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The Works Partnership's ground breaking and award winning season of bilingual radio drama has been an inspiration to creators of drama and audio drama in more than one sense. Breath-taking in its audacity, the season introduced the idea of completely bilingual drama so that a single language listener could not only understand the complete drama but receive an enhanced auditory experience as a result. Listen in particular to both A La Villa Bab Azzoun by Kit Hesketh Harvey, and Bucharest Underground by Saviana Stenescu for a fuller understanding of intimate code switching in audio drama. The BBC and Radio France’s own effort in 2009, “Deja Vue” has clearly been inspired by this work as was the work produced for Irish radio’s Gogar sound and vision project in 2010.  

As if this were not enough, the season appears to have explored new territory in the range of different recording environments used. Alongside RTE Lyric FM’s recording of the “Flying Dutchman of Innishkillen” on location and the quirky “Grotte de Bernd” recorded in a Vienna University basement to enhance the flatline drama (sic), two of the radio dramas A La Villa Bab Azzoun and The Way of all Women were recorded as live, albeit interestingly, there is no trace of the audience on the finished edits. I wonder why?

In 2009, professional as live drama recorded in front of an audience (outside of panel show comedy) was unheard of. Now, everyone seems to be doing it. Have a look at Wireless Theatre Company’s impressive record over the last couple of years and also the Fitzrovia website. 

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