Tech Tip: Radio Theater is Making a Comeback
Forget about e-books for a second. One of the best things about digital literature is that it makes old art new again. Case in point: radio theater.
With nothing more than an internet connection, drama lovers have an entire world of audio performances at their fingertips.
It’s not an art form that many associate with the fast-moving digital age. Radio performances conjure images of families sitting together in the living room in the 1940s, listening to drama and variety shows on their family radio.
But digital recordings have brought radio drama, once out of fashion, back to life.
Below is a list of some of the best places online to find radio theater. Many of the plays, of course, are also available in e-book formats. But, as drama lovers know, some literature is just meant to be performed.
LA Theatre Works: Based in Los Angeles, this nonprofit arts organization attracts some of the biggest names in Hollywood—John Lithgow, Anette Benning, Calista Flockhart and Neil Patrick Harris, to name a few—to perform plays written by Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde and David Mamet, among others. Their Audio Theatre collection features over 400 works and is described as the “largest in the world.” Listeners can download recordings from the organization’s website. Recordings are also available on iTunes, Audible.com and Amazon.
Wisconsin Public Radio: If old-time radio drama is what you’re looking for, WPR is your source. The station broadcasts old-time radio dramas every Saturday and Sunday night, featuring plays from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Performances include classics such as Ozzie and Harriet and Noel Coward’s Blythe Spirit. The recordings are also available free of charge through their digital archives.
BBC Radio 4: Probably the best known source for radio drama, Radio 4 features a variety of contemporary works, and even a few classic radio detective stories. The most recent radio play in its archives is a political thriller called The Emperor’s New Speech featuring Homeland star Damien Louis.