Bohemian members of staff

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Ajarn Philip
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Bohemian members of staff

Post by Ajarn Philip »

From another thread, re Nell Todd:
In spite of my criticism, I agree that she was a pleasant person and clearly the only staff member who could be considered a Bohemian. Her clothing was colourful, always loose and often peasant-like in style. However most striking was her décolleté.
"Her décolleté"?? I certainly have no recollection of that! :shock:

But that post led me to wonder whether there were any other staff members who could be considered bohemian. I'm defining that as flamboyant, eccentric, unconventional, avant-garde and artistic. The only person that immediately springs to mind is Nick Plumley. I didn't have that much to do with him, though he had the good judgement to make me captain of the under-12s cricket team for one game, and then the even better sense to drop me after 2 golden ducks. I blamed the wicket and the opposition's Indian leg spinner...

I've just looked him up and note he was still in his 20s when I started at CH, though I don't ever remember thinking of him as a young man (to the extent that I thought of him at all). Duncan Noel-Payton? Possibly, but I think he was too theatre-centric to be truly bohemian.

Any other candidates?
Phil Underwood Ma A Col A Mid B 69-75
loringa
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Re: Bohemian members of staff

Post by loringa »

No - I think DNP would probably qualify as Bohemian; he was certainly very flamboyant and, whilst I wasn't a fan, stamped his personality on every aspect of the theatre. One thing he did which made a big impression on me was to bring in ballet Rambert and the London Contemporary Dance Theatre to perform in the Theatre though, if I recall correctly, they rehearsed in the Scout Hall. CH was, at the time, still a single sex institution with few women of any age on the staff and relatively few staff members' daughters, certainly in residence during term time. The young women of BR and LCDT certainly helped brighten the place up though obviously I would have been quite incapable of engaging any of them in conversation.

I am not sure I would have considered NMP to have been Bohemian; the only other possible candidates might have been Dr 'Pinky' Palmer - well, he wore pink shirts which was fairly avant garde in the Christ's Hospital of the 1970s, and perhaps Mr Penny, head of art, though I possibly only think this because he was head of art and that would nicely fit the stereotype. Otherwise, the Staff were all a pretty conservative bunch. Thinking about it, John Robson wore purple socks which we all thought was because he wanted to be a bishop. The story was that he was eventually offered the diocese of Argyll and the Isles but the story is probably apocryphal.
Straz
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Re: Bohemian members of staff

Post by Straz »

I think DNP would definitely qualify as bohemian.
While he wasn't outlandish in his clothes, he was certainly a free and adventurous spirit and a huge breath of fresh air when he arrived at CH (circa 1972-ish?) as head of drama.
With a bubbly personality and a youthful exuberance that was infectious, his attitude was very much give things a go - you won't know if you like them unless you do, and, you never know, you might enjoy them.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't think of a single master at CH in the early 1970s who had that carefree attitude.
CH was still a single-sex school when DNP arrived. I think he was fairly aghast that boys were required to dress up as women to portray female roles in most drama productions, and I'm sure he was determined to change this sorry state of affairs, asap.
That's why girls - including daughters of CH staff members and some students from Horsham High School for Girls - were in the cast of 'Indians', his first production in Big School, playing officers' wives and so on. It was a complete revelation at the time and that huge sea change continued with future DNP productions, now at the newly opened theatre.
I'm not so sure about NMP. Bohemian, possibly. He was my history master for one year, and while he had a relaxed, friendly attitude and his lessons were often very enjoyable, there was always an element that he might suddenly switch modes and haul you over the coals for some misdemeanour or other.
Mind you, I do recall a classic moment when NMP suddenly passed wind most audibly at the front of the class. He turned a bright shade of pink, and we all laughed... including NMP!
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LongGone
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Re: Bohemian members of staff

Post by LongGone »

“ CH was still a single-sex school when DNP arrived. I think he was fairly aghast that boys were required to dress up as women to portray female roles in most drama productions, and I'm sure he was determined to change this sorry state of affairs, asap. ”

Though back then the school was renown for its accurate use of boys in female roles in Shakespearean plays.
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Straz
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Re: Bohemian members of staff

Post by Straz »

“ CH was still a single-sex school when DNP arrived. I think he was fairly aghast that boys were required to dress up as women to portray female roles in most drama productions, and I'm sure he was determined to change this sorry state of affairs, asap. ”

Though back then the school was renown for its accurate use of boys in female roles in Shakespearean plays.

-----

Point taken.

However I believe that up until DNP's arrival at CH in the early 70s, I think it was rare that girls were involved in most CH drama productions at Horsham.
DNP changed that. And it was a big sea change...
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