Something to Say

Someting to Say | Rudeigin ri Ràdh was a development opportunity that worked to amplify seldom-heard voices within radio drama. It was split into two strands: Writer Development & Writer Commissions.

Writer Development

Black and white photo of shelves covered in old style radios. A pink circle says "Something to Say" and a green circle says "Rudeigin ri Ràdh"

Something to Say | Rudeigin ri Ràdh came from an initial conversation with Theatre Gu Leòr, that focussed on how the voices of Gaelic people and Disabled people are seldom heard within radio drama. Through a series of training workshops and feedback sessions from disabled artists and radio industry professionals, the Writer Development strand worked to provide give the group a taster of what writing for radio is like, and set them on a path to exploring it as part of their own practice.

As a joint opportunity from Theatre Gu Leòr and Birds of Paradise, applications were received from Gaelic writers or Disabled writers. Theatre Gu Leòr worked with the Gaelic writers, while BOP worked with the Disabled writers. In order to maximise the impact of opportunity, there were however moments of planned overlap throughout the delivery in order to share learning.

Schedule:

31st August 2020Writing Skills 1 : Oliver Emanuel (with Gaelic group)
11th September 2020Developing Disabled Characters : Robert Softley Gale
18th September 2020Home Recording Skills : Garry Robson & Heather Andrews
6th October 2020Writing Skills 2 : Oliver Emanuel (with Gaelic group)

Meet the BOP group:

Left to Right: Emily Ingram, Karis Willamson, Rebecca Hogan, Sorcha Pringle

Writer Commissions

Overview

In October 2020, BOP launched the Writer Commissions strand: three commissions for brand new 15 minute radio plays that BOP would produce and would be available to listen to via our broadcast partner, independent community Edinburgh radio station, EH-FM. The specific details of the commission 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 only

See the ‘Call Out Archive’ drop down box below, for full details of the call out.

We received 21 pitches from writers who identified as disabled, many of which would have made really interesting and entertaining radio plays. Please see below for details of the three pitches that we selected for development and production.

Bronagh & The Bum Goblin by Áine King

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.

Jammed by Gabriella Sloss

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.

The Premorial by Jen McGregor

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.

Learn more about the writers at the Meet the Creative Team section below.

Project Development & Casting

Project Development

Once we had selected the three writers, we understood that although they each had lots of experience as writers, none of them had written for radio before. To help them through the process of turning their script pitches into finished radio scripts, we brought in writer and director Gerda Stevenson (who has lots of experience of working in radio drama) to work with each of the writers as a dramaturg, through a series of 1:1 feedback sessions.

While the writers were working with Gerda on their different drafts, we approached Lu Kemp – a stalwart of radio drama – to direct the three pieces, who we were delighted was able to join the team. We were equally delighted that Niloo-Far Khan, who had been due to work as Assisstant Director on a main stage BOP production in 2020 that was cancelled, was able to join too. We had initially planned to work with disabled Sound Engineer, Heather Andrews, as part of the team but during the early stages of the project she began a new full time job and as such her availability became much more limited. Heather was however able to put us in touch with Editor and Sound Designer Zoë Irvine, whose expertise and experience was a perfect fit.

Casting

Across the three separate plays we had a total of six parts to cast, and as is customary for BOP we knew we wanted to cast at least two performers who identified as disabled. In light of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, the BOP team have been reflecting on the fact that although our casting can be diverse when it comes to disabled people we have room for improvement regarding our casting of people of colour. As such it was a key aim for us with this project to also cast at least two people of colour.

We ran an open casting call for each of the six parts and received a huge response of 321 applications. This volume of applications required a significant amount of time from the creative team, so to ensure that each individual was given due care and consideration the applications were divided up between Lu Kemp (Director), Niloo-Far Khan (Assistant Director) and Callum Madge (Producer), to draw up a longlist for each part. This longlist was then reviewed by Lu, who worked it into a shortlist, and then invited some performers from that shortlist in for recalls. As some of the parts started to be cast from the shortlist, in order to find performers who would balance well with the cast roles but also who fit with our diverse casting target, there was a requirement to make some direct approaches to agents. See below for the full breakdown of our casting.

Casting Breakdown

From a total of six parts available, we cast:

  • 4 performers from the open call
  • 4 performers who identify as disabled
  • 2 performers who are people of colour
  • 5 performers who are women

The radio plays are now in post production, a transmission date will be announced shortly.

Creative Team & Credits

The Something to Say radio plays were produced by Birds of Paradise in association with Perth Theatre, and with EHFM as broadcast partner.

Special thanks to BBC Scotland.

Bronagh & The Bum Goblin:

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)

Jammed:

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

The Premorial:

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

Creative Team:

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

Call Out Archive

The Commission

We will commission three writers to write a 15 minute radio play (monologue or duologue only). 

Writing:

As this is a commission, you will be expected to write this play without any support. We have requested a draft submission at which point we will offer feedback.

Production:

Once the finished script has been submitted, BOP will be responsible for producing the script into a finished radio play. While we will be happy to involve the writer in this process, we reserve the right to have the final say on specific production elements including direction and casting.

Fee:

For each 15 minute play we will pay the writer a fee of £1010.00 – this is inline with BBC rate for radio drama of £67.23 per minute for beginner writers.

Broadcast:

The finished plays will be broadcast on EH-FM (date tbc) and will be available on their website for twelve months from the broadcast date.

The finished plays will also be made available through the BOP podcast channel ‘BOP on the Wire’, available on various podcast platforms and hosted on our website. We will retain the right to continue to host the radio plays on our website in perpetuity.  All rights remain with the writer.

Timeline

Monday 12 October, 2020Applications open
Sunday 21 November, 2020Applications close
Monday 30 November, 2020Successful commissions announced
Monday 11 January, 2021Draft submission deadline
Monday 1 February, 2021Final submission deadline

Eligibility

To be eligible for this opportunity you must:

  • Identify as disabled, please see here for how we define disabled
  • Be based in Scotland
  • Have a proven track record of creative writing, this does not need to be radio plays
  • Be able to commit to the timeline, outlined above

How to Apply

To apply, you must submit a 500 word outline of the play you would like to write plus at least two examples of your writing.

Outline:

The outline should be a short summary of the story you want to tell. It could include a brief synopsis of the narrative, character descriptions and what your motivations are for wanting to tell this story.  Whether it is a monologue or duologue should also be explained at this stage.

The play must be a monologue or duologue

Writing examples:

For the examples of your writing, you can submit files of your written work (for example, a Word document) or video / audio recordings of your writing being performed (for example, a filmed performance of a play you wrote).

For video and audio recordings, you may send us the recording as a file or provide a link to where the file is hosted online. 

If the recording is quite long (for example, a whole play) please identify a short section that you feel best represents your work – i.e. if you sent us a link to a recording of a full length play, you could say “Please watch the section from 48 minutes – 56 minutes.”

The writing examples can be previous plays you have written but they could also be poetry, literature, comedy or anything else creative.

Please do not submit journalistic or academic writing – we want you to demonstrate your storytelling and creative skills.

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