Latymer Upper School Celebrates 400 Years with ‘Love. Liebe. Lyubov’


Anyone paying attention to our Instagram feed recently will have noticed the excitement building for our 400th commemorative play, Love. Liebe. Lyobov. which was performed at  Richmond Theatre this past weekend.

Ruby Thomas’s commissioned play, shares one of the most inspirational periods in the school’s history, the creation of the Johanneum Exchange by Headmaster Frederick ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson. In writing the script, Thomas delved into Latymer’s colourful timeline to bring to life an exceptional story of friendship and connection, formed against the backdrop of World War II. The Johanneum Exchange is thought to be the longest running relationship in the UK and  has just celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Director of Drama, Justin Joseph:

What has been a joy is to work with Ruby and with such a passionate cast. I’ve never been in at the start of a play like this so it’s thrilling for me. I’ve also loved how actively involved the students have been. They have readily volunteered ideas to Ruby about the language that they themselves would use and she has been amazingly open to their suggestions. She also chatted to our Ukrainian actress, Tanya, about her family’s experiences, and some of these have made their way into the play.”

Tanya Novikova who plays Ukrainian student, Nadiya:

“This play really incorporates a large proportion of my family’s own story, from their arrival in the UK to their likes of food and life here. I think it was particularly exciting for me to have such experiences applied to the script as it gives me  (and many other Ukrainians) a real relatability to the character and a connection to the storyline.”

On the opening night, Ruby arrived with fellow Latymerian Calam Lynch,  meeting with her English teachers Chris Chivers (former Head of English) and Sam Adams (current Head of Sixth Form). It was fantastic to see familiar faces including past teaching staff as well as students supporting their friends.

They were all treated to a witty, humorous, informative, sentimental and emotional play, delivered with expertise by the pupils, across three different timelines, cleverly signposted by the tech team and set designers.

As the curtain fell, to rapturous applause and some (ok, lots of!) whooping, there was much talk about the history and influence of this cultural exchange. The play not only celebrated the past but also illuminated the path forward, inspiring continued acts of friendship, understanding, and cultural exchange. 

Following the success of Love. Liebe. Lyubov.  we eagerly await the Gala Concert on March 21st at Cadogan Hall.





Victoria Evans
Author: Victoria Evans

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