At 8.45pm on Friday 26 January, the Michael Room of St Michael’s Church was a hubbub of animated conversation. So much so that it took five strategically placed ‘silencers’ with spoon and glass to try to break through the chatter and call for a moment’s pause, in order to introduce the entertainment for the night.
For the previous hour over 100 guests had been enjoying the annual Bedford Park Society Winter Party. Smartly dressed waiting staff in Bedford Park green aprons glided around the room serving fizz and canapés, helped by the Society’s Road Representatives who were also circulating with a bottle or two. The atmosphere was extremely convivial, but it was about to ramp up a gear.
On stage were 20 members of the cast of the Arts Ed’s latest production – Priscilla Queen of the Desert. To gasps of delighted surprise from the guests, they launched into a high octane run through of the show’s finale numbers. The Arts Educational Schools London is on our doorstep in Bath Road and rightly deserves its reputation as the leading drama school in the UK for musical theatre. The cast of Priscilla were no exception. Not only did they treat the crowd to a rousing encore but the students also stayed on to chat – charming as well as talented. Some photos of the performance are shown below. You can also watch a brief video clip – https://youtu.be/5ZQBpj_1FRw
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
This year the raffle was replaced by a simple free prize draw of a bottle of champagne and aged whiskey – kindly donated by Society Treasurer Simon Baddeley.
Behind the scenes a lot of hard work went into the event from a largely new Events team, which certainly appears to have paid off from the comments received: ‘The best Winter Party ever,’ ‘Best food, best drink, best entertainment ever,’ ‘Many congratulations to the delightful team together with the brilliant Arts Ed students, a brilliant surprise,’ ‘It was excellent – food, wine, presentation, ambience, entertainment – difficult to know how it could be improved’ and ‘The team put on a very slick event… rounded off perfectly by the troupe from Arts Ed singing to us. I would say there was a generational shift as well amongst the guests.’
The Winter Party once again helped us celebrate one of the Society’s core objectives – reflecting the original spirit of Bedford Park – to build a greater sense of community and help members meet others in the local community.
The Arts Ed students played a large part in the success of the event. If you would like to support the Arts Ed as a Friend and receive advance notice and priority access to future performances, you can find out more on their website.
Thanks to the hardworking members of the Society’s Events Committee for organising the party and all the food, to those Road Reps who helped on the night and to Aly Nazerali for photographs and the video – Aly Nazerali, Visual Storyteller.
A selection of photos below record guests enjoying the event and some of the behind the scenes preparations. Click on the photos to enlarge them.