The Listening Stage

Click the image above for lots more behind the scenes photos and videos

Download: The Listening Stage

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Each year, legendary radio dramatist Roger Gregg teaches a unique intensive course in radio drama. The Listening Stage follows students of The Gaiety School of Acting’s radio drama course, as they pursue their hopes and dreams of fame. This fly on the wall doc embeds us in Roger’s annual weeklong workshop, introducing actors to the exciting world of audio theatre. The course culminates in a live performance of a radio comedy. We follow the crafting of this production from initial script reading to rehearsals, to the development of sound effects and music, the creation of memorable characters, all the way through to the final performance. Taking a look, for the first time ever, behind the curtain of this legendary drama school’s radio drama workshop.

Click the image above for lots more behind the scenes photos and videos

We’ll join the students as they learn to tailor their voices for the microphone, create characters, and explore an astounding array instruments and old school practical sound effects.

We’ll follow the student’s journey, learn about their backgrounds and ambitions, their dreams and hopes for the future. Joining them as they discover how sound and music punctuate and amplify the dramatic and comedic effects of performance, tempo and suspense. This will be a unique journey into what it means to be an actor and an exploration of the oldest form of recorded storytelling as it exists today. Finally we’ll hear excerpts from the student’s final production, recorded live at a performance in the Boys School Theatre in Smock Alley.

Writer / Director Gareth Stack’s previous documentaries include ‘Getting into the Game’, an introduction to videogame development aimed at school age children; and ‘Mad Scientists of Music’ an exploration of experimental alternative music in Ireland.

Credits

Music – Mattia Cupelli, Sad Piano Music, Jos Lis – various.

Clip from ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’, and ‘The Party’, fair use for educational purposes.

Clip from original recording of ‘Whose Afraid of Rottwang Krell’ used with permission.

With thanks to the Gaiety School of acting.

Special thanks to Roger Gregg and Gaiety School of Acting Class 2017.

Starring:
Ailbhe Cowley, Aoife Martyn, Aoife O’Sullivan, Ben Thompson Caroline Mathiasen, Danaja Wass, Darragh Byrne, Eadaoin Barrett, Eoghan Collins, Gemma Kane, Hana Leigh, Jack Mullarkey, Jessica Leen, Gilly O’Shea, Leigh Douglas, Maureen Rabbitt, Niall O’Brien, Roisin Rankin, Tara Cush, Thommas Kane Byrne.

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My two final Radio Programmes – Coming Soon

Probably my final two radio productions (at least under the sound and vision scheme), were both completed last year. By coincidence they’re both coming to air really soon.

Download: The Listening Stage and Mic Drop Trailer

Each year, legendary radio dramatist Roger Gregg teaches a unique intensive course in radio drama. The Listening Stage follows students of The Gaiety School of Acting’s radio drama course, as they pursue their hopes and dreams of fame. This fly on the wall doc embeds us in Roger’s annual weeklong workshop, introducing actors to the exciting world of audio theatre. The course culminates in a live performance of a radio comedy. We follow the crafting of this production from initial script reading to rehearsals, to the development of sound effects and music, the creation of memorable characters, all the way through to the final performance. Taking a look, for the first time ever, behind the curtain of this legendary drama school’s radio drama workshop.

Broadcasts: Saturday March 31st: 9pm, on Newstalk 106-108 FM.

You’ll also be able to stream the show from Soundcloud, or download it from the Dead Medium Podcast right after broadcast.

Mic Drop is a new one off drama, starring Adam Tyrell, fleshing out the play of the same name that debuted to critical acclaim at the ‘Scene + Heard’ Festival in Summer 2017. This one-man show tells the story of Irish web entrepreneur Perry Pardo. Perry is the living embodiment of the new Ireland. A working class boy made good, Perry moved to San Francisco to make his fortune, and now he’s back to teach a room full of eager listeners how to replicate his success. This satirical business seminar rapidly descends into a dark exploration of contemporary Ireland, as Perry’s hard partying catches up with him and he undergoes a breakdown – revealing his background and failings through fragments of story and song. In the process Perry reveals the anxieties and hypocrisies that can underlie the success stories of Irish entrepreneurship, and the dark side of wealth.

Broadcasts: Tuesday 17th April at 2PM, on Phoenix FM.

You’ll also be able to stream the show from Soundcloud, or download it from the Dead Medium Podcast right after broadcast.

Dead Medium Receive Funding for Three New Programmes

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The Broadcast Authority of Ireland this morning released the results of their latest funding round. Dead Medium Productions was awarded funding to develop three new programmes.


The Muse Unbidden
, for Newstalk 106-108FM

The Muse Unbidden is an exciting one off drama from one of Ireland’s most influential radio dramatists. The play, a success on stage at the Collaborations festival in Smock Alley theatre in 2012, follows a group of would-be poets enrolled in a performance poetry workshop led by a charismatic and unconventional teacher. Using music and dream diaries, the participants are cajoled into finding and surrendering to their personal muses. As the workshop progresses they travel a rollicking odyssey of confession and self-revelation, giving voice to their obsessions, desires, wit, pain, and memories. For some their uninhibited self-expression leads to joyous catharsis, for others to grief and loss. The play satirises the world of performance poetry, blending music and poetry to create an original and entertaining programme. This satire on modern poetry and self-discovery, written and directed by Roger Gregg will feature an original musical score performed and recorded by a cast of multi-talented actor-musicians.


