Mayfield’s Conservatory for the Arts biennial “Arts Immersion” trip packed all this and much more into an unforgettable, 10-day adventure over spring break that exposed 41 students to Catholic history, our Holy Child heritage and deep arts experiences. Not to mention a trip to the Harry Potter set at Warner Bros. Studios London!
“I had never been out of the country before and this was such an amazing experience,” said Abby Gagnier ’20. “I made so many new friends and learned so much—the museums, seeing Matilda, the Magna Carta…everything!”
Conservatory for the Arts Chair Sam Robinson envisioned the Arts Immersion trip as a pilgrimage of sorts to expose students to the diverse world of arts studied in our signature Conservatory programs, including visual arts, music, drama and technical theatre.
“In planning these trips, the arts faculty looks for locations with a strong connection to the Catholic faith and to Cornelia as well,” Mr. Robinson said. “Our first two trips were to Italy, where we visited the school she lived in prior to starting her own school in England, along with locations like the Vatican and Assisi. Our last trip was to Spain, where we did a student exchange at a local Catholic school.”
The England trip started with a lovely visit to our namesake school, Mayfield
in East Sussex. Mother Cornelia Connelly founded the original Mayfield School in 1872 and its oldest buildings date from the 14th century. When Mayfield visited Mayfield, our girls stayed in the school’s dorms and were given a special tour by students of their overseas sister school.
And they noticed some familiar posters and around the school.
“They have ‘Actions Not Words’ hanging around their campus,” said Sophia Labrador ’21. “I was like, ‘Hey, we have that too!’”
For many students, the magic of their first novels came alive at the Warner Bros. Studio tour of The Making of Harry Potter, where the fictional wizard’s original sets, costumes, and behind-the-scenes secrets of their favorite YA story were revealed. Plus, they got to video themselves riding a ride a broomstick thanks to green screen technology.
Abby said she was awestruck by the opportunity to see original manuscripts, including the Magna Carta, at the British Library.
“Then I saw the original, handwritten music for Sumer Is Icumen In….I used to sing that song!”
Their visit to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre included an acting workshop that got students on their feet reciting in iambic pentameter.
“I love to read Shakespeare, but I have never acted it out,” said Sophia Alvarez ’19, who participated in scenes from Romeo and Juliet. “It was so meaningful to experience the emotion of the play in this way.”
They crossed Abbey Road as the Beatles did for their 1969 record album of the same name, viewed Stonehenge in the chilly rain and toured 700-year-old Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
Our their final night they took in a modern perspective on the London Eye, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, to view the remarkable city in what was—as the Brits would perhaps say—a terribly, terribly awe-inspiring and unforgettable journey.