Abingdon Boys past and present Topping the Bill
11th February 2015

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:

He 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!"

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