Shrewsbury School

Bentley Final produces a Rolls-Royce night of poetry

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Winners of this year’s Bentley Elocution Prize, one of the oldest school competitions, now in its 153rd year, have been crowned.

Following in the intrepid footsteps of Michael Palin - a previous winner - were 15 finalists, whose task was to entrance an audience with recitations of poetry by heart.

We were treated to a spell-binding evening of poetry from Shakespeare and Hopkins to Bob Dylan and Edward J.G. Bayliss (Rt) – current president of the Creative Writing Society – whose poem ‘Isandlwhana’ was recited by fellow Ridgemountaineer, Orlando Williams.

For the second year running, the performances were judged by acclaimed actor Rufus Wright, who has starred in major productions from the West End to Hollywood. His comments, full of generous and acute advice, proved yet again to be an expert guide to public speaking for all in the Maidment. We were extremely lucky to enjoy the benefit of his insights into how to make high-pressure performance unmissable.

He awarded the main laurels of the night to Rider Hartley (Ch) for a heart-felt performance of Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’ in the Senior Category; Kate Woodman’s (M) alert performance of Hopkins’ ‘A Caged Skylark’ won the Fourth Form Category and Henry Clark (R) was awarded the Third Form prize for his moving recitation of stanzas from ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’, translated by Edward Fitzgerald.

Highly commended were Luke Williams (SH) in the Third Form; Ed Pickersgill (R) and Laurie Morgan (Rb) in the Fourth Form; Orlando Williams (Rt) was runner-up in the Senior Prize.

Many thanks to Dr Law for his stewardship and authoritative administration of the competition.

Congratulations to all involved for ensuring fantastic high standards. The Bentley roars on.

Mr Fraser-Andrews

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