Rochford Productions in Association with Radio Mansfield Presents: Sunday Radio Theatre
Sunday Radio Theatre
What is it?
Radio Plays. Like in the olden days. Actors lined up behind microphones and a sound or 'foley' man running around all over the place adding in sound effects on the fly. They used to be part of the entertainment of the masses before TV came along and changed the game forever.
The Golden Age of Radio
During the Golden Age of Radio in the USA, new forms of entertainment were created for the new medium: radio plays, mystery, adventure and detective serials, soap operas, quiz shows, variety hours, talent shows, situation comedies, children's shows, as well as live musical concerts and play-by-play sports broadcasts.
A Prairie Home Companion
You may have heard of old weekly radio shows like "Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor. This was a weekly radio variety show that aired live from 1974 to 2016 on Saturdays from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The show was known for its musical guests, especially folk and traditional musicians, radio drama, and relaxed humour. Keillor's wry storytelling segment, "News from Lake Wobegon," was the show's best-known feature during his long tenure.
The Goon Show
The Goon Show was another radio program that included sketch comedy, and live music. It was broadcast on the BBC from 1951 – 1960.
In Australia, we had “Portia Faces Life” which ran from 1952 for 3,544 quarter-hour episodes until 1970.
And Willie Fennell created his iconic Australian radio sit-com in 1953, “Life With Dexter” and it ran until 1964. Dexter Dutton was a lovable, laughable and ludicrous at times, true blue family man. The show was a hit. I remember listening to this on Radio 4ZB in Dunedin, NZ when I was growing up. Couldn’t wait for Monday nights.
Let’s Bring it back
What a great idea I thought. Why don’t we, right here in Mansfield, Victoria, Australia, a town known for its very successful Local Theatre Company (MMUDS), its hosting of a Victoria Drama League’s One Act Play Festival circuit performance weekend; and a thriving local community radio station; do something like this ourselves? Why not?
Rochford Productions took this idea and ran with it. Saturday Night Radio Theatre was born in November 2018. Renamed Thursday Radio Theatre in February 2019, and Sunday Radio Theatre in May 2019.
In association with Radio Mansfield the writing, rehearsing, recording and broadcasting of a different radio play each month took off. Each play is broadcast 4 times in the month, and a new one hits the airwaves on the first Sunday of every month, after the 3.00pm News.
At the time of writing, we have recorded and broadcast 8 different plays.
November 2018: “Real World 101” by Emma Wood
December 2018: “The Replacement” by Michael Fiddian
January 2019: “Three Hours Between Planes” by Michael Fiddian
February 2019: “The Burgundy Parrot Murder” by Carol Lowden
March 2019: “Tarcutta Truckstop” by Rick Lindsay.
April 2019 “Meeting The Family” by Kammy Cordner-Hunt
May 2019 “The Mystery of The Green Bikini” by Carol Lowden.
June 2019 "Way To Go" by Dallas Daniel
July 2019 "The Case Of The Toothless Village" by Carol Lowden
August 2019 "We'll Meet Again" Parts I and II by Denise Kramarczuk
September 2019 "The Boat" by Peter Schneider
A writing workshop dedicated exclusively to Radio Plays was held in May 2019, and we have secured enough locally written scripts to take us up until December 2019.
In the planning stage is a huge LIVE broadcast of two 30 min plays with sound effects all being performed live as well. Planned for Saturday, Oct 5th this year and will be at Buckland Room, Mansfield Community Centre Bank Lane Mansfield. Stay tuned (pun intended) for more announcements.
You can be on the list of plays to be presented. Submit a short play (25-35 mins) to me, Colin Rochford, here firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll send it to our selection committee and you may be on your way to becoming a published playwright.
The local secondary college is investigating having some of the drama students write something for us as well. How cool is that?
Access to the recordings for your listening pleasure soon will be available to members only; (Membership site under construction - available soon).
Membership is available here for an initial payment of $20 AUD and $20 AUD for each month’s episode. You can access one or as many as you like, and there will be a new one every month.