Refounders and Military Formal
Every year we celebrated our military heritage and our Refounders (those who resurrected Cuth's after it was disbanded during WWII) at our annual Formal Dinner.
This year we were lucky enough to be joined by several Refounders and military personnel. Following a suptuous three course meal we were treated to short speeches from our guests: Albert Hodgson, a student here in the early 1950s, stated that all Cuthspeople would become leaders in one way or another due to their experience at the Society, and encouraged the students to go for their goals; Revd Colin Colclough, one of the original Refounders of 1948, spoke movingly of the great honour he felt at being back amongst friends at St Cuthbert's and of the diversity of company he enjoyed during his time here; finally Brigadier Charles Herbert unashamedly attempted to recruit all of the attendees into the service of the country, speaking on the importance of devotion to the country and the brave men and women protecting us all every day.
The choir ended the evening with two songs: 'The Bonnie Lass o' Fyvie', about a soldier who falls in love; and 'The Golden Vanity' about a sailor who swims alongside the enemy's boat to drill holes in the bottom and sinks it!
Harry Potter Themed Formal
On Tuesday 4th November the Dining Hall at 12 South Bailey was transformed into the Great Hall at Hogwarts as Cuth's held its first ever Harry Potter Themed Formal.
Guests entered the hall through a wall of bricks, as if breaking through Platform Nine and Three Quarters, and were met by candlelit tables divided into each of the four houses. High Table guests included Remus Lupin, Lucius Malfoy (both pictured), and Bellatrix Lestrange, with an opening speech from Gilderoy Lockhart (who in his spare time also happens to be Dr Martin Richardson, convenor of Durham's module, 'Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion').The Hall also contained the Sorting Hat and a giant cardboard cut-out of Severus Snape.
Not even the serving staff could resist dressing up; they donned gowns with glasses, scars, witch's hats and Gryffindor scarves, and magically made students stand with a simple swish of a wand and the words 'wingardium leviosa'.The feast was complemented by enchanting singing from two Cuth's witches (view a clip here) who performed songs with lyrics linked to the wizarding world.
The Shakespeare Formal
Wednesday 7th May saw the birth of what is sure to become a new Cuth’s tradition: The Shakespeare Formal. Marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, albeit a few weeks late, the dress code was strictly Shakespearean, and it was clear that a great amount of imagination and careful consideration had gone into everyone’s costumes, which ranged from fairy flower-garlands to cross-gartered stockings. The menu had an Elizabethan twist, as did the entertainment: the Choir sang two pieces of Shakespeare’s writing that have since been put to music, and our Writer in Residence, Paul Batchelor, captivated us all with his wonderful dramatic reading of a favourite Shakespearean passage. The cherry on top of the cake came in the form of a song performed by SCR members from the English Department, led by Dr Patrick Gray, who gave their own Durham rendition of ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’. Those of you who weren’t lucky enough to experience this first-hand can view it by clicking here (many of you who were present will no doubt desire to see it again!).
Dining in the Dark Formal
We regularly hold highly successful Dining in the Dark Formals, in which attendees ware blindfolded at the table and are therefore forced to guess what they are eating using tastebuds alone. This is never an easy task, due to the creativity of the catering team, who present dishes such as courgette and tarragon soup, sea salted cod wrapped in Parma ham with pea puree and sweet tomato sauce, and fabulous popcorn ice cream with dark chocolate ganache. Moreover, the catering staff have now perfected the art of serving us helpfully without giving anything away (e.g. 'your first course is in front of you with the handle facing right')! The evening raises money for the County Durham Talking Newspaper through the sale of eyemasks.
Our stars must glister with new fire, or be
Today extinct; our argument is love,
Which if the goddess of it grant, she gives
Victory too. Then blend your spirits with mine,
You whose free nobleness do make my cause
Your personal hazard; to the goddess Venus
Commend we our proceeding, and implore
Her power unto our party.William Shakespeare, Two Noble Kinsmen, read by Paul Batchelor at the Shakespeare Formal