Radio Play

Radio Play

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Sounding Off with Katie Redford

Among the first categories to be judged this week was Radio Play.

For this small yet intriguing group of works, we were joined by writer and actor, well known for her portrayal of Lily Pargetter on the The Archers, Katie Redford. It was the diversity and ingenuity of this category that surprised her the most.

Which stories have stood out to you the most?

People say that you should write about what you know, I think that’s really clear with some of these pieces. There are certain pieces that have been not only interesting to read but are an insight into their background. It’s mostly the plays where I don’t know much about the subject matter that have stuck with me. And the variety of the category has really surprised me. I’ve gone from a piece that’s about spoken word in a prison, to a sci-fi fantasy piece about aliens invading a cricket pitch!

How have you found the judging process?

I mean this in a positive way – it’s more intense than I thought it would be. Because you can’t just shut off, you have to read every piece because every piece matters, and you have to really think not just about what you like but what makes a good radio piece. The sound effects, the way the scenes link to each other. With radio it’s really easy sometimes for the writing to be expositional because you’re not seeing it. You have to explain to the listener what’s happening. It’s really interesting reading who’s nailed that.

What advice would you give to radio play writers?

This sounds really silly, but just write. Don’t worry about what audience it will be for, or whether it’s been done before. Just write about something that you’re passionate about. I think it’s subjective to each person, but for me, the scripts that work are the scripts that aren’t just dialogue. I think that it’s harder for the listener to keep engaged without hearing some sort of action.

And why is it good for radio? What is it about it that you want to tell through the medium of radio? I think that if you have an answer for that, you’re already on your way.