Award-winning poet, playwright and novelist visits Bedales

Posted on 18th September 2018

Bedales students’ writing skills were given a boost last week when the critically acclaimed poet Simon Armitage delivered a creative workshop ahead of his sold out event at the school’s Olivier Theatre.

Armitage, whose accolades include a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for song writing in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings, engaged students in a range of exercises, including one in which they were required to write continuously for two minutes – with interesting results.

Sixth Form student Alex Lunn, who took part in the workshop, said: “After the exercise in which we had to write non-stop for a couple of minutes, we were told to pause and read our examples.

“They were certainly not the finished product, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Writing is best in its purest form. There is time for editing – and punctuation even! – later.”

Another exercise saw students draft a poem. However, rather than give them free rein to write about a subject of their choice, Armitage instructed participants to focus their work on something more monotonous.

Alex commented: “When Simon would say ‘make it about a surprising object in the left-hand corner’, you could hear the class groan. 

“You could sense this was the reaction Simon wanted. Constraints help to illuminate a path of simple creativity. Writing about the dull might just end up being the most inspirational.”

Armitage’s workshop was followed by a much-anticipated event at the Olivier Theatre, where the renowned poet read pieces of his own work before taking questions from the audience.

The event was hosted as part of the Bedales Events programme, which welcomes a range of speakers, drama productions and music concerts to the school every term, making them accessible to Bedales students as well as the public. For more information about the Events Season and to book tickets, visit

Simon Armitage | Bedales Events