Something to Say

Three new radio plays by disabled writers

Produced by Birds of Paradise, in association with Perth Theatre.
And with EHFM as broadcast partner.

About Something to Say

During the 2020 lockdown, we ran a development project in partnership with Theatre Gu Leor, called Something to Say | Rudeigin ri Ràdh, to amplify the voices of people seldom heard in radio drama. That project was divided into two strands: Writer Development and Writer Commissions.

In October 2020, BOP launched the Writer Commissions strand: three commissions for brand new 15 minute radio plays. The specific details of the call out were:

  • Writers had to identify as being disabled (see here for BOP’s definition of being disabled)
  • Writers had to have a proven track record of creative writing, but this could be in any writing form; poetry, literature, theatre
  • The play pitches had to be monologues or duologues

The three play pitches selected for commission were:

The Premorialby Jen McGregor
Jammedby Gabriella Sloss
Bronagh & the Bum Goblinby Áine King

As development of the play scripts took place throughout 2021, we realised that one of the threads connecting each story was that they were each about characters with hidden disabilities – when the experience of being disabled is not apparent by looking at the person. This felt particularly relevant, because Something to Say was conceived as a development opportunity aiming to give visibility to disabled writers and characters, whose voices are seldom-heard within radio drama.

Because hidden disabilities don’t always have outwardly obvious physical signs they can include mental health, cognitive impairments, as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments. They can also include long term health conditions such as asthma, COPD, and chronic illnesses such as crohn’s, renal failure, diabetes, and sleep disorders when those conditions significantly impact day-to-day life.

Living with these conditions can make every day life more demanding for many people. They affect each person in different ways and can be painful, exhausting, and isolating. Without visible evidence of the hidden disability, it is often difficult for others to acknowledge the challenges faced, and as a consequence, sympathy and understanding can often be in short supply.

How can I listen to the plays?

Working with our broadcast partner, Edinburgh based community radio station EHFM, each of the plays was broadcast as an hour long package from Monday 15th – Friday 19th November 2021.

You can now listen to the hour long package of plays via the EHFM mixcloud page – click here


You can also listen to the individual plays via links found on this page below.

Creative Team

Meet the team who put the Something to Say plays together. For details on the writer and cast for each individual play, please see below.

Special thanks to BBC Scotland, for the use of their radio studio.

Original illustrations by Celine Mcilmunn – visit her Instagram page here.

Lu Kemp - Director

Lu is the Artistic Director of Perth Theatre, Scotland. She is an award-winning theatre director and dramaturg with a distinctive reputation for her work in new writing, physical theatre and dance. 

Lu is an Associate Artist with the internationally renowned company Inspector Sands, for whom created and directed The Lounge (subsequently adapted and toured by the Riksteatern – National Theatre of Sweden), Mass Observation (Almeida), and If That’s All There Is (which won the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Award 2009). For Perth Theatre her work includes: Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Kes by Robert Alan Evans, Six Inches of Top Soil and the Fact it Rains by Kieran Hurley, Shakespeare’s Richard III, Knives in Hens by David Harrower and Aladdin. As a freelance director her work she has worked for The Citizens, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Artangel, The Tricycle, Almeida and The Royal Shakespeare Company.  

Lu has worked as a dramaturg for both theatre and dance companies including Dance Xchange Birmingham, Rambert, Sadler’s Wells and The Place in the UK, and de Stilte Dance in the Netherlands. 

Lu was a producer at BBC Scotland between 2002 to 2007, and has subsequently freelanced for them as an adaptor, abridger and director of radio plays and readings. She has taught writing for radio for the BBC and the Arvon Centre. 

Lu began her career as the Scottish Arts Council Trainee Theatre Director at TAG, Citizens Theatre. She later trained on the LEM at Lecoq, Paris, and with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, New York. 

Niloo-Far Khan - Assistant Director

Since graduating from MFA Directing at Napier under the tutelage of former Lyceum Artistic Director Mark Thomson and NTS playwright May Sumbwanyambe, my recent works include: directing a research and development for Accelerator’s theatre piece ‘Thrown’ (by Xana Marwick/Imaginate, 2021); the short film ‘Black Scots’ (National Theatre of Scotland/BBC Scotland/Hopscotch Films, 2020); the Fringe Premier of boxing drama ‘In Her Corner’ (by Mikey Burnett/Fringe, 2019) of which I was also a dramaturg; and my other work includes assistant directing ‘Pure Freezin Panto’ (by Andy McGregor/A Play, A Pie and A Pint, 2018), ‘Hindu Times’, (by Jaimini Jethwa/The Lyceum Sound Stage, 2021), and ‘Something to Say’ Radio Plays, (Birds of Paradise/2021).

Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic

Gerda Stevenson - Dramaturg

Gerda Stevenson, writer/actor/director/singer/songwriter, works in theatre, television, radio, film, and opera, throughout Britain and abroad. Her poetry, drama and prose are widely published, staged and broadcast, including plays and short stories for BBC Radio 4. Her stage plays include the award-winning FEDERER VERSUS MURRAY (which toured to New York, published by Salmagundi, USA), SKELETON WUMMAN, and an opera libretto THE ANCIENT MARINER – a contemporary retelling of Coleridge’s epic poem, commissioned by the University of Edinburgh.

Her published by poetry collections are: IF THIS WERE REAL (Smokestack Books, 2013), also published in Italian by Edizioni Ensemble, Rome, 2017 under the title SE QUESTO FOSSE VERO; and QUINES: Poems in tribute to women of Scotland (Luath Press, edition 2018, 2nd edition 2020), reviewed by Jackie Kay in the Observer as “Fabulous. A ground-breaker of a book.”. QUINES was published by Edizioni Ensemble in Rome, 2021, in an Italian translation by Laura Maniero, and is also currently being translated into French. She was winner of the Robert Tannahill Poetry Prize, 2017, and of the Yarrow, Ettrick and Selkirk (YES) Poetry Prize, 2013.

Her other books include INSIDE & OUT – the art of Christian Small (Scotland Street Press, 2019), with an introduction and poems by Gerda, reviewed in The National as “One of the most beautiful books ever published in Scotland”; EDINBURGH, a collaboration with landscape photographer Allan Wright, for which she wrote a personal introduction and 22 poems.

In 2020 she was commissioned by the Glasgow School of Art Choir to write a triptych of song lyrics for their COMPOSEHER project, with composer Dee Isaacs. Nominations include the MG Alba Trad Music Awards, for Scots Singer of the Year,three times for the Critics Awards for Theatre, Scotland, and for the New York League of Professional Theatre Women’s Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award.  She was winner of a BAFTA Best Film Actress award for her role in Margaret Tait’s feature film, BLUE BLACK PERMANENT, and appeared in BRAVEHEART. Gerda is currently directing a film of George Mackay Brown’s play THE STORM WATCHERS for the online St Magnus Festival, 2021, in celebration of Mackay Brown’s centenary.

Learn more about Gerda here

Zoë Irvine - Editor and Sound Designer

Zoë Irvine is a sound designer working creatively in theatre, film, installation and broadcast based in Edinburgh. She is a creative collaborator, composing score and soundscapes from field recordings, voice and sampled instruments.

Learn more about Zoë here

Callum Madge - Producer

Image of the devastatingly handsome Callum. He is wearing a fluffy blue fleece and a black cap and is staring off into the distance while standing on a bridge with a murky estuary behind him.

Callum Madge originally trained in Arts Journalism, initially reviewing film and theatre and eventually becoming Editor of the culture website TVBomb (now The Wee Review). In 2013 he left journalism and started working with people who create work, initially for Lung Ha Theatre Company, then ‘flip: Disability Equality in the Arts’ and has been with BOP since 2016.

As a freelancer he has worked as a Project Manager on projects for: National Theatre of Scotland; Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; Lyceum Theatre; Traverse Theatre. In 2018 he produced Blackout by New Room Theatre, at Edinburgh Festival Fringe; in 2019 he was Engagement Producer on 8:8 by Mercimax, at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, part of the Swiss Arts Council’s Edinburgh Selection; in 2020 he produced an R&D phase of In Plain Sight by disabled foley artist Heather Andrews. He is currently working with Bijli Productions, producing One Mississippi as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2022

Credits and Context

This short clip gives credits and also provides some details about the different motivations each writer had for why they wrote their scripts.


The Premorial

The Premorial

by Jen McGregor

Featuring:

  • Chaya Gupta as Nat
  • Abby McCann as Freya

A black comedy set in a world where there is technology that can predict the date you die, Freya is attending her parents “premorial” (party before your death day), when she gets some news that changes everything.

Director’s Note:
Jen first had the idea for The Premorial many years ago. When she was 21, her mother had recently died, her dad was dying and she was having a cancer scare, so the question of lifespan was very much on her mind. She debated whether to have the tests the doctors recommended, and whether she would tell anyone the results if she did. She was also spending a lot of time thinking about funerals and who they’re actually for, and what a strange experience they are for an atypical brain that doesn’t find comfort or catharsis in that kind of social ritual. These thoughts percolated for a decade or so until eventually taking shape in this story of an alternate timeline where it’s commonplace to know your death dates, and of a young woman who may or may not have her whole life ahead of her.

Content warning: this play deals with themes of death

Cast & Writer Bios

Jen McGregor - Writer

Head shot of Jen McGregor. She is a white woman in her 30s with shoulder length dark red hair.

