Trefor recently returned to Bradfield to attend the 1850 Society Annual Gathering, which centred on this year’s Greek Play and the Greek Theatre. “Alcestis this year was a wonderful experience, as were Antigone and Persae. Seeing Greeker being used for what it was intended is really something”.
During a short presentation given to the members of the Society, Trefor detailed the poor condition the theatre had been in when he arrived. A place which had been the dramatic heartbeat of the College since the late 1800s was reduced to crumbling concrete steps and surveys showed the vast wooden pillars which fronted the grand temple building, were completely rotten at the base.
“It was in a terrible state. Nothing fundamentally had been done to the structure since it was built. The aesthetics had been enhanced and cleaned so it looked presentable for annual plays and Commemoration, but structurally it had deteriorated.”
Shortly after his arrival at the College he was forced to recommend the decision to shut the theatre down.
“We had no choice but to close it and thankfully the Council were very supportive of the recommendation that I had to make to them. The focus was very much at that point not just to close it, but to think about how we could go about restoring and reopening it.”
Trefor arrived during a transformative time for Bradfield as it began its journey to becoming a leading coeducational boarding school. The target was to raise pupil numbers from 650 to 800 and the campus had to be updated to facilitate this transformation. One of the initial problems that the former Bursar, the College and Council faced in their bid to save Greeker was that this was but one of a large number of projects on the College’s ‘to do’ list.
The College’s priority at that time lay in funding projects essential to the growth of the academic and pastoral offering including renovation of the Science, Languages and History Departments, extension of boarding houses and increasing the capacity of Faulkner’s.
“The College does not have significant endowment and it is therefore imperative to fundraise for projects, like the renovation of the Greek Theatre, which has enriched the lives of the pupils beyond their academic education. The fund-raising was managed by The Development Office, in coordination with The Bradfield Foundation and without their support we would not have been able to do a number of these projects and some would have taken many more years to materialise.”