St Catherine's Presents


Past Events

Technology: A Brave New World? Jacky Wright - 20th March 2019

A thought-provoking talk from Jacky Wright, Chief Digital Officer at HMRC, inspired us to question the status quo, listen to a broader range of voices and think creatively about how we might solve problems (with and without tech!)  She touched on the importance of a dynamic work environment, upward mentoring and giving back, and made working in government and the world of tech sound most exciting.

The Art of Motivation with Nicky Moffat CBE - 30th January 2019

"I I just wanted to give feedback on the recent talk from Nicky Moffat, which was not only about motivation, but also about what good leadership is.  I was also impressed with the questions from the audience, which were all well answered... although I also liked that she could not Theresa May any advice. A good honest answer." St Cat's Parent

"It was my pleasure to spend time with you all ... there was such a wonderful cross-section of questions from your spectacularly generationally-diverse audience! I left thinking that the education of the girls was in very fine hands."  Nicky Moffat CBE

The Band of the Welsh Guards - 3rd October 2018

A wonderful evening of rousing music and British tradition.  The Band was formed in 1915, the same year as the Regiment and its primary role is to support State and ceremonial events.  Regularly to be seen at the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the Band delivered a spectacular extravaganza on its return to St Catherine's.

'Talking Trump' with Gary O'Donoghue - 25th April 2018

The Auditorium was packed at the seams for 'Talking Trump'.  BBC News Washington Political Correspondent Gary O'Donoghue was interviewed by Sophie Edwards, Prep School teacher and life-long friend of Gary and the Revd Dr Benji McNair Scott.  Gary gave an insider view into the current state of politics in the US and the dynamics of life as a reporter in Washington.  He gave the audience a sense of the continually shifting priorities of the administration and the President's influence through social media of the daily news agenda.  Gary also shared his personal experience as a journalist with visual impairment and the challenges and opportunities this brings. Over £2,000 was raised for Gary's chosen charity ClearVision which provides braille translations of chidlren's books to allow sighted and visually impaired children and parents to read togehter. 

Dame Helen Ghosh – 31st January 2018

“What are the challenges facing the National Trust in the 21st Century?”

The National Trust has always been an organisation that responds to the needs of the time.  As she steps down in March after almost six years as Director-General of the NT and moves on to be Master of Balliol College, Oxford, Dame Helen Ghosh spoke about the challenges and successes of her time at the helm and how she has overseen an ambitious programme of work, not without controversy.  Debate included The National Trust's ability to engage a more diverse audience in its work and its influence in the sphere of countryside management and planning.

Helen Rappaport – 2nd November 2017 
'Caught in the Revolution'

To mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution, Helen spoke most eloquently and vividly about the Revolution in Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) in 1917 through the experiences of foreign visitors: diplomats, journalists, businessmen, volunteer nurses and ex-patriate socialites.  Her sources included diaries and letters home:  from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva; to Somerset Maugham, who went to Petrograd as a British spy and sent encrypted messages to his London controllers.




Jane Garvey - 25th January 2017

St Catherine’s Presents welcomed our second speaker of the academic year this time from household name, broadcaster and long-serving presenter of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Jane Garvey.  She spoke to a packed house on her career in broadcasting, the 70th anniversary of Woman’s Hour and the many issues the programme covers that are dear to her heart.  Not least among these was her insistence that it is only through talking about unpalatable subjects openly – such as FGM – that we help put a stop to them, and that gender equality should be the focus of the modern woman, not feminism, which is no longer fit for purpose and suggests a wrong focus. It was a treat of an evening very much appreciated by those who attended.

The Band of  the Welsh Guards - Wednesday 5th October 2016

After an extremely inspiring and productive workshop afternoon with our guests, the School Concert Band and Welsh Guards formed a massed band (around 90 musicians) for the opening pieces of the evening concert. First, Fanfare and Flourishes, complete with the Welsh Guard’s Fanfare Trumpeters lining the stairway in the Auditorium, dressed in their ceremonial scarlet tunics and their bearskins.  The second piece was the famous Colonel Bogey March, composed by Frederick Joseph Ricketts.  The rest of the programme was played firstly by the Concert Band and the second half was a fantastic demonstration of the best of the British military band tradition with virtuosic soloists, a humorous barbershop number and stirring traditional tunes.

