Bloomsbury: House Formal Dinner Celebrates Diversity
The girls of Bloomsbury House recently hosted a dazzling formal dinner that included rousing speeches by alumni and a dizzying array of musical talent.
At 6pm sharp, the evening began with the girls and their guests filing into Upper Dicker’s Church of the Holy Trinity dressed in their finery to enjoy the House’s annual Evensong.
Speaking passionately about the importance of diversity, the theme for the evening, Reverend Buckler shared anecdotes encompassing racism in South Africa and stories of discrimination including over wealth, sexual identity and religious faith.
“If the spirit of diversity lives within us,” he concluded, “it will shine out from our hearts like gold.”
Elsewhere during the Evensong service, Bloomsbury musicians including Upper Fifth girls Rosa Marks and Imogen Lock, and House Music Best Solo-winning First Year pupil Daisy Noton, also performed. In doing so, these young women set the tone for what soon revealed itself to be a memorable and melody-filled evening.
After the service had concluded, the 80-strong crowd made the short walk to the Recital Room, which had been decorated with a Cluedo-inspired Murder Mystery theme by the Lower Sixth Bloomsbury House pupils earlier that day.
The girls and their invitees then settled in for a further two hours of discourse, entertainment and fine dining, a highlight of which was the speech by guest of honour, 2014 alumnus and ex-Head of Bloomsbury Annabel Martirossian.
Annabel spoke passionately both about diversity in general and about how her gender had affected her own experiences as a budding female engineer.
“Out of the 140 students currently studying Engineering alongside me at Warwick,” Annabel said, “I am one of four girls. People outside Bede’s have consistently presumed that because I am female I will want to study lighter, more creative subjects.
"As we all know however, girls and young women are capable of anything they put their minds to, no matter how people might want to perceive us. And, let’s be honest, we are probably better at most things than the boys!”
Aside from Annabel’s affectionate, amusing and thoughtful speech, during which she also detailed the confidence and support Bloomsbury House had given her during her time at Bede’s, attendees including Deputy Heads Mr Tuson and Ms Woollett, and Dorms Housemaster Mr Juniper, were treated to a number of other thoughtful entertainments.
These diversions encompassed icebreaker quiz questions for each table to complete together to a highly amusing challenge based around matching the current Upper Sixth Bloomsbury girls to their baby photos.
Possibly the most inspiring aspect of the evening was the musical accompaniment however, which included Amber Giles singing Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’, Imogen Hooker singing Sia’s ‘Titanium’, and Charlotte Webb singing ‘The Fools Who Dream’ from the La La Land soundtrack.
These performances then culminated with a revival of the House Music 2014’s Best House Band-winning act, which saw Head of School Talisker Cornford and fellow Sixth Formers Ruby Moody, Anna Dagwell and Ella Clayton performing with Emile Epianoff, Matthew Grant and Ollie Prosper, with the cohort getting the whole room tapping their toes to Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good.’
The dinner then concluded with two knockout speeches from outgoing Head of House Rosalind Manning, who spoke movingly about the diversity of Bloomsbury and its significance to her, and Housemistress Mrs Leggett, who detailed how her youth in Northern Ireland left her with a profound sense of how discrimination can blight the lives of whole communities.
“My family may have been welcoming to both Catholics and Protestants, but as a girl I was afraid to sit next to Catholics on the bus for fear of what that might mean for me,” Mrs Leggett explained.
“It may be hard to imagine considering the progress our society has made in the years since, but it is important that we never forget how lucky we are to be part of a school community that celebrates difference and all of those things which makes each of us special.”