The New Year sees
Abingdon School's current and former arts students topping the bill in a wide
range of theatre and film. Former pupil Mike Bartlett's 2014
play King Charles III was voted best play of the year by The
Guardian. Meanwhile, in New York, old boy Jonny Donahoe has been
wowing off-Broadway audiences (as well as the notoriously stern theatre critic
of the New York Times) with his solo performances of Every Brilliant
Thing, a play he co-wrote last year with Duncan
Macmillan. Lyn Gardner in the Guardian described the play as "one of
the funniest plays you'll see about depression, and possibly one of the
funniest plays you'll ever see, full stop". Another former pupil Ed
Rowett has just completed his first Radio 4 sitcom, Reluctant
Persuaders featuring Matthew Baynton, Nigel Havers and Josie Lawrence,
it will air later this year.
Abingdon School's current pupils are not
to be outshone. Sixth formers John Cheung and Aim Wonghirundacha entered
their debut fiction film Blindside for an unusual film
festival that took the form of an online knockout competition. Films from all
around the world were drawn against each other in a series of "rounds"
and viewers were invited to vote for whichever film they thought the best. John
and Aim's film was selected from hundreds to line up as one of 64 films and
incredibly, they made it through to the last four of the
competition. And news hot off the press is that Blindside
has been selected for the prestigious BFI Future Film Festival, which takes
place next month at London's BFI Southbank. This is a very significant
accolade. Blindside will be screened in the fiction category where
it will compete for the award of best film.
Tian Ji, a recent graduate of the Abingdon
School Film Unit, has been up to great things in Hong Kong after winning a
BAFTA scholarship to develop his filmmaking career. He says, “BAFTA
has been amazing in their funding of my studies. I've got to work with an
industry mentor, Craig Leeson who is a news anchor for Channel 7 News Australia
as well as running a production company in Hong Kong. I've worked on commercial
shoots, live reporting at the pro-democracy movement and been to the Shaw
Studios. The BAFTA events have been great too”.
On the stage sixth form student Henry
Papworth, who is about to appear in Chekhov plays in a joint Abingdon and
St Helen's School production, impressed the selection panel at the Oxford
School of Drama and has been offered a place from next autumn.
In further news from the media frontline,
former pupil Pete Thomas reports that Abingdon boys have been making their mark
on major broadcasting houses:
says, "I’m now pretty firmly back in the world of sport production, producing
rugby for BT Sport. I took a fairly circuitous route into television, but if
anything it might be reassuring to show that you don’t have to have a final
career plan at 18 to end up doing something you really enjoy. Another
former pupil Dylan Clive is at Sky and is getting some brilliant experience and
George Dugdale is part of our team here at BT Sport, so Abingdonians are
definitely making their presence felt and long may it continue!"