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 (1). pp. 41-58. ISSN 1476-4504

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Abstract

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
Additional Information: This article was first published online on 17 August 2021. The issue date is 1 April 2021.
Uncontrolled Keywords: bbc,hamlet,john gielgud,narration,radio drama,received pronunciation,shakespeare,sound effects,cultural studies,communication,visual arts and performing arts,media technology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3316
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2021 00:30
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2021 01:59
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81145
DOI: 10.1386/rjao_00033_1

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