Reading Blue Coat School held a networking event for past and present students this week to launch their new art exhibition at the Old Fire Station Gallery. ‘Old Blues,’ as they are fondly called, attended the event to talk to and inspire current students.
The event, organised by Head of Art, Liz Garvey, gave the school an opportunity to showcase the work of their students and also celebrate the achievements of their alumni. Jenny Butterworth, Marketing and Communications Manager at Reading Blue Coat, said, “It is a celebration of everything.” She went on to explain that the exhibition showcases all the good work that goes on across the school in art, drama and music.
Certainly, it was a lively atmosphere with Year 12 students playing a range of popular songs, a varied and impressive display of artwork, and an engaged and inspired crowd.
Jenny continued, “This evening is particularly about the Old Blues because we are really keen to build a relationship with the alumni and to reach out to them to inspire current students.” She also said that the exhibition allows the school to reach out to the wider community and as an example, Rupert House school will be visiting to do a workshop focused on artwork and props for their musical Oliver. Jenny said, “We are reaching out to the community to show what we are proud of.”
Sarah Bunnell-Pyper, Foundation Director, really hopes the event will encourage students to network with the Old Blues because that is a big part of the arts. She said, “We are hoping some connections are made. Old Blues are amazing and really want to help and give back.” The Old Blues are from a range of industries in the arts, including, Lighting Technicians, Artists, Fashion Designers, most notably, Stewart Parvin, the former Royal Couturier, Theatre Directors and Performers, and Television Directors. Those who attended were from across all years with some leaving the school in the 1980s to those who left as recently as 2019. Sarah added, “We are proud to facilitate the event.”
Sarah talked with warmth and pride about the alumni who kindly gave their time to talk to students at the event, and emphasised how important it is that they still feel part of the Reading Blue Coat community. She said, “There is a Bluecoat feeling of warmth and welcoming. We do say, it should be like coming home. That’s why we call them the Old Blues.”
Liz Harvey opened the event and asked the Old Blues to introduce themselves before students were put into groups where they would have the opportunity to talk to Old Blues from industries that may possibly be of interest in the future. She thanked the students for coming, and commended them for attending something they were not entirely sure about. She said, “You have taken a chance to be curious.”
It was a convivial and inspiring atmosphere in a packed gallery as Old Blues shared their stories and successes with eager students. A great event, hosted with pride by Reading Blue Coat School.
The exhibition is open for the general public to visit from Thursday 2 March until Monday 6 March from 10am – 4pm each day.