Women’s History in Audio Drama
Women’s History Month 2023
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we have a varied selection of radio plays exploring different facets of women’s experiences. The life of the talented and independent Daphne Du Maurier is viewed through the house she loved, in Jo-Ann Challis’s Love for Menabilly. Jane Downs combines tribal poetry with the story of a woman in the Arab spring in Battle Cries. Red Gray’s The Unravelling Fantasia of Miss H tells the story of a music teacher locked in an asylum for over 40 years. Peace and War is based on the diaries of a WW1 nurse. Enjoy all of these fascinating plays and more, below.
Radio Plays for Women’s History Month
Love for Menabilly is an original audio play written by Jo-Ann Challis, exploring the relationship between Daphne Du Maurier and the house she loved. Menabilly is a house with a past, but seemingly no future. Hidden away from prying eyes on a Cornish peninsula, Mena’s been abandoned by its owners and left to rot. It’s hurting and lonely, and embarrassed by its shabby appearance.
Battle Cries. Audio Drama inspired by the Arab Spring of 2011. Jane Downs has written from a woman’s perspective on the Arab Spring, referencing the traditional tribal poetry of pre-Islamic Arabia. Featuring extracts from the Mu’allaqat of Antara – a poem embroidered on a cloth of gold and publicly displayed in Mecca in the 7th century.
The Unravelling Fantasia of Miss H is a fusion of theatre, opera and in the stage performance, dance, telling the story of music mistress Mary, incarcerated in an asylum for 41 years. Samplers stitched by Mary, on display in the Wakefield Mental Health Museum, inspired writer and composer Red Gray to tell her powerful and tragic tale.
Comedy. Ladies was inspired by the very real and very fraught campaign at the turn of the 20th Century to build a ladies’ loo just outside Camden Town tube. Restricted toilet facilities for women were causing social, political and economic problems. Starring Alison Steadman and Rachel Atkins, and recorded live, this is an enjoyable fictionalised account of the real battle for a ladies’ loo in London.
Peace and War explores the extraordinary life of Evelyn, who at the start of WW1 went to France to nurse injured soldiers at the Front. Based on the diaries of the author’s mother-in-law, Peace and War gives unique insight into the life of a WW1 Nurse.
Redder than Roses is an intense intimate drama based on the lives of Mary Queen of Scots and the French poet Chastelard. No British monarch was more glamorous than Mary Queen of Scots. No one was more spellbound by her than the Pierre de Boscol de Chastelard. But as he yearns for an intimacy impossible given Mary’s position – especially under the watchful eye of the puritanical Earl of Moray – Chastelard is driven to ever more desperate measures. Celebrity stalker? Poet uncompromising in quest of beauty? Decide for yourself, in an intimate drama with all the intensity of Renaissance tragedy recorded live at the Lee Wood Hotel as part of the Buxton Festival.
Carina Rodney’s swashbuckling tale of real-life pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny. This fantastic podcast explores the love affair between the two, and their adventurous lives. Directed by Kate Saxon.
Listen on Audible