Talented young actress Rosie Wyatt tells KATHERINE MACALISTER about her latest part in the powerful play Mogadishu.

Rosie Wyatt is used to courting controversy.

The Banbury lass’s last play Bunny, a one-woman show, cast her as an 18-year-old gang member and was so successful at the Edinburgh Festival it won a Fringe First Award.

Rosie, inset, then took the show to both London and New York where the New York Times reviewed her performance as ‘captivating’.

Which is where Mogadishu’s director saw her and gave her a part in the touring version, coming to the Oxford Playhouse from Tuesday, another highly contentious and gritty urban drama in which Rosie shines. And yet, despite the accolades and lead roles she’s landed, Rosie was a theatrical late starter and a shining example for anyone worrying they’ve left it too late.

“I had been in plays at school and played in the Oxford City Youth Orchestra, but it wasn’t until I saw the Royal Shakespeare Company doing Cleopatra that I knew what I wanted to do,” Rosie, 22, says.

“And that being an actress was not only something I should consider but that it was possible to make a career out of it. So I worked really, really hard to get into drama school and graduated in 2010.”

And it’s paid off.

“Since then I’ve been really fortunate and landed some nice jobs,” she says modestly.

To sum up, you may have seen her in Bunny at the North Wall. Next up was Mike Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love which came to the Oxford Playhouse to great acclaim. And now Mogadishu, a searing account of the tribulations of modern school life, telling the story of what happens to a teacher when she is accused of racially abusing a pupil. Described by the Daily Telegraph as “The play of the year?” this is definitely one to see.

“It’s a really amazing play set in an inner city school. And yet it’s not a million miles away from my school because in a large comprehensive you do get a massive mix of backgrounds and ethnicity and home lives, because people are coming from such different places.

“So there are always going to be groups and clashes and people going through trauma and emotional stuff at school.

“But this is about more than that. It’s about how one selfish act can have such a massive domino effect,” Rosie explains.

“And while this is not specifically aimed at a younger audience their response so far has been really cool, so we get a real mix of ages and people in the audience which is great.”

Rosie plays Becky, a 15 year-old. “It’s not too hard to remember how I responded to things at that age because you do feel vulnerable all the time and you don’t have a grasp of who you are yet, and it’s hard being a teenager at that age in a big school.”

And is it taxing being that emotional on stage every night?

“Yes, but I don’t begrudge it because it’s a gift of a part with such an interesting storyline, so I don’t mind if I’m a bit hoarse at the end of the night.”

* Mogadishu runs from Tuesday until Saturday at Oxford Playhouse.

Call the box office on 01865 305305 or see oxfordplayhouse.com Main picture, Savannah Gordon-Liburd as Dee and Malachi Kirby as Jason