The members of the Welsh Guards complimented our girls on their playing and eagerness to participate.  This sell out concert was a unique evening of musical entertainment from both bands and will be remembered for many years to come. A retiring collection was held in aid of Afghan Connection and the Corps of Army Music Trust. 

Mona Siddiqui – Wednesday 9th March 2016 
'Veils, Values and Voices: Religion in Public Life'   

Mona Siddiqui joined the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity School in December 2011 as the first Chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies.  Her research areas are primarily in the field of Islamic law and Christian-Muslim relations.  She talks and comments regularly on issues of faith and ethics in society and is a frequent contributor to Thought for the Day for BBC Radio 4.  Awarded an OBE for her contribution to interfaith services, in 2014 she spoke on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Isabel Hardman – Wednesday 18th November 2015

Isabel is a St Catherine’s alumna (Class of 2004).  Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and editor of the magazine's Coffee House blog. She also writes a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph and has appeared on Question Time. 

Rudi Oppenheimer - Holocaust Survivor - Thursday 18th June 2015 

Holocaust survivor Rudi Oppenheimer was invited to speak about the moving and powerful story of his family’s survival: their escape from Berlin, their deportation from Amsterdam and their experiences in the notorious Bergen-Belsen death camp in Germany. His speech, together with the question & answer session at the end, gave the audience a deeper understanding of the events surrounding the Holocaust and an appreciation that everyone was an individual with their own experiences and stories to tell. 

Jonathan Veira - Opera Unmasked - Thursday 29th January 2015

We were treated to a fabulous performance in January when Jonathan Veira entertained us with an evening of Opera and exuberance! Jonathan has performed across the globe in a variety of roles and appeared at venues including the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne.  He took  us on a tour spanning his 27 years as an international opera star.  We were nearly falling off our seats with laughter at some of the hilarious situations he had been in, and completely spellbound by his wonderful voice as he sang excerpts from Porgy and Bess, Don Pasquale, The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan and many more.  

Swingle Singers - Thursday 6th November 2014

The Swingle Singers’ concert was a musical treat.  The programme featured an eclectic mix of composers, all of  whom were given the Swingle treatment.  During the day members of the group ran two master classes for Senior and Middle Cantores which were very well received by the girls. Before the concert they had dinner with six U6 Senior Cantores members, Geoff Field and Beth Bathurst. After the concert they mixed with the audience and music staff, autographing programmes and CD’s.

Baroness Susan Greenfield - "Challenges faced by women in Science" - Wednesday 1st October 2014

The Baroness was an inspiration to the audience and quite a role model as the first woman to be invited to give the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture and a leading contributor to government reviews on how women can excel in scientific careers. 
Through the use of a metaphor tracing our lives from the womb, through childhood to older age; Baroness Greenfield explained many scientific thoughts and principles, specifically focusing on brain cells and their function.  She reflected on the advantages of technology, such as the iPad, when used in an intellectually stimulating environment and the disadvantages of over-dependency on gaming and social media where evidence suggests a link to addictive behaviour and reduced interpersonal skills.

Craig Greene - Piano Recital - Wednesday 12th June 2013 

Back by popular demand, Craig Green our Musician-in-Residence, gave another amazing free piano recital in the Auditorium.  Craig is currently a member of the music department at St Paul's School, London and will be performing with the Russian National Orchestra.

Elinor Goodman -  “Maggie, John, Tony and me” - Wednesday 11th June 2014

Elinor Goodman (1965) spoke of her life as a political editor for Channel 4. She started as a secretary before moving into newspapers where she faced prejudice about how secretaries could not be reporters. In addition, she revealed she is dyslexic but this had not held her back, but made her more determined to succeed. She recalled great anecdotes and photographs including staying next to the Grand Hotel Brighton in 1984, Margaret Thatcher’s annual photo shoot in the countryside, Tony Blair’s surge to power in 1997 and fox hunting legislation. 

