Goodbye Mr Wills!

If you have ever received an email from Director of Drama, Nigel Williams, you will notice that there is a little picture at the bottom of the page, of a man in a fez, accompanied by the phrase “as if by magic”. In the World of Williams a lot happens “as if by magic” but those of us who work with him

would like everyone to know – just before he leaves us – that it isn’t magic at all… simply the product of someone who doesn’t know how to stop working. Nigel is leaving us this summer, after an incredible 16 years, to go to Chadwick School in Los Angeles – where we wish him all the best of everything.
But what has he done for us since he came to Gordonstoun in August 1996? With no
apologies for the long list, he has:
• Delivered excellent Drama lessons, of course, and
been a dedicated Duffus House tutor.
• Produced, directed and supported a million
curricular and extra-curricular productions in
school, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on tour
around the UK and America.
• Taken students to see professional theatre locally
and further afield to London, so they can get
the best experience of large-scale professional
• Re-produced MasterMind in Chapel every two years
with staff and student contestants.
• Scared us witless in his Sixth Form lectures on the
• Produced Staff Shows for everyone’s delight and
entertainment – and absolutely no embarrassment
at all!
• Brought YouTube into learning every week on a
Saturday morning.
• Been an avid supporter of the Eurovision Song

Most importantly, however, he was involved in the design and building of the new Ogstoun Theatre.
This is quite an important detail. Opened officially by The Princess Royal in Autumn 2005, Nigel
was central to literally putting the theatre on the Gordonstoun map, and “on the map” metaphorically too. Ogstoun Theatre provides an amazing, adaptable space for teaching the myriad classes that are
driven (by Nigel) daily, and transforms into a well-equipped specialist space, much admired by the numerous touring theatre groups. Gordonstoun has become well known for its excellence in the Performing Arts, and it is important that it is known how much Nigel has dedicated his time and effort to creating outstanding theatre. Sarah DaBell, Head of Dance, has been at Gordonstoun just a wee bit longer than Nigel, and so remembers the impact of “the early years”. One production that has great resonance is “Asleep Under the Dark Earth” – it was performed not only in the Services Centre (pre-Ogstoun Theatre days), but was Nigel’s first Gordonstoun production to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was also selected to play at the National Theatre, in London, as part of the BT
Connections festival.

“As if by magic”? No. By Nigel Williams

As You Wish June 2012

A word from the Director…

As You Wish is intended to be a loving homage to one of my all time favourite films from the 1980s – The Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner and based on the 1973 book by William Goldman. There was something endearing and self-aware yet witty and very poignant about it that made it appealing to both adults and children in a style that was later copied by films likeShrek and Stardust.

The story begins - Grandpa (Ben A) reads a story to his sick granddaughter (Nicola R) Off to the Kingdom of Florin

The young lovers Westley (Sam) and Buttercup (Ella) Westley is taken by the Real Dread Pirate Robert (Bethany F) and his gang

I thought that it would make a great adventure romp as a piece of theatre and a lovely way to finish my sixteen years here at Gordonstoun. I also thought that its spectacle and epic events would be a wonderful story to use to return to the Round Square and tell as an outdoor piece. If I could somehow work a way to include songs from favourite band, Take That, what a combination that would be!

Introducing Prince Humperdinck (Jolley) The King (Harry) and Queen (Ellie) announce Buttercup's engagement to Prince Humperdinck Buttercup is kidnapped by the giant Fezzik (Harry) and Inigo Montoya (Calum) the swordsman

So here we are… The weather has conspired against us throughout our two weeks of rehearsal and I quickly remembered why I have not directed a big outdoor show since 2003. However we have had enormous fun as a cast and company despite time pressure and weather and we have all laughed a lot: at each other, at our performances, at our accents, at our dancing, at our costumes, at Jolley’s legs. It is the laughter that I will long remember and take with me. What better way to finish my time and remember the amazing students and staff of Gordonstoun than with laughter and a smile? Well, sunshine would have helped!

Thank you for the magic memories, the laugher and the sunshine you have placed inside me for ever.

As you wish!
Mr W

The Man in Black makes an appearance The audience becomes embroiled in the sword fight

The story…

When a sick young girl (Nicola R) receives a visit from her doting grandfather (Ben A) who intends to read to her from his favorite book, she’s not exactly pleased to be extracted from her world of music and her beloved Take That. However, her mood quickly changes as she, along with the audoence, is transported to a place out of time… to Florin, a kingdom in the ultimate imaginary land, complete with dashing heroes, cowardly princes, grumpy giants, shrieking eels, rodents of unusual size, fancy swordfights, and yes…even some kissing.

Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen the Nasty (Ahmed Khalil) come together to plot The story continues

The Man in Black is unveiled by the Real Dread Pirate Robert Ratzo King of the Rat (Gabriella)

The lovely Buttercup (Ella W) learns that “As you Wish” really means “I Love You” when she falls for her charming farmhand, Westley (Sam R). While trying to seek his fortune, however, Westley disappears at sea, an apparent victim of the Real Dread Pirate Robert (Bethany F), who takes no prisoners.

A few years later, Buttercup, engaged to the oily Prince Humperdinck (Jolley G), is kidnapped by an oddball trio of rogues… brains, the wizard Vizzini (Hermione DM); brawn, the giant Fezzik (Harry H); and skill, the swordsman Inigo Montoya (Calum A). As they sail away toward the Cliffs of Insanity, they notice the pursuit of a man in black…and the adventure begins…

Prince Humperdinck surrounded by sycophantic beauties The Mariachi Band (Tom and Ian) sing Take That The Man in Black is delivered into the hands of the torturers, Ratchet (Georgie) and Crank (Gabriella)

As You Wish was the final production directed by Nigel Williams and ably supported and assisted by Laura Parker and Kim Barton, Baroque and Disco choreography by Sarah Dabell. The entire production was supported and helped by Hannah Capstick, all things technical created and worked by Rob Parker with musical support from Simon Burbury.

The story comes to a Happy Ending Prince Humperdinck gets his come-uppance

Everyone at Gordonstoun wishes Nigel and his family all the very best as they re-locate to Los Angeles where Nigel will shortly be taking up the post of Director of Drama at Chadwick School.