The Cultural Programme at Chesterhouse is integral to our educational philosophy. It is an essential part of a holistic education immersing our pupils in activities that strongly develop creativity and confidence. There is no greater achievement than watching a pupil flourish in confidence and enthusiasm as they try the various programmes on offer and discover their individual talents.
The Culture Portfolio is made up of many different areas at Chesterhouse and we are very fortunate to have a range of very capable and talented staff members who work alongside our pupils developing and establishing their talents.
The Chesterhouse Music School (CMS) under the direction of Sujana Van der Merwe ensures that all musical talents are explored. Pupils receive individual tuition in a variety of instruments. Class Music is also taught until Grade 8 with the assistance of Sonja Love in the Junior School. Chesterhouse School boasts three choirs, ably run by Leoni Beelders and Sonja Love, and hosts various music concerts during the year as well as individual performances during school assemblies. For more information on the CMS, please click on the following link : Sujana Van der Merwe.
Drama is taught to the majority of our children in both the Junior School and College by Leandi Franken who equips the pupils with an excellent practical and theoretical background. In the Junior School a full school play is produced every second year, while in the College a smaller cast production occurs every year: be that a Shakespeare, a play based on a famous novel or even a revue. We are pleased to mention that Drama is now being offered as an IGCSE subject and we have high hopes for its future at Chesterhouse. For more information, please click on the following link: Leandi Franken
I run the Art Department in the College and am ably assisted by Brigitte Wiltshire and Meagan da Silva, in the Junior School who provide the College pupils with an excellent grounding in the basics. Art is offered at both IGCSE and AS Level and we pride ourselves in our excellent results. In 2011 one of our Matrics, Clerissa Visser, made history by achieving the Top AS Art mark in South Africa with 95%. The Art Department is also involved in a number of extra-mural activities, such as: designing backdrops for the College play, providing decorations for the Matric Dance and participating in the annual Tygerberg Eisteddfod and Matric Mural Art Competition. We also offer Art clinics after school to allow those pupils interested in improving their skills to work together in a relaxed environment. For more information on Art, please click on my link: Kerryann Collier.
We pride ourselves on our varied Cultural Programme. Inter House events such as Inter House Singing, One Act plays and Music evenings are annual events at Chesterhouse. We also ensure that our pupils enter all the competitions that are available including: The Tygerberg Eisteddfods, De Beers English Olympiad, Inter House Literary Quiz, Varsity College Quiz and the UN Debating Competition as well as the Fred Astaire Youth Dance Challenge, which is wonderfully run by Mrs Fran Johnson who turns pupils who have never danced before into graceful ballroom dancers. She has not only created quite a tradition at Chesterhouse, but was also the reason why our very own Martha Makanga and Andre Jooste won the competition in 2012.
In the Tygerberg and Cape Town Eisteddfods, we enter a full range of categories including: Vocal Solos, instrument playing, artworks, Dramatised Poetry and Prose, Creative Writing and Unprepared Reading in both English and Afrikaans.
Our teachers organise many different outings throughout the year to different well known venues: the Baxter Theatre, Maynardville, the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, the Artscape Theatre as well as Art Exhibitions in and around the city. We also ensure that culture travels abroad and organise an annual Cultural and Language tour of Paris-Antibes where our pupils spend time in France from exploring the magic city of Paris to a home stay in Antibes, exploring their school life and the many activities that the Mediterranean has to offer.
Language and Culture are also intrinsically intertwined and we are very proud of our outstanding results in our annual De Beers English Olympiad, run most efficiently by Estelle Snyders . We are also proud to offer an unique Culture Evening at Chesterhouse. Due to the success of our very first Afrikaans Kultuuraand, run by Marnel Agenbag, two years ago, she and Kim Davenport decided to combine both Afrikaans and French and the Afri-Frans Culture Evening was born. This proved to be a great success where guests were treated to a delightful 3 course French and Afrikaans fusion feast, while being entertained with song and dance by pupils and staff alike. We hope that this will now become yet another cultural tradition at Chesterhouse.
The Cultural Programme would not be so rich and diverse without the intense involvement of the following dedicated teachers who really go the extra mile to help our pupils excel:
- Sujana Van der Merwe – Tygerberg Eisteddfod Co-ordinator and the Director of Music at Chesterhouse
- Leandi Franken – Drama Teacher and Play Director in the Junior and College
- Estelle Snyders – in charge of De Beers English Olympiad programme and Head of Academics and the English Department
- Marnel Agenbag – in charge of the UN Debating Competition, Afri-Frans Evening and Head of the Afrikaans Department
- Kim Davenport – in charge of the Afri-Frans Evening and Head of the French Department
- Brigitte Wiltshire and Meagan da Silva – Art teachers in the Junior School
- Leoni Beelders – College Choir Master
- Sonja Love – Junior School Music teacher and Junior Choir Master
- Kim van der Merwe – in charge of the Varsity College Quiz and Inter House Literary Quiz
In addition to Mondays, we now have an hour set aside after school for cultural activities, allowing sportsmen and women to take part as well. I look forward to introducing your child to the many varied activities that make up our rich Cultural Portfolio and hope that they will seize the opportunity to play an active role in our Culture Portfolio. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Head of Culture and the Art Department
BA Fine Art (with honours in Art History) and English – Stellenbosch University;
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) – University of Cape Town;