THEATRE critic Mike Rowbottom has put his own writing skills to the test — and
THEATRE critic Mike Rowbottom has put his own writing skills to the test — and walked away with third prize in a countywide playwriting competition, writes Carol Evans.
His one-act drama The Zombies and the Morseline was one of seven plays submitted for the coveted award organised by the Oxfordshire Drama Network (ODN).
Mr Rowbottom, who regularly contributes reviews and other articles to the Henley Standard and performs locally with his band Crossfire Hurricanes, learned of his success on the opening night of the ODN’s annual drama festival at Abingdon on Sunday.
The play is about the divisions between ageing, selfish babyboomers and smartphone-bound youth.
It’s set in a pensioners’ compound which is paid for by the boomers’ very well-funded annuities, but a kind of war has broken out between the younger people — even the boomers’ children — and the old-timers.
Mike, who lives in Stoke Row, has written seven plays. Four of these have been produced on stage at drama festivals — two by the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (HAODS), one by the Henley Players and one by Sinodun Players, of which he is a member. He has two more plays in development.
An accomplished actor, three years ago Mike picked up a best actor nomination in a Henley Players production and has performed a number of meaty roles with Sinodun Players at Wallingford Corn Exchange.
He said: “I adore making things out of nothing — it could be to write a song, a play or a novel. I cannot spend a day without having created something — if I don’t then it feels somehow empty.
“Writing is a big part of that — probably the biggest part. I always carry a notepad around in case I’m struck by an idea for a song, or a story. I’ll make it into a short film sometimes because my professional background was TV journalism, but I must make something!
“The theatre is also a passion — I’m usually at a production once a week reviewing. So being able to write for it and to have other people mouthing your thoughts and words is a huge buzz.”