Abingdon News No. 52

2 January 2020 Message from the Headmaster This term’s middle school play, Every Brilliant Thing , was a breathtaking highlight of the Michaelmas term. The production, directed by Jeremy Taylor, involved students from the Third and Fourth Years performing a play by Duncan McMillan and Jonny Donahoe (OA) in a radically reworked setting in the Amey Theatre, known as the Palletdrome. Although the play reflects on themes such as loss, suicide and depression, it is full of humour, music and laughter. To my surprise, the play also required a considerable degree of audience participation and I was struck by the sheer confidence that the actors showed in engaging so spontaneously with their audience. I was deeply impressed to see middle school students dealing with challenging issues with such sensitivity and delicacy and I felt it was an important staging-post as we try to encourage students to talk freely about their feelings and particularly about issues relating to their mental health. At some point in our lives, we are all likely to have to deal with some of the issues confronted in the play, and I want our students to leave Abingdon with the understanding that the best way to deal with such challenges is by facing them and talking about them. The play really connected with our approach to mental health as expressed by our Personal Development Education programme, in school and house assemblies and through talks such as the one given this term by the writer and activist Natasha Devon. I hope that the School can support wellbeing by allowing our students to discover and express themselves in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere. Every Brilliant Thing was a wonderful expression of that ethos. Michael Windsor, Headmaster Abingdon News Lower sixth physicists joined a group of Fitzharrys, Larkmead and John Mason students to travel to Harwell for an ‘Inside Diamond’ visit to the UK’s national synchrotron facility, the Diamond Light Source. Diamond Light Source Abingdon Film Academy Premier The first fruits of a new filmmaking partnership between Abingdon, Larkmead and Fitzharrys Schools received their premier at a joint screening of new films in Abingdon’s Amey Theatre. The Film Academy was launched in September 2018 to build on the success of the School’s Film Unit, and has enabled young people to make their own short films with guidance from a team of film professionals. Joining the Lords Debate Six members of Abingdon ATOM Festival’s Student Ambassador team, from St Helen’s, Larkmead and Abingdon, were given a unique opportunity to participate in the House of Lords annual public debate on the topic of ‘Reaching a Sustainable Future’.