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Olivia Colman revisits Gresham's for Speech Day

Published on isbi School News dated Wednesday 3rd of July 2013

The Governors and Headmaster of Gresham's hosted their annual Speech Day on Saturday 29th June with guest speaker, Old Greshamian and BAFTA award winning actress Olivia Colman.

Gresham's Speech Day is a culmination of events to mark the Sixth Form Leavers last official day at the School, as well as an opportunity to celebrate their achievements over the year and wish them well in the next chapter of their academic or professional careers. Gresham's Headmaster, Mr Philip John praised the 2013 Leavers saying that this year was particularly special to him as it was the first year group he had had seen through to Sixth Form under his tenure as Headmaster.

The highlight of Speech Day this year was the arrival of Olivia Colman, best known for her roles in Broadchurch, Twenty Twelve and Peep Show. Olivia admitted she was very nervous before giving her speech, saying that it was the scariest thing she had ever done, standing up in front of her old school. She said, 'Gresham's, in many ways, made me the person I am today. It was the first place I ever acted. Crucially, it was the first place I wanted to act. Perhaps I wouldn't have been an actor at all if it weren't for Gresham's. And if it wasn't for the lovely Mr Paul Hands, I might still be wondering what I'm going to be 'when I grow up'.' Mr Hands (Head of Drama) was also mentioned in her BAFTA acceptance speech earlier this year. She admitted she wasn't the strongest academically but said that the School encouraged pupils to find what they loved, no matter how obscure, and 'have a crack at it'. She recalled her times as a boarder saying how she had begged her parents to let her board. She remembered that when she arrived 'everyone was so friendly and open and happy to help. It felt it feels now, looking back like I was learning one of life's great lessons: don't be afraid to ask questions.'

The School was honoured that Olivia was able to find time to visit Gresham's in her very busy schedule and reminisce about her former school days. Her parting advice to the 2013 School leavers was 'Life is like a pinball machine, you ping and bump about� remembering what you found fun and what made you unhappy will probably help you find out where you should go'.
Olivia Colman revisits Gresham's for Speech Day - Photo 1
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