Rowan Lathey from Spotlight IOW

Inspirational Islanders: Rowan Lathey, Spotlight (IOW)

Isle of Wight born and bred, Rowan trained in musical theatre and has worked for Spotlight (IOW) theatre company for much of her professional career. This Christmas, she will reprise the role of Rapunzel for the third time at Shanklin Theatre. When not on stage, out walking, or in her greenhouse, Rowan teaches for Spotlight’s stage schools and is a tutor at First Act, a theatre group for adults with additional needs.

“The Isle of Wight will always be my home. It holds my family and friends here. I’m very aware I’m incredibly lucky to be able to work professionally in theatre and live on the Island – the two don’t really go hand in hand but somehow I’ve been fortunate. It’s still so green, there’s something to be said for being surrounded by fields of local produce and the ever-changing sea.

Rocken End in Niton holds a very special place in my heart. It subtly changes with the seasons, some trips require you to remain in the car because of the blustery winds and other times you can climb so high it feels like you are the only person left on the Island. It has beautiful views of the lighthouse, I’ve spotted seals from up there, other times you can collect produce from the hedgerows and sit and ponder.

One of my very favourite beaches here would be Monks Bay in Bonchurch. I enjoy parking by Bonchurch Pond, walking down past the Old St Boniface Church and onto the beach. Monks Bay is the only place I’ve been stung by a Weever fish – still worth it though!

It is no secret that I love walking, so to choose just one is tough, but for today, let’s go with Sandown to Shanklin revetment. It’s accessible to all, so when you ask if someone fancies a walk, whether they bring wheels, four legs or two, it’s a brilliant flat walk with some delicious hot chocolate stops along the way.

My favourite event has got to be Walk the Wight, I try to partake in some capacity every year. The date often falls when we are rehearsing for our summer season at the theatre and dancing around in high heels after 26.5 miles is tough but I try not to miss it. Come rain or shine, people put one foot in front of the other and make huge steps in supporting our local hospice. In addition to the most honourable cause, you get to see the Island in all its glory. I’m putting the 12 May 2024 in my Filofax right now.

If I only had an hour on the Island, I’d head to Shanklin Theatre. I spend a lot of my time in that old building, I’ve gotten to know its sounds and smells, it’s like a second home. I often wonder how many times I’ve been up and down the steps to get onto the stage. Sometimes with friends, or super fast because it’s a quick change, but sometimes it’s slowly and quietly gearing myself to face the audience. After all, theatre is bravery.”

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