Pupils delivered another exciting day of House drama followed by a sell-out evening of entertainment for parents as all four Houses competed for this year’s Dixon Cup.

The event started in the morning with the whole school gathering to watch some friendly but competitive House rivalry as pupils took part in various categories in a bid to win the trophy for their House.  After a very full day of performances, parents had the opportunity to come along in the evening to see the highlights.

Over half of the school’s pupils took part in this year’s competition with lots of planning and preparations for the different performances, all of which were produced and in some cases written completely by the pupils themselves.

Head of English Edward Jopling explains: “The competition has categories for public speaking, videos, set scenes, dance and group drama performances.  The standard of entry is always very high and once again so many of our pupils were involved, creating and delivering performances that were entertaining, interesting, sometimes humorous, skillful, dramatic and moving.  This year we were delighted to welcome experts from the world of drama and dance, Carol Molin and Kerry Perks, to independently judge the performances for us.”

The public speaking section was divided into three age categories, with Year 9 pupil Travis Wood  from Talbot House winning the junior section for his speech on “What defines a real hero: Can you compare the status of a premiership footballer with a wounded war veteran.”

Year 11 pupil Isaac Hampton took the middle school prize for Webb House with “We have nothing to fear except fear itself”  and in the senior category victory went to Talbot Lower Sixth pupil Nihal Basha with his speech “We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other” (JB Priestley). Each speech was confidently delivered and extremely thought provoking.

The video category allows the pupils to show their creative skills from script writing through to acting, filming and editing. Despite fierce competition Clive House stole the spotlight with their extremely humorous take on the Apprentice with long-standing Geography teacher Mr North putting in a guest performance as Sir North and tasking the pupils to raise funds for a much needed new pavilion.

For the set scene part of the competition the four Houses were each given a different scene from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The standard was extremely high but following last year’s success, Darwin once again stole the show with their superb acting and professional presentation of Scene one.

The dance category is one of the highlights of the event and is always much enjoyed by the pupils, parents and staff with large numbers of pupils taking part for their House. Despite some strong competition, Talbot House once again claimed victory with dances that reflected America through the ages.

In the group presentation category all four Houses were given free rein to produce a thought provoking and entertaining group production – devised, scripted and directed entirely by the pupils themselves. The overall winners were Darwin House with their Doctor Who performance, with a visit to the future revealing Adams’ Grammar to be over-run by zombies.  A quick trip back in time to visit his old friend Charles Darwin followed by a trip forward to Central Quadrilateral and Doctor Who and his loyal assistant quickly had the mystery solved and life at Adams’ was restored to normal!

The tension at the end of the evening was electric as everyone awaited the announcement of the winning House by Headmaster Gary Hickey. With the final scores collated, Darwin House was announced the overall winner and awarded the Dixon Cup trophy for 2017. Darwin was  also awarded the Mason Trophy for best Group Presentation while Talbot House received the Baker Cup for the best dance.

Head of Darwin House Sara Bowater commented on her House’s success: “Darwin House is thrilled to have won this year’s Dixon Cup.  Tremendous amounts of hard work went on behind the scenes for weeks and I thank our parents for their patience and also support during this time.  Darwin’s front team, led by Hugo Paul (House Captain) and Elliott Gupta (Arts Captain), have inspired and motivated the House so that over half the pupils were involved in some shape or form within the competition.  I am extremely proud of all of my pupils who have taken part and their achievements.”

Headmaster Gary Hickey added:   “The Dixon Cup is always an amazing event. There is an incredible feeling of excitement and anticipation in the weeks leading up to the competition with a truly electrifying atmosphere on the day, which we are able to share with parents in the evening.  The pupils work really hard on their performances and it is always wonderful to see the older pupils working with and involving the younger pupils, all desperate to win that all important cup for their House.  For some of the pupils it is the first time they have ever been on stage, performing in front of the whole school community of 1,000 people and that is an incredible achievement. My thanks to all those who have helped to make this year’s competition another great success and many congratulations to this year’s winners, Darwin House.”