While the pandemic continues, several South Wales theatre companies have diversified into the world of audio dramas to keep their audiences entertained.
One such company is Theatre Adhoc, an unpaid theatre company who have performed plays such as Blood Brothers and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at various venues across South Wales. The company recently performed one of the final stage presentations Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should at the Congress Theatre, Cwmbran, before the UK Government advised the closure of performance venues during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Theatre Adhoc have recently released three audio dramas, recorded in partnership with radio production company Magic Gyratory between 2012 and 2013. The dramas include Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (both adapted by Theatre Adhoc’s Andrew Pippen) and Tea at Five by South Wales writer Ross Salvage.
Andrew Pippen of Theatre Adhoc explains
“Basically, Theatre Adhoc existed solely for the purpose of funding small groups to take part in the Gwent Drama One Act Play Festivals. I came in as a director and had to think of a way of raising the profile of the company without spending any money!
“I had friends in the radio industry, and we partnered up to adapt and record copyright free material which would be put out on community independent radio stations like Barry FM, GTFM and Wales Hospital Radio. We recorded Doctor Faustus, but it was never completed (in fact I have recently competed the post production hence why it’s a bit rough!) but Christmas Carol and Tea and Five were broadcast multiple times and I think they still use Christmas Carol each year!
The recordings also have special significance to the history of Theatre Adhoc. Andrew continues:
“They’re particularly important to us as two people who were in these projects have passed away since, Robert Comben was in Dr Faustus and took the lead in Christmas Carol; he passed away at the age of 35 four years ago, while Peter Winter played the ghost of Christmas Present in Christmas Carol and also passed away a few years after recording.
“It meant that we could go into our first proper production saying we had recorded and had plays broadcast and that worked. We did one act plays and comedy sketches for about a year and then we were putting on full scale productions in community venues; we then developed onto the full-sized theatre venues and larger tours that we do now!”
The audio dramatisations are available to listen via Soundcloud.as follows
By Christopher Marlowe, adapted and directed by Andrew Pippen.
Recorded in August 2012, the original sound files of Doctor Faustus were lost but recently the raw dialogue sound files were delivered to Theatre Adhoc and with sound and background effects has been restored to a complete audio production. The part of Doctor Faustus was played by Jonathan Hall.
Tea at Five
By Ross Salvage
Recorded in 2013, Theatre Adhoc and Magic Gyratory present Tea at Five a comedy by Ross Salvage. A comedy drama exploring a family and its responses to change.
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
A heart-warming audio adaptation of The Charles Dickens classic, featuring the vocal talents of Robert Comben and Peter Winter.
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