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By Nigel Holloway


Apple introduced the iPod some time ago, and since then, the podcast, very like old fashioned radio plays, have become very popular.

When Nigel got interested in hearing what some of these podcasts were like, he found that there was a directory of subjects on the Internet, and Nigel found himself looking into the ‘drama’ section. At the time he was surprised that there were only two sources listed - so he ‘subscribed’ (for free) to these radio plays, and downloaded their offerings. Nigel was sufficiently interested to download the next episodes of these radio plays onto his PC, to listen to when he next had a chance.  

For some time, Nigel has been frustrated by the problems in getting drama onto the stage. We all know what they are – the cost of the theatre, costumes, sets, rehearsal rooms. royalties and so on. He looked at various models for doing it – the amateur society, the semi-professional approach where everyone gambles on a share in any future profits, and the purely professional approach (you need lots of money for that one!)   In order to try and avoid, or at least reduce, these costs, Nigel has been looking at writing and producing his own original plays. At the very least, that removes the royalty element, and if you write them in a modern setting, you’ve reduced the costume bill as well! Sadly, it doesn’t remove all the other costs…  

When he discovered the podcast, it set him thinking – is this a method for trying out new drama? Could this be a way of getting original work published? Is this a way of marketing an amateur society to a wider audience? Could he make one, too?   Certainly the answer to the final question is "yes". All you need is some method of recording sound, and getting it onto a PC so that you can edit it (you can download editing software for free, too). And then somewhere to store the final product on the Internet – and most Internet suppliers give you free disk space for a web site when you subscribe. So, there you are – everything you need to make your own radio play. And best of all, this method removes completely the cost of costumes, as well as requiring no sets, no theatre, and no marketing. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the same buzz as performing in front of a live audience, but from the fun we had doing it, there are clearly other compensations! And potentially it’s a very low cost means of getting your performance in front of a worldwide audience! So, Nigel sat down and wrote this play.

It follows an amateur theatre company (surprise, surprise!) who get into trouble with the bank, and the various outrageous schemes they cook up to get themselves out of debt! 

 We rehearsed the play one Monday evening, then recorded it on the following night (in Nigel's living room – so no rehearsal facilities, either!) Nigel was left with a small pile of disks for his minidisk recorder, and the slight worry about how to record all the sound effects that we didn’t manage to perform ‘live’.  

As it turned out, there was no problem. Nigel needed to have the sound effect of three knights in armour doing a striptease (don’t even ask!) – which he fabricated out of various saucepans clanking against each other, a police siren, which he downloaded from the internet, and various chairs being moved, doors opening, footsteps and so on. As well as these more mundane noises, he needed some backgrounds, such as a pub in various stages of noisiness. Nigel managed to record these on a trip to Ireland – the noisy pub background is the Gravity bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, and his quiet pub is the sound of an unsuspecting wedding reception in one of the hotels Nigel and his wife stayed at – all of them recorded with his video camera, with the lens cap on! The response of the cast to the process of recording was enthusiastic to say the least – after all, when was the last time you did a show in two days from beginning to end – and with no lines to learn? In fact, they were so enthusiastic that they suggested that we performed the show on stage, with scripts – just like we had done in Nigel's house when we recorded it! And we all had copies of the final edited version on CD – which really did sound like something off the radio – and best of all, starring ourselves!

Anyway, If you want to hear our final result, you can download each of the six episodes from here:


 Episode 1  Episode 4
 Episode 2  Episode 5
 Episode 3  Episode 6


We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

If you want more information on the author and his other plays, including Big Idea and Prima Donna, please visit his site:  www.off-the-wall-plays.co.uk



This was our very first podcast and we have done several since, including: Big Idea, Prima Donna, Skins and Scartato amongst others - all original plays by Nigel Holloway.