Max Hastings - Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 - Tuesday 11th March 2014

We were joined in March by Sir Max Hastings, journalist and historian,  whose lecture on 1914  in the School Auditorium was a sell-out.  He held his audience captive with his compelling narrative, judgement and evaluation.  Even those unfamiliar with the events of 1914 would have left with a greater understanding and a desire to learn more.  Sir Max was also kind enough to host a supper with historians and stay at the end of the lecture to talk to guests and sign many copies of his book, "1914: Catastrophe".

The Jazz Café - Thursday 28th November 2013

This relaxed, musical evening has proved very popular with parents, pupils and the local community.  Led by Head of Contemporary Music, Ian Young, the foyer and bar of the Anniversary Halls  is transferred into a Jazz Café for the evening.  Joining the main band have been Aisha Pegley (2012), professional saxophonist Sue Greenway, Annabel Dersy and Duchess Idowu, both current pupils.

Charles Emmerson - Thursday 14th November 2013

Charles Emmerson’s lecture reflected on his book, "1913: The World Before the Great War".  It provided a bold new perspective on the glossy, globalised world before the First World War, more modern and more familiar than we expect.  He enjoyed supper beforehand with history staff and prefects and also stayed behind at the end to talk to audience members and sign copies of his new book - 1913: The World before the Great War.  

King's Singers - Thursday 17th October 2013

We were very excited to welcome world-celebrated ensemble The King's Singers to our Auditorium, hot on the heels of their night at London's Royal Albert Hall.  In addition to a workshop with Senior Cantores during the day, they put on an amazing evening performance of their new “Great American Songbook” programme to a packed Auditorium.  The group joined guests after the performance to pose for photos and sign CDs.

Craig Greene - Piano Recital - Wednesday 12th June 2013 

Our graduate musician gave a free piano recital in the Auditorium.  There was a retiring collection in aid of CLIC Sargen, a children's cancer charity.

Francine Stock - Tuesday 9th October 2012

Former pupil, Francine Stock (1976), is a former BBC TV current affairs reporter and past presenter of Newsnight. She is also a novelist, critic and presenter of Radio 4’s  The Film Programme. She recently published ‘In Glorious Technicolour – a century of film and how it has shaped us’.   Francine very kindly gave a lecture on the history of film from the very earliest silent movies to the present day showing some fascinating film footage.

Guildford Chamber Choir with the Will Todd Jazz Trio and soloist, Bethany HallidaySaturday 12th May 2012

The Guildford Chamber Choir with guests, the Will Todd Jazz Trio and soloist, Bethany Halliday, performed a varied programme of upbeat, melodic contemporary music, including Bob Chilcott's exciting Jazz settings of Folk Songs, his mellifluous 'My Prayer', Morten Lauridsen's wonderfully melodic Nocturnes and finally Will Todd’s vibrant and original setting of the Latin 

 Brough Scott - War Horse - Monday 30th April 2012

Sports commentator, author, journalist and former jockey, Brough Scott, MBE, gave a unique perspective on the role of the cavalry in WWI and, in particular, his grandfather General Jack Seely’s famous horse, Warrior. Warrior served on the front line from 1914 to 1918, surviving bombs and bullets that claimed the lives of 8 million horses.

Germaine Greer - 40 Years of Feminism and Fun - Thursday 26th January 2012

Controversial, Agenda setting Author, Acclaimed Academic, Outspoken Broadcaster, Groundbreaking Publisher, Feminist Icon & Public Figure

We were delighted by a lively and provocative talk from feminist icon, author and broadcaster, Germaine Greer on her forty years as a feisty feminist and academic. 

Alla Kravchuk accompanied by pianist, Simon Phillips  – Saturday 12th November 2011

Song Recital given by renowned Ukrainian soprano, Alla Kravchuk, accompanied by accomplished pianist, Simon Phillips. We were pleased to welcome members from all sections of the Association together with first time visitors to the School in the audience. The programme included Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben and Mussorgsky’s Nursery Songs together with the premiere of Einzige Tage, a setting of poems by Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova which was specially commissioned from the well-known composer, Francis Pott.