Jen McGregor is a writer and spoken word artist, trained at Mountview and mentored by Rob Drummond through Playwrights’ Studio Scotland. Her play Heaven Burns won the Assembly Roxy Theatre Award in 2018. She is writer in residence with Fronteiras Theatre Lab, with whom she is developing three plays – Volante (sharings at Hothouse @ Traverse and EMSF, recipient of a Tom McGrath award), Canto X (sharing at Manipulate 2020), and Screech (initial development through Stellar Quines’ Make Do & Mend). She is currently working on Fragmental, her first full-length spoken word show about living with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder, with support from Playwrights Studio Scotland and Creative Scotland’s Create: Inclusion fund. 

Learn more about Jen here

Chaya Gupta - Nat

Chaya is a British/Indian actor, musician and sound composer, with experience in stage and screen. She is a firm believer and strong advocate for the importance of art and representation, and is constantly striving to learn more about her craft, meet new people, and be involved in and create impactful work.

Learn more about Chaya here

Abby McCann - Freya

Abby McCann is an actress, director and writer from Glasgow. In 2020 she graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Language and Literature. In 2019, while at Oxford, McCann received the Juliet Bernard Memorial Prize awarded to Oxford’s Most Promising Actress for her performance in productions such as Claudia Roe, Enron (Oxford Playhouse, 2019); Abigail, The Crucible (2019); Asta, Little Eyolf (2018); and Miranda, NSFW (2018). While at Oxford, McCann also co-founded her own theatre company ‘MuckyOven’ with the intention of promoting young women in comedy. She directed and performed in the company’s debut production Allotment. Before Oxford, McCann attended PACE Youth Theatre (2007-2017), National Youth Theatre (2016) and trained with Scottish Contemporary Youth Ballet Company (2015-2017). Later this year, McCann will appear as the voice of the United Nations World Food Programme’s Animation for the crisis in Sahel. Currently, McCann is busy exploring her own relationship with dyspraxia by exploring how the neurodivergent mind literally manifests itself in the process of writing about it. Her most recent piece is published on the John Byrne online award page. This summer McCann will appear in Waterperry Opera Festival’s Peter and the Wolf and in Entwine Theatre’s debut piece If We Ended This at the Camden People’s Theatre at the Camden Fringe in August. 

Learn more about Abby here

Listen to The Premorial


Jammed

Jammed

by Gabriella Sloss

Featuring:

  • Alice Christina-Corrigan as Sasha
  • Jack Hunter as Andrew

Stuck in a traffic jam, a couple get into an argument after Sasha confronts Andrew about why he won’t have sex with her any more, dredging up the experiences both of them have with mental health and how it effects them differently.

Director’s Note:
Gabriella wrote Jammed to explore an issue within relationships that is not necessarily discussed in public discourse but happens often. The play shines a light on depression and its varying relations to the sex drive, which as a stressor can lead a person to accelerate or brake on their sexual desire. What happens when two people in a relationship are both suffering from depression; one needs physical intimacy to feel better and connected, and the other can’t think of anything more stressful? This is an issue that is incredibly difficult to navigate, and Gabriella wanted to create a play (and therefore a space) where this could be looked at.

Please be aware this play contains explicit language

Cast & Writer Bios

Gabriella Sloss - Writer

Headshot of Gabriella: A white woman in her 30s with shoulder length medium light brown hair, giving the camera a half smile from one side of her mouth.

Gabriella is a Glasgow-based playwright, and founding member of the theatre company That’s What She Said Theatre. She was a part of the 2019 Playwright Studio Scotland Mentoring Programme, mentored by Morna Pearson. Her play Good Sex After Bad Sex was performed at Assembly Roxy (Edinburgh, 2019), and her play 787 Blinks was performedas part of the Pride Plays Festival (Traverse Theatre). 

She has a commitment to writing work which is feminist and inherently sex-positive, and as such holds SCQF and CPD qualifications in Sexual Health Training and HIV Awareness.

Alice Christina-Corrigan - Sasha

Alice Christina-Corrigan is a North West based visually impaired actor. Recently graduated from ALRA North, Alice is passionate about working on new pieces of writing, connecting with fellow disabled actors and creating accessible theatre to change the landscape of the arts. Her recent credits include, Sheffield Theatres, NSDFestival and Everyman REP theatre.

Learn more about Alice here

Jack Hunter - Andrew

Jack graduated from the BA (Hons) Drama and Performance at Queen Margaret University in
2017.
TV credits include: Annika (Black Camel Pictures).
Theatre credits include: Cost of Living (Hampstead Theatre); All You Need is LSD (Told By An Idiot/ Birmingham Rep) and Let Me Play the Lion Too (Told By An Idiot/ Barbican Centre).
Radio work includes Bartholomew Abominations (Naked Productions/ Graeae Theatre/ BBC Radio 4).
Jack is currently enrolled on the Birds of Paradise and Playwright Studio Mentorship Award.
In addition, Jack has appeared in the web series Crips Without Constraints (Graeae Theatre).
Jack has also performed his own comedic and poetical works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on the BBC Social.

