Writing Audio Drama offers a comprehensive and intelligent guide to writing sound drama for broadcasting and online. This book uses original research on the history of writing radio plays in the UK and USA to explore how this has informed and developed the art form for more than 100 years.
Audio drama in the context of podcasting is now experiencing a global and exponential expansion. Through analysis of examples of past and present writing, the author explains how to create drama which can explore deeply psychological and intimate themes and achieve emotional, truthful, entertaining and thought-provoking impact. Practical analysis of the key factors required to write successful audio drama is covered in chapters focusing on audio play beginnings and openings, sound story dialogue, sustaining the sound story, plotting for sound drama, and the best ways of ending audio plays. Chapters are supported by online resources which expand visually on subjects discussed and point to exemplar sound dramas referenced in the chapters.
This textbook will be an important resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses such as Podcasting, Radio, Audio Drama, Scriptwriting, and Media Writing.
Updates and additions to Chapter 4 ‘Achieving the Long Form Audio Drama’ for the book Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook and published by Routledge in 2023
Analysing how sound drama became so central and popular to US networked radio programming by the late 1930s and 1940s and how long form story telling was developed at the BBC in Britain through dramatization of contemporary novels and the writing and production of original full-length plays. Analysis and discussion of developing theories and strategies for writing successful sound drama including Erik Barnouw in the USA in 1940, and the relevance of academic debates and theories about audio drama by the author himself and Erik Huwiler.
The chapter then moves onto detailed and comprehensive analysis of the BBC’s contemporary and award-winning series Life Lines and using Gordon Lea’s 1926 template Radio Drama and how to write it– who said creating sound drama was like conjuring ‘The world in a buttercup and jewels against a background of black velvet.’
Lifelines is an excellent model and example of sound drama being produced and listened to as a hybrid radio and podcasting experience.
The chapter investigates how the Tom Stoppard of the 1920s, Reginald Berkeley bridged achievements in dramatizing consciousness with modernist technique.
The chapter further analyses significant examples of long form audio story telling by L du Garde Peach with his BBC play The Mary Celeste: A Mystery of the Sea (1931) and Tyrone Guthrie’s Squirrel’s Cage (1929) and Flowers Are Not For You To Pick (1930).