From left to right: Vicki Barta, Bruce Ormond, Greg Heide, Gord McInnis, and Charles Harman rehearse via zoom for the upcoming radio play, “Visitor from Planet Zoltan”. (Submitted photo)

From left to right: Vicki Barta, Bruce Ormond, Greg Heide, Gord McInnis, and Charles Harman rehearse via zoom for the upcoming radio play, “Visitor from Planet Zoltan”. (Submitted photo)

Radio plays prove successful for Ladysmith Little Theatre, four more in production

Ladysmith Little Theatre pivoted to producing radio plays during the pandemic

Following the success of their first four radio plays, the Ladysmith Little Theatre will soon release four new radio plays written by Ladysmith author and playwright, Greg Finnegan.

The new plays: “Happy as the Larks”, “Visitor from Planet Zoltar”, “Catered Crime”, and “It’s Isabel” will be released from May 3 to June 28.

“They’re in the more traditional ’40s, ’50s radio where they would do advertising blurbs with a radio announcer. That ’40s, ’50s feel is what they have about them,” radio play co-producer, Bruce Ormond said. “They’re a bit lighter fare than the first four we did, but they’re a lot of fun. We’re in rehearsals for two of them right now and everybody’s having a lot of fun.”

Ladysmith Little Theatre pivoted to producing radio plays as a way to continue theatre under COVID-19 health orders. The theatre has been closed since March 2020 and Little Theatre members were eager to produce new shows.

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“Typically with radio plays everyone is in the same room, it’s very much a live experience. Whereas in our case, we’re doing everything via Zoom. There’s challenges there because everyone’s on different WiFi setups. It’s a challenge for our sound tech to piece it all together,” Ormond said.

Despite the challenges, the Little Theatre’s radio plays sound like the voice actors were all in the same room, and the plays are a lot of fun.

B.C.-based writer Brian D’Eon wrote the first four radio plays: “Triple, Triple”, “The Chat”, “Sirens”, and “Black Out”. The first play was released on the Little Theatre’s YouTube Page on Jan. 2, 2021.

So far, the plays have collectively amassed over 600 views, which is about on par with the Little Theatre’s average attendance for live theatre. Having the plays available online has also opened up a global audience. Ormond said that people have shown the plays to friends and family across the world.

One listener sent the Little Theatre a message detailing how the plays have lightened the lives of those listening.

“My friend is experiencing a setback in her treatment of a disease she has. At this time, it is difficult for her to read a book or even watch TV. I sent her the links to your website to listen to the Radio Plays. She is very grateful to be able to listen to these entertaining performances. Thank you for making these available for everyone,” she wrote.

The radio plays feature the talents of Anne Dougherty, Dave Ehrismann, Bruce Ormond, Kathleen Ramsay, Lorne Kraft, Ken Hiebert, Lesley Lee, Susan Warner, Charles ‘Chuck’ Harman, Mary Lou Reside, Moira Fox, Greg Heide, Ann McInulty-Gogo, Jesse Wilson, Dave Barta, Vicki Barta, Mike Cooper, Marni Hastings, Christian Ostaffy, Michael Robinson, Gordon McInnis and Brian D’Eon.

Each of the radio plays is available at ladysmithlittletheatre.com and on their YouTube page: Ladysmith Theatre.

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