Headshot by Michael Wharley

Learn more about Jack here

Listen to Jammed


Bronagh & The Bum Goblin

Bronagh & the Bum Goblin

by Áine King

Featuring:

  • Helen Fox as Bronagh
  • Apphia Campbell as the Bum Goblin

Bronagh is trying to get to her son’s school assembly but her Inflammatory Bowel Disease means that she struggles with the long bus journey, especially as she is taunted the whole way by her psychological projection of the disease, her Bum Goblin.

Diector’s Note:
Crohn’s Disease and Colitis aren’t funny, of course. Bowel disease is horrible but most people struggling with it will tell at least one funny story about things that have happened while trying to hide it. Áine wanted to play around in that space between the awfulness of the illness and the ridiculous situations that it creates, especially when you’re trying to hide it. We are SO hung up about our bums. People literally die because they’re too embarrassed to take their bum to the doctor. Áine has written Bronagh to be a character everyone could sympathise with – can understand why she’s so embarrassed, but also one that everyone wants to shake for being so daft. Most of us have an inner-voice of self doubt. Bronagh invented the Goblin initially as a joke for her little boy, but it’s fed on a toxic mix of her shame and fear and guilt, and it’s taken over her life.

Please be aware this play contains explicit language

Cast & Writer

Áine King - Writer

Aine is a white middle aged woman with long brown hair and glasses. In this picture she is perched on the edge of a chair her hands clasped together, while she concentrates on something to the side.

Áine is a dramatist, director and designer. An irish East-Ender, she studied at St Martin’s School Of Art, the universities of Brighton and Sussex and at R.A.D.A. Theatre work includes Gunn Woman as part of Women’s Writes at The Arcola Theatre, March 2020, Mother’s Pride at the Chapel Playhouse, Battlesong at the Rialto, Brighton, Flotsam at Theatre Deli and Rum Shack, Glasgow, Grambo as part of Faces of the Day, Southwark Playhouse, Dracula at the Latest Bar, Brighton and Hard Chair Stories at the Rose Theatre, Bankside. Radio work includes Sister Act and Serenade for Supersoundscotland’s Writer’s Block and Gunn Woman for Radio Reverb, Brighton. Her immersive, mad-house ensemble adaptation of Dracula for Otherplace Productions in 2011 won her a Fringe Report award for Best Auteur. Many of her works for theatre are based on real-life stories of working class women. Áine now lives in the Orkney Islands.

Learn more about Áine here

Helen Fox - Bronagh

Helen is a disabled actor, writer and theatre producer, she trained in acting and psychology. She started her own theatre company in 2015 and has since produced 6 of her own plays, amongst other works, and is working on several new projects for the year ahead. She is looking forward to her first foray into radio.

Photo by Kim Ayres

Learn more about Helen here

Apphia Campbell - Bum Goblin

Apphia Campbell is originally from Florida and after graduating from college she moved to New York where she performed Off-Broadway.
In 2013 she wrote her critically acclaimed piece, ‘Black Is The Color Of My Voice’ and opened in Shanghai to rave reviews before performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014 where it sold out and has been touring the UK; selling out in prestigious houses such as St. James Theatre, Wilton’s Music Hall, and Oxford Playhouse.

In 2017, her new show with Meredith Yarbrough, ‘Woke’, was presented as part of the Made In Scotland Showcase, won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Highly Commended award from Amnesty International, and was shortlisted for The
Filipa Bragança Award and Scottish Art Club Theatre Award.

In 2018, she continued to tour Woke and was featured in the guardians 50 shows to see at the fringe and Vogue’s 5 shows not to miss in 2018 fringe. In 2018, she also became a member of the BBC writersroom (a group chosen for one year tutelage with the BBC).

In 2019, she made her west end debut with Black Is The Color Of My Voice which had rave reviews and a sold-out run. She also had a London premiere of Woke at the prestigious Battersea Arts Centre. During 2019, she performed both of her shows totaling over 100 performances for the year. In 2019, she received received her first commission from the BBC for a children’s story, called Zachary The Zebroid which aired in February 2020.

Recent Credits: The Last Bordello (Virtue/ David Leddy, Director) Woke (Ambrosia/Assata Shakur, Caitlin Skinner, Director), Black Is The Color Of My Voice (Mena Bordeux, Arran Hawkins, Director), The Color Purple (Celie,
James Harkness Director), Soul Sessions (Cabaret), No Exit (Inez, Michael Beets, Director)

Listen to Bronagh & the Bum Goblin

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