent school Abingdon is not a place with a great deal of “public school” jargon. However unique to Abingdon is its use of the term the “Other Half” to mean the extra-curricular side of school life. It encapsulates the notion that what a boy does in the classroom is only half of the reason he’s at the school and only half of what is going to be important to him as he matures.
Abingdon’s “Other Half” is impressive by any standards with its range of over 120 activities. Sport no doubt is of importance to many boys but there is also a vast range of other pursuits. For some, it is the excitement and comradeship of the CCF and DofE, for others it’s the cerebral challenges of Chess or the thrill of playing in an orchestra. One really distinctive feature of life at Abingdon is that a boy does not have to dedicate himself to one thing: he can have a variety of identities.
In terms of the creative arts, opportunities outside of the classroom are legion. For the budding thespian, there are an average of eight productions per year - and you don’t have to be doing Drama at GCSE or Theatre Studies at A Level to participate.
Almost all these productions are in collaboration with our sister school St Helen’s and the range on offer caters for those just beginning to take their first acting steps right up to those keen to take centre stage. Or perhaps cinema is your thing? Formed in 2003, the Abingdon Film Unit has produced over 100 short films, a number of which have won awards and been screened at the NFT and at various festivals, in the UK and abroad. Boys benefit from tuition from industry professionals and the film presentation evening each year is a highlight not to be missed.
If performance is not quite for you, the creative urges of nascent writers and journalists are well served by the writing opportunities available under the English department’s aegis. If it’s newspaper writing you’re after, then there’s The Blazer in Lower School moving onto The Martlet for Middle School and upwards. If you’re wanting something a little more edgy and magazine-like, then Words & That is where you’ll find yourself. For the real highbrow journos, there’s the official school magazine, of course, The Abingdonian, with its brief to act as a chronicle of the year.
There’s not room enough to cover the amazing range of musical and choral ensembles the boys participate in, or the Art or DT activities. It’s a delight to see the creative arts prosper with a vibrant, vivid life at the school. Abingdon is often associated with the strength of its sport, but it would be true to say that for many, many Abingdonians, their sport is only the ‘other half’ of their “Other Half”.
See video snippets of the Other Half Activities.