Category Archives: Performance


Listen to ‘MARY ROSE’ at:

JM Barrie’s haunting play about a sinister Scottish island and a girl who never grows up. A soldier sits staring into the fire in an empty, dark house while an unsettling and tragic history unfolds before him. Written in the aftermath of the First World War, Barrie’s play about loss and the mystery of life is by turns comic, eerie and heartbreaking.

Original music is composed and performed by Laura Moody, singer cellist. Laura was recently nominated for an Off-West End Theatre Award for her Sound Design of DREAMPLAY at The Vaults in Waterloo, London.




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Matthew Sweet presents a sequence of radio plays by Samuel Beckett, with Stephen Rea and Ian McKellen. Newly recorded in binaural sound as part of Radio 3's 70th season which celebrates seven decades of pioneering music and culture since the founding of the Third Programme.

Like no other dramatist, Beckett's works capture the pathos and irony of modern life.

In the decade following the success of Waiting for Godot (1952), Samuel Beckett wrote some of his most absorbing work for radio, including the BBC's Third Programme. These plays are suffused with a musicality which, though evident in his novels, poetry and plays, is particularly remarkable in this medium. They are concerned with human isolation and the frailty of memory and communication.

With the exception of the monologue FROM AN ABANDONED WORK, the plays can be heard in binaural surround sound. Just wear your headphones.

The plays will give a great insight into the development of Beckett's style and into his approach to sound. Increasingly different in tone and conception from his stage work, the radio plays become more abstract as characters become less individualised and more representative.

FROM AN ABANDONED WORK performed by Stephen Rea

He ….. Ron Cook
She ….. Monica Dolan

Animator ….. Stephen Dillane
Stenographer ….. Louise Brealey
Fox ….. Brian Protheroe
Dick ….. Nick Underwood

Croak ….. Ian McKellen
Words ….. Carl Prekopp

Voice ….. Stanley Townsend
Opener ….. David Seddon

Music composed and directed by Roger Goula
Composer's assistant: Jessica Jones

Music performed by 
Piano: Kit Downes
Violin: Georgia Hannant
Viola: Oli Langford
Bass Clarinet: Nicola Baigent
Flute: Michael Liu
Cellist: Raphael Lang
Synth: Jessica Jones

Directed by Gaynor Macfarlane.

Photo: LA Times.


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Oscar Wilde was incarcerated in Reading Prison between 1895 and 1897, enduring the Separate System, a harsh penal regime designed to eliminate any contact between prisoners. During this period he wrote one of his last great works: an extended letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, later published as De Profundis.

Here the actor Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Michael Collins, V for Vendetta) returns to cell C.3.3 in HM Reading Prison to perform De Profundis. The reading is preceded by a feature documentary where writer and director Neil Bartlett examines the conditions under which Wilde was writing.

In Autumn 2016, Reading prison will open to the public for the first time for an Artangel project in which a 30-strong showcase of artists and writers share works in response to De Profundis.

And next week on Radio 4, in Letter from Inside, writers and artists from around the world read letters on the theme of imprisonment. The series is at 7:45pm from 12th to 16th September, with letter writers including Ai Weiwei, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Carson, Gillian Slovo, Joe Dunthorne, Tahmima Anam and Binyavanga Wainana.

Produced by Barney Rowntree and Joby Waldman
Executive Producer: Jeremy Mortimer

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4.





Stephen Rea


Neil Bartlett


Joby Waldman


Jeremy Mortimer


Listen to HENRY VIII at

A rare chance to hear Shakespeare's last play, starring Matthew Marsh and Patrick Malahide. Originally recorded to mark the 500th anniversary of the accession of Henry VIII.

In 1509, the 17-year-old Henry acceded to the throne of England. Shakespeare's play, co-authored with John Fletcher, opens with the arrest for treason of the Duke of Buckingham 12 years later, and tells the story of Henry's struggle to divorce Katherine of Aragon, and the catastrophic fall of the all-powerful Cardinal Wolsey.

Henry VIII ….. Matthew Marsh Queen Katherine ….. Yolanda Vazquez Cardinal Wolsey ….. Patrick Malahide Duke of Norfolk ….. Joseph Mydell Thomas Cranmer ….. Adam Godley Duke of Suffolk ….. Stuart McQuarrie Old Lady ….. Ann Beach Anne Boleyn ….. Donnla Hughes Buckingham/Cromwell ….. Paul Rider Chamberlain/Capuchius ….. Chris Pavlo Abergavenny/Surrey ….. Stephen Critchlow Surveyor/Gardiner ….. Gunnar Cauthery Sands/Campeius ….. Jonathan Tafler Lovell/Griffith ….. Dan Starkey Princess Elizabeth ….. Sonny Crowe Other parts played by Jill Cardo, Robert Lonsdale, Manjeet Mann, Inam Mirza, Malcolm Tierney. Pipe and Tabor played by Bill Tuck

