Last October, Oundle’s Theatre Director, Naomi Jones visited Kenya with a group of pupils spending time with the children at Ngecho School in Gilgil. Ngecho was founded in 2006 by Harambee Schools Kenya (HSK) to provide children with affordable secondary education. Over the past decade Ngecho has grown rapidly to 350 students and is considered one of the best schools in the Naivasha District.
Classrooms, science labs, and toilet blocks have all been constructed, but one project remains incomplete: the construction of an assembly hall. Funds have now been secured to start work on a 25-metre hall where assemblies, exams and dining will take place and building is due to start at the end of January.
Oundle School would like to raise a further £33,000 to build a stage at the far end of the hall complete with backstage facilities, comprising of two dressing rooms, two toilets and a storage space above.
Naomi commented, “It will be a mini Stahl in Kenya! £10,000 has already been raised - now we are seeking your support to reach our target.”
Beyond the cultural and artistic benefits of such a project, sustainability remains a key dilemma in any charitable venture. Once operational, Ngecho School will also be able to hire out the hall and stage for local and national events, thereby providing the school with an income stream.”
If you would like to donate you can select the ‘make a donation’ option when buying your theatre tickets online. All proceeds will go to HSK (Charity number: 01078592)
For £50 you can buy a block of ‘Stahl Kenya’. A corresponding block will be inscribed with your name on a wall of the foyer in the Stahl Theatre, Oundle for all to see.
To buy a block go to: https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/hsk/stahlkenya
For any further information please call Naomi Jones on 01832 277300 or email email@example.com
Background information about The Stahl Theatre
Director: Naomi Jones
The Stahl Theatre first opened its doors to the public in March 1980 following the generous bequest of Rodolphe Stahl who was a pupil at the School at the turn of the Century. The theatre is owned and managed by Oundle School and is run by a team of dedicated technicians, many of who come from a professional theatre background. The Stahl houses both School productions and visiting professional theatre companies which last year included Out of Joint, Paines Plough and New Perspectives. The Stahl is very much a theatre for the whole community and all productions are open to everybody. It is also used by Oundle International Music Festival in the summer months, by the local junior school, and by groups such as the Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
The Stahl Theatre was once a Congregational Church. The consultant’s brief when converting the building was to design a theatre of professional standard that could be effectively run by pupils. Over the interim thirty-five years the standard of the equipment has been constantly updated to keep up with changes in theatrical production. But the centrality of the pupil experience remains constant. They are still involved in all forms of theatre work: constructing and painting sets and properties, stage management, costumes, lighting and sound design as well as acting and directing. Regular sessions are run each week in each area and pupils then sign up for particular roles in a production.
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports MasterPlan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion which opened in April 2015 and new astroturfs due to be completed this year.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11.