During February half term, a group of young, aspiring writers occupied the Mercury Theatre studio for three days. There they wrote, rehearsed and recorded Mercury Theatre’s very first Radio Soap Opera.
This project was a culmination of a five-week knowledge transfer training with Ministry of Stories. Ministry of Stories is an East London based writing and mentoring centre, which aims to help young people discover and enhance their creative writing abilities.
Day 1, of the three-day project, saw the young writers become acquainted with creative and free writing. By the end of the day they had developed storylines, characters and the title of the soap opera. A productive days work!
Day 2, Ben Payne, National Producer from Ministry of Stories offered to mentor the young people to help them develop their characters storylines and find their voice. Together with volunteers from the Mercury Theatre, the young people finished and edited their scripts by the end of the day!
Day 3, began with vocal warm-ups and focus games to get the voice actors ready to record their scenes! This was followed by rehearsals of the radio play and of Foley sounds to include in the radio recording. By the end of rehearsals, the radio play contained a balanced mix of pre-recorded and Foley sound effects. Before the sharing, young people had a Q&A session with TV and radio writer Joe Lidster. Joe has worked on Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood as well as The Sarah Jane Adventures. The young people were then able to ask Joe any questions about careers in writing for television, theatre and radio.
The final product…
Comprehensive Colchester: an ordinary school with extraordinary problems was performed live in front of an audience of staff, family and friends. The Radio Soap Opera received terrific feedback and went down incredibly well with the audience. Many of them left hungry for episode 2!
Fabiana Sforza is a Creative Learning and Talent Freelance Practitioner