Adapted for radio and directed by Jeremy Mortimer First broadcast in April 2009

Known sometimes by the title 'All is True', Shakespeare and Fletcher's rarely performed play is a masterful analysis of the murky world of Tudor politics. A world where nothing can be taken on face value. Wolsey (Patrick Malahide) has control of the key offices of state as both Chancellor and Cardinal of York. Henry (Matthew Marsh) appears to be oblivious to criticism levelled at Wolsey by some of his senior courtiers, and the play opens with the trial and execution of one of Wolsey's most outspoken critics, the Duke of Buckingham. The trial of Katherine of Aragon (Yolanda Vazquez), motivated by Henry's scruple that his marriage to his late brother's wife was unlawful, is one of the most poignant scenes in Shakespeare. Henry is seen to be moved by Katherine's plight, and protests that she is the best of women. Following the divorce, Cardinal Wolsey is the author of his own undoing when he unwittingly reveals to Henry the true extent of his own profit from his position, and that he has been plotting with the Pope to undermine Henry's bid to marry Anne Boleyn. The play finishes with the rise of reformer Thomas Cranmer, and ends with the christening of the young Elizabeth.


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Samantha Bond stars as a psychiatrist in this classic European farce by Friedrich Dürrenmatt about three theoretical physicists who believe they are Einstein, Newton and Möbius. They are locked in a lunatic asylum and each gets tangled in vicious murders. Amidst all the jokes is a real relationship between a scientist who may or may not be mad and his nurse who wants to save him. The Physicists was first performed in 1962 at the height of the Cold War.

The serious subject behind the farce is what to do with the knowledge of weapons of mass destruction once let out of the genie's bottle. Who controls that knowledge? Can scientists remain free, even in the free world?

The music soundtrack is from Bernard Herrmann's less well known score to Fahrenheit 451.



Listen to ‘THE PIANO LESSON’ by August Wilson at:

In August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play set in Pittsburgh in 1936, an ancient upright piano carved with African faces dominates the parlour of Doaker Charles. Boy Willie and his partner Lymon have come up from the south to sell watermelons. Boy Willie has just got out of prison and he wants to buy the land his ancestors once worked as slaves but his sister is not about to sell the piano.

Creative consultant, Ricardo Khan Pianist, Ernie Scott

"The glow accompanying August Wilson's place in contemporary American theatre is fixed." Toni Morrison.

August Wilson (1945-2005) is America's foremost black playwright. 'The Piano Lesson' is the fourth of his cycle of ten plays about the African American experience in the twentieth century. It opened at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987 and the 1990 Broadway production won a Pulitzer Prize, a Drama Desk Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The play was inspired by Romare Bearden's painting of the same name. August Wilson saw its scene of a teacher and student as an allegory for how African Americans must learn to negotiate their history.

This radio production was recorded at Tony Award winning Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick, New Jersey, with the support of August Wilson's widow, and an outstanding cast which includes actors like Stephen Henderson and Anthony Chisholm who worked extensively with August Wilson. Anthony and Stephen were both in the Olivier award winning production of 'Jitney' which took London by storm ten years ago and Stephen and Chris Chalk were both in the Broadway Tony award winning production of August Wilson's 'Fences' starring Denzel Washington in 2010.

First broadcast in November 2011.


Hands Up

On BBC Radio 4 at:

Episode 1 of 2

When a white police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th 2014, it sparked a wave of protest across America and became emblematic in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now, six black American playwrights aged between 30 and 40 years old, dig deep into what it's like being young, black and male today in an America of institutionalised profiling.

Hands Up began as part of a theatre festival, The New Black Fest, based in New York. Keith Josef Adkins who runs the festival wanted these playwrights to think hard about their personal politics and to respond to what happened in Ferguson. They looked at the immediate aftermath of the tragic event, the protests and the wider implications.

Their testaments are extremely varied. For some, what happened to Michael Brown could happen to them anytime, any day, and they live in constant fear of witnessing or experiencing profiling, harassment, arrest and even a fatal shooting. Others feel guilty about not being able to relate to the racism Michael Brown faced because they come from a wealthier background, or because they come from the metropolis, or are lighter skinned. For one writer it's a sense of ambivalence because he was adopted by white parents. They all attempt to understand Brown's experience, to figure out what he could have done differently, if anything. They share their fears and feelings through real and imagined scenarios, and they offer their ideas and dreams about how to fight racism and change society.

The plays are linked by comments from young black men interviewed on the streets of New York and documentary news material from St Louis Public Radio and WBEZ Chicago.

The plays and playwrights:

How I Feel by Dennis A. Allen II

Walking Next to Michael Brown by Eric Holmes

Superiority Fantasy by Nathan James

Holes in my Identity by Nathan Yungerberg

They Shootin! by Idris Goodwin