MFL Week

17 October 2023

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The first subject-focused week of the academic year has taken place with a themed week on Fables, Folklore and Fairy Tales led by our MFL Department.

The highlights of this MFL week featured two immensely popular events: the MFL Symposium and the Hispanic Theatre Festival.

This year’s Symposium showcased the theme of the week, offering NLCS students and their counterparts from neighbouring schools a unique opportunity to delve into a diverse array of subjects.

The evening commenced with an engrossing keynote address by guest speaker Marie Martine, a DPhil student from Hertford College, Oxford. She delved deep into the captivating world of mermaids, exploring their evolving depictions throughout history and the symbolic richness they hold. Following this, students had the chance to attend various breakout sessions featuring NLCS department members and Jonathan Robinson from Dame Alice Owen’s School. These enlightening talks spanned topics in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, and Russian literature, as well as music.

Among the topics covered were ‘A Deep Dive into Chinese Fairy Tales and Legends,’ ‘Exploring Grand Fables of the Hispanic World,’ and ‘Narratives of Africana, Power, and Resurgence in Diaspora Folklore.’ After the breakout sessions concluded, students were invited to return to the main hall for a Q&A-style session, providing them with a platform to ask further questions to all staff involved in the symposium.

Now in its 11th year, the annual Hispanic Theatre Festival saw students from NLCS joined by their counterparts from Haberdashers’ Elstree Schools, St Paul’s Girls’ School, Wellington College, Harrow School, Sevenoaks School, Eton College, Tonbridge School, Reading School, Highgate School, University College School Hampstead, and Mill Hill School perform 10-minute pieces to a packed Performing Arts Centre and an esteemed panel of judges.

Following wonderful performances, the audience was treated to a musical interlude from NLCS students as the judges deliberated. Prizes were then awarded to schools in several categories, including Best Actor and Actress, Best Spoken Spanish, Best Original Play and Best Theatrical Experience. NLCS took home the prize of Best Playwright for their fantastic play La ultima Coca-Cola en el desierto written by Year 13 students, Anoushka and Ria.

We extend our thanks to all the participating schools for making this event truly exceptional. A special thank you is reserved for our dedicated judges, who generously devoted their time and expertise to this fantastic celebration of Hispanic Theatre.

Throughout the week, our student societies organised a series of engaging and thought-provoking events to celebrate this themed week. Notable highlights included the collaborative efforts of the Model United Nations (MUN) and Modern Foreign Language (MFL) societies, as they came together for a spirited debate on the topic of ‘Should fairy tales be prohibited for children due to the concept of ‘living happily ever after’?’

The Pure Sciences Society posed a fascinating question, ‘Why do some individuals acquire languages more rapidly than others?’ Meanwhile, members of the Middle School and Upper School Creative Writing club challenged their peers to craft their own imaginative conclusions to classic fairy tales, unleashing their creativity. To satisfy both the intellect and the palate, there was even a Great MFL Bake-off competition!

In addition to these engaging activities, students also attended a series of enlightening talks. Notably, Dr Joanna Raisbeck delivered a captivating lecture and engaged in a lively Q&A session on the theme of ‘A Folklore Classic and the English-Speaking World: Exploring Goethe’s Faust.’

Many thanks to the MFL Department, Polyglot and all our societies for organising such a brilliant week. These subject-focused weeks play a pivotal role in nurturing our students’ intellectual curiosity, providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in specific subjects and embark on a journey of deeper exploration.

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