One of the cornerstones of Cranleigh Thinking is pupils questioning a range of ideas and theories, in particular ones that are unequivocally accepted as the norm in our society. Dangerous Minds bring this out front and centre each year, with Cranleigh’s unique public speaking competition returning for a fourth year with another exceptional array of talks delivered to a captivated audience by Cranleigh Pupils. Expertly hosted by last year’s runner up Archie (East, Upper Sixth), five brave competitors came to the Speech Hall stage with the hopes of convincing the audience of their dangerous idea, and taking home the coveted Henry Hunt Trophy.
Dangerous Minds veteran Charlie (North, Lower Sixth) kicked off proceedings with a highly emotive take on the dangers of voluntary euthanasia, in particular the growing commercialisation of assisted death. Charlie has performed three times now at this event and is a true natural on the stage, with an expert ability to use both fact and emotion to bring the audience along with him and share his concerns about how this will end up devaluing the sanctity of live. This was followed by Bella (Martlet, Upper Sixth) with the most dangerous idea of the evening. Bella painted the disturbing picture of how the slave trade effectively still exists with the trafficking of young women for sex work across the UK. Her idea, which stunned many in the audience, was to make sex work legal in the UK, following the likes of Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands. Bella build an impeccably strong case as to why legalisation would render trafficking defunct and would in the long run help to protect the rights and indeed lives of vulnerable women in Britain.
Women’s right was also a theme for our third speaker, Nemo (Rhodes, Lower Sixth), who began by demonstrating to the audience the challenges faced by young women like her though constantly being told what and how to dress. Nemo’s passionate address made many in the audience uncomfortable as she questioned who had the right to say that women’s clothing is acceptable and how much of this in schools and in workplaces is still stuck in backdated, patriarchal culture from the Victorian era.
After a short interlude, last year’s champion Lauren (Martlet, Upper Fifth) was welcomed back to the stage to focus on one of the most divisive issues of the past 18 months; mandatory vaccinations. With a clear emphasis on the need to speak truth to power, Lauren once again wowed the audience with her powerful rhetoric and her talk will certainly be debated and discussed by many of the audience and pupils over the coming week, which is exactly what this events aims to achieve. Our final speaker of the night was Ozzy (Loveday, Upper Fifth), who is another individual who simply belongs on a stage. With a real warmth to his narrative, combined with sharp wit and excellent anecdotes, Ozzy analysed the dangers that existed within cultures in present times and how the need to have open minds, rather than restrictive, exclusive cultures was imperative.
Each year, the judges find it harder and harder to chose a winner, given the high quality of talks displayed at Dangerous Minds. After much deliberation behind the scenes, Mr Reader announced that the runner up was Charlie and the winner of the Henry Hunt Trophy was Ozzy. This event would not be possible without the remarkable skills and hard work of the tech team behind the scenes, in particular Libby (West, Lower Sixth), Ned (North, Lower Sixth), Tom (North, Lower Sixth) and Freddie (East, Fourth Form), in combination with Mr Humphreys; who really know how to put on a professional show.