scripts and microphones

About IRDP



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Independent Radio Drama Productions started in 1987 and soon became one of the world's leading independent producers of radio drama. IRDP was a non profit making company and was run by directors Tim Crook, Richard Shannon and Marja Giejgo. IRDP's ambition was to promote the value of radio drama and to expand opportunities for writers new to radio. IRDP ran festivals and competitions which resulted in the production and broadcast of many plays by new writers who would not otherwise have had the chance to hear their work aired on the radio. In 1996, IRDP received a nomination at the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards for 'Developing and Fostering New Writing' in recognition of this work. The Woolwich Young Radio Playwrights' Competition was awarded the Daily Telegraph / ABSA award for Best Youth Sponsorship in 1991. For details of other awards, visit our Awards page.

National Public Radio: The prestigious National Public Radio network often transmitted IRDP's work throughout the United States. NPR exclusively commissioned original productions of Sherlock Holmes stories starring Edward Petherbridge, and Dracula starring Kenneth Haigh, and it also broadcast many of IRDP's dramatisations including Pride and Prejudice, Mutiny on the Bounty, Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent, Tartuffe, Frankenstein and many others.

Actors: The company was privileged to work with many of Britain's leading actors such as Bill Paterson, Siobhan Redmond, Peter Guinness, Tony Armatrading, Clive Wedderburn, Nerys Hughes, Leslie Grantham, Don Henderson, Gerard Murphy, Carmen Munroe, Beth Goddard, David Yip, Colin Baker, Edward Petherbridge, Kenneth Haigh, Tony Booth, Simon Fenton, Daniela Denby-Ashe, Danny Newman, Frances Tomelty, Aden Gillett, Lisa Coleman, Toyah Willcox, and hundreds of other superb actors.

Music: Specially recorded music featured prominently in many of IRDP's productions, from Purcell performed by harpsichord maker and player Anne Tucker in The Diaries of Samuel Pepys, Paganini performed by violinist Robert Gibbs in Mutiny on the Bounty, various pieces for the harp played by Nicola Broke in the Thames River Guide, Scriabin, Prokofiev and Chopin performed by Leo de Bono in Frankenstein, various violin pieces performed by Michiko Ueno and Robert Gibbs in Sherlock Holmes, Haydn performed by the St Margarets Trio in Pride and Prejudice, through to specially commissioned compositions: Alan Gibbs composed haunting music for Heart of Darkness and a Tartuffe suite for Molière's play, and Leo de Bono created stunning piano pieces for Dracula and The Last Days of Oscar Wilde. All of these musicians are well known in their own field and it was always a great pleasure and privilege to be able to work with them.

MAGICAL MUSIC BOX: In 1993, IRDP was asked by Marshall Cavendish Partworks Ltd to produce stories on tape as part of the MAGICAL MUSIC BOX series introducing young children to classical music. This involved 52 issues, each comprising a high quality illustrated magazine telling a story as well as including factual information on classical composers, and a tape or CD featuring music alone plus the story from the magazine dramatised and produced with a complex web of sound effects and music by the chosen composer for each issue. The series took several years to complete. The drama from Issue 4 - The Wizard's Spell - won both a Gold Medal and the Grand Award Trophy for Entertainment Programming at the International Radio Festival of New York in 1994.

Theatre: IRDP had a theatre subsidiary which developed a number of innovative stage projects and experimented with the symbiosis between theatre and radio. On Air Theatre Company presented four full short theatre plays at the Cambridge Theatre in London's West End in April 1994, followed by a two week run of Hello? by Dale Smith at the Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington in September of that year. Richard Shannon's full-length play - Sabbat - was presented at the Tristan Bates Theatre in May 1995. At the same time, three winning plays in the Woolwich Young Radio Playwrights' Competition were presented to a full house at the Cottesloe Theatre. In January 1996, Tim Crook directed Dale Smith's first full-length play - The Kissing Game - at the Tristan Bates Theatre. On Air pioneered the use of surround sound, and Tim worked with Battersea Arts Centre's artistic director, Tom Morris, to create a virtual reality sound design for a production of Samuel Beckett's play All That Fall at the BAC in March 1996. In September of that year, Tim and Richard directed Restless Farewell by William George Q and Freefall by Elizabeth Berry, again at the BAC. These productions featured surround sound and computer digital projection.

Anglo-American Radio Drama Company: IRDP also had a US sister company incorporated in New York - the Anglo-American Radio Drama Company. Charles Potter, an experienced and award winning radio drama producer was the President of the company. AARDCO's first production was a commission from National Public Radio for a drama-documentary commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the D-Day Landings. It was narrated by former British Prime Minister, Lord James Callaghan. The company also received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop 'The Innocents Abroad' project which sought to celebrate the engagement by American writers with the European experience. The company also had a grant from the British Council to dramatise Tom Taylor's play Our American Cousin which was the play President Abraham Lincoln was watching in Washington DC when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

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