Noise, narration and nose-pegs: adapting Shakespeare for radio

Smith, Andrea (2021) Noise, narration and nose-pegs: adapting Shakespeare for radio. Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, 19. pp. 41-58. ISSN 1476-4504

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The BBC’s first director general, John Reith, believed the plays of Shakespeare were perfect for radio, with ‘little in the way of setting and scenery’ and relying chiefly on plot and acting. However, a closer look at the texts reveals that many require a good deal of adaptation to work in sound only. That has not stopped BBC radio producers creating hundreds of productions over the past century. Instead, it has spurred many of them on to greater creativity. Initially reliant on narration, producers began to devise a wide range of techniques to make Shakespeare comprehensible without visuals. These include specially devised sound effects, soundscapes and music, as well as distorting the actors’ voices in various ways, including using nose-pegs and the assistance of the Radiophonic Workshop. This article uses audio and written evidence to uncover those techniques and examines how successful they have been deemed to be.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: radio, BBC, radio, Shakespeare
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Andrea Smith
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2023 14:17
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2023 14:17

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