Blog: Radio Plays

Radio Plays workshop 02 May 2015
Participants in the workshop share their work

We work with the Youth Theatre each year using heritage content to inspire and develop their work. In 2013 we presented Pass It On the play and got the whole of the Youth Theatre using the archive for thier heritage sharings; in 2014 we welcomed Young Playwrights to produce work for Out of the Archive and this year sees the development and broadcast of ten short radio plays. Written by playwright and oral historian Rib Davis, these plays will draw on content from our growing oral history collection. Working with the Youth Theatre, we asked them to listen to clips from the collection and explore the things they found interesting. On 2 May we held a collaborative workshop to start the process inviting Rib, Jake Smith (Trainee Director at CFT), Hana Walker-Brown (radio producer and sound engineer) and Hannah Hogg (Youth Theatre Intern at CFT) to lead exercises and share their expertise. Hannah talks about the day here:

What an inspiring and creative day we all had. I never really knew anything about radio drama and I was keen to get involved when I found out we were running a radio play workshop. We asked a group of Youth Theatre and members of our 19+ group to come and get involved. We started the day with some bonding exercises which we all know you need to do before working intimately with other people. We had a really good group of people who all worked wonderfully together.

We then went on to look at some of the archive stories; from this we created a character from the piece whom we then introduced to the group. It was really fascinating seeing what different things people came up with and what information stuck out for them. After that we went on to look at themes and history of some of the stories. I particularly liked this exercise as you got to dip in and out of stories, finding different bits to go towards the radio plays.

Radio Plays workshop member writing notes 02 May 2015
A member of the 19+ group during one of the exercises

When we got back from lunch it was time to get involved in the Radio Drama side of things. Hana introduced us to different types of radio drama and we discussed what we thought about the pieces.

After we had listened to them, I lead the group in a short exercise looking at Recorded Delivery, a technique used in theatre with actors. You take recordings and play them into your ear with headphones and speak back what is playing in your ear. This enables you to match your speech pattern and intonation exactly to the person speaking. It helped the group think about different character and how they spoke.

We then let the group loose and got them to use the material we had gathered through the day to make their own short radio play, and what they came up with in such a short amount of time was remarkable.

A splendid day being involved in an exciting project.