Additions and updates for Chapter 1 Radio Drama is Born and In Its Cradle

Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook published by Routledge 31st March 2023

Book Description

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.

Chapter One

This is a webpage providing updates and additions for Chapter 1 ‘Radio Drama is Born and In Its Cradle’ from the book Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook and published by Routledge in 2023.

The BBC began transmitting radio plays from 1922. The chapter proves that early pioneers and experimentalists were preoccupied with the same issues, debates and concerns that worry radio and audio drama directors in the present day.

Methods and techniques of writing what was known as ‘the microphone play’ confirmed, identified and consolidated the unique potential and special characteristics of drama that could only be listened to. 

This is a foundation chapter using newly researched history of radio playwriting to root and grow the branches of the succeeding themes covered in the book.

Subjects covered include the problems with stereotypes, the importance of writing for the ear and not the eye, the work of British playwright David Pownall and his dramatization of the BBC’s first full length production of a William Shakespeare play in 1923, BBC advice and guidance past and present, and analysis of what early practitioners learned worked best on the radio.

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