‘Games in the Dark’ is a Mount tradition which dates back over a century where older girls plan games for the rest of the school to play on Bonfire Night.
These days, Games in the Dark is organised by Year 11 girls. It is their final collective task of the academic year before they dive into the rigours of preparing for GCSEs. A former Head Girl, Celia Edwards, commented in her 2018 Foundation Meeting address, “It’s a running joke that nobody actually sees Year 11. It seems to be the same every year. The lure of pot noodles, a kettle and a feeling of impending doom provided by summer’s GCSE exams result in a retreat to Horseboxes, only to emerge to douse the rest of the Years in flour, water and baked beans for Games in the Dark.“
Thanks to distancing measures for the pandemic, Bonfire Night 2020 was cancelled, but Games in the Dark proudly continued last Friday, albeit in a socially distanced manner with girls taking part via their respective bubbles. Old scholars may well scratch their heads in wonder at how this was made possible? As with all Mount traditions, it all came together with good planning mixed with a dose of chaos, collaborative support, creative ingenuity and an overarching sense of fun.
This year’s theme was Dolls and to get around the problem of covid restrictions, the girls came up with the clever solution of using an ‘escape room’ format, allowing the rest of the school to compete safely in the confines of their Form rooms. Form Tutors were given detailed instructions for each ‘level’ of the escape room, and they helped to guide the girls through their series of challenges and reward each stage of progress. Year 11 made an explanatory film (a PG version for the younger girls and a properly scary version for the older girls) to set out the backstory and the challenge. Under prevailing covid restrictions, girls must leave school by 4pm so the event became Games in the Not-So-Dark as the girls took on their challenge during the final Lesson period of the day. And the rest, as they say, is history! The school corridors rang with laughter and squeals of delight as girls and staff enjoyed a very fine time.
“I think Y11 did the best they could have done in the circumstances. Some of the challenges were actually more fun than in past years where we could go around the school. It was more structured, and everyone got to take part, whereas when you’re playing in the dark there are some people who get left out or might not get a turn at the challenges.” – Madeleine, Year 10
“I liked the fact that they still had us doing activities and even though we had to use a small space, they still managed to stage it as though we would have been outside. The only thing we were missing was we were not moving around.” – Elisha, Year 9
Congratulations to College I, for being the first year to solve the puzzle and escape from their “room”. (They are now planning their College Pantomime! Another beloved tradition.) Well done to Year 11 for overcoming substantial hurdles to create such an unforgettable event for the delight of the entire Senior School.