The Listening Stage
, for Newstalk 106-108FM

Each year legendary radio dramatist Roger Gregg teaches a one of a kind course in radio drama. The Listening Stage is a documentary following students of The Gaiety School of Acting’s radio drama course, as they pursue their hopes and dreams of fame. This fly on the wall doc follows Roger’s annual week long workshop, introducing actors to the exciting world of audio theatre. This intensive course culminates in a live performance of a radio comedy. We’ll follow the crafting of this production from initial script reading to rehearsals, to the development of sound effects and music, the creation of

memorable characters, all the way through to the final performance. Taking a look, for the first time ever, behind the curtain of this legendary drama school’s singular radio drama workshop.

 

Migrant Fictions, for Near FM 90.3

Migrant Fictions is an ambitious new drama project, bringing together the talents of a diverse group of immigrant writers to capture their experience as émigrés to Ireland. German-Polish writer / director Dominik Turkowski developed five short drama scripts through workshops with writers from the immigrant community. Their stories capture the varied experiences of newcomers to Ireland. This project provided the opportunity for immigrants to articulate their experiences in their own words, through five short radio dramas. These dramas were devised collectively by the immigrants themselves, and connect in profound and mysterious ways that reflect with humour and humanity what it means to be a migrant in Ireland today. Featuring new work from Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, Tina BrescanuÖzgecan Kesici, and Dalia Smelstoriute.

 

Dead Medium are a small Dublin company producing highly crafted radio documentaries, on location drama series, culture reporting and more.

This decision follows on from our previously successful programmes under the scheme Getting into the Game (Newstalk), The Bee Loud Cabaret (RTE Lyric), The Wedding Tree (Newstalk), The Wall in the Mind (Newstalk), Mad Scientists of Music (Near FM), Any Other Dublin (Near FM), Choices (Dublin City FM), and Been There; Seen There (Near FM).

Getting Into The Game

Download: Getting into the Game Documentary

Broadcasting Bank Holiday Monday 31st October, 11AM on Newstalk.

Getting into the game is a new documentary aimed at kids who play games. Video games. Kids who play videogames and wonder maybe, possibly, perhapsily, if they’d like to make them. Growing up I remember getting those magazines full of strange impenetrable symbols that promised – if you could just type the whole book into your computer, without making any mistakes – you’d get a brand new, completely free game. These days games are everywhere, but they’re so damn fancy they can seem impossible to learn how to make.

This documentary will help open the lid, just a crack, to see what lies inside your favourite games. We’ve brought together people from every corner of the industry – artists, coders, indies, musicians, gamejammers, and developers of every age.

Featuring interviews with..

Mary Moloney of Coder Dojo
Andrew Boel, Pete McNally, Nick Grey, & Jen Taylor of Havok.
Terry Cavanagh, creator of VVVVVV and Super Hexagon
Owen Harris, designer of Deep, and co-founder of DubLUDO.
Niall Kehoe, Irelands youngest videogame developer.
Students and Lecturers from IT Carlow’s Videogame design degree.
Vicky Lee & Andrea Magnorsky of Global Gamecraft.
and filmmaker, animator and indie developer David O’Reilly.

The programme is divided into five segments, each one looking at a different part of making games.

Learning the Art

We visit cutting edge computing research laboratories at DIT and IT Carlow and tour exciting games development technology.  Lecturers and students explain the skills students should be building outside the classroom if they’d like to study videogames in college. Students tell us about their love of games and how they got into making their own.

Getting Covered in Jam

At DIT a group called ‘Global Gamecraft’ host ‘game jams’, competitions where anyone (over 18) can help make a game in just a few hours. Game Jams are an excellent way to develop the technical, artistic and collaborative skills sought by the games development industry. Jams are a fun and friendly way for young people to get a taste of game development. We speak to competitors and organisers like Vicky Lee, and provide a glimpse of the excitement and accessibility of ‘homebrew’ game development

Creating Havok

Modern videogames simulate exciting and realistic physics. The most impressive game physics ‘middleware’ software in the world comes from an Irish company founded by graduates of Trinity College. Havok are an industry leader employing dozens of artists and programmers. We speak to staff at the company about the day-to-day work of making one of the key technologies underpinning some of the most exciting and popular videogames.

Independent Heroes

The independent game development community is a thriving segment of the industry. We speak with leading Irish indie developer Terry Cavanagh, creator of hit games like ‘Super Hexagon’, about running his own studio. Terry explains how new distribution methods make it easy for anyone to sell their homemade game on the internet. Independent game development is a part of the industry that is particularly important to present to second level students – since it can be used to develop skills, or even start a business while at school.

We try out virtual reality in the company of Bryan Duggan of DIT, exploring DEEP, the anti-anxiety game from Owen Harris. Deep uses unique breathing sensors, soothing music and a beautiful polygon virtual environment to teach deep breathing relaxation techniques.

We hear from David O’Reilly, animator and creator of fictional videogames for use in Hollywood films. David gives us a glimpse into a self-directed career involving art, graphic design, and filmmaking.

Coder Dojo

Coder Dojo is a place for kids to learn how to make games, websites, and even robots. Started in County Cork, the Dojo movement has spread worldwide. Amazingly, Coder Dojo events are completely free! If there isn’t a coder dojo in your area, you can even start your own. We meet some of the kids who are making coder dojo the coolest place on earth.

Getting into the game was produced by Dead Medium Productions. The programme was developed, researched and presented by Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal.

All the music and sound effects used in the programme are listed here. Many of them are available for you to use for free in your projects under a creative commons licence. This documentary is available to download and share for free under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence, it can be played in class or emailed to your students. Use it and share it! Go make some games!

BAI CREDIT

Freelance Forum Talk

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I’ll be speaking for a couple of hours tomorrow at the National Union of Journalists ‘Freelance Forum‘ for photographers and writers. I’ll be talking about my experiences applying for funding and producing work under the BAI’s Sound & Vision scheme. I’ll also be addressing serious issues with the scheme and funding reductions to the radio sector over the past decade. This talk should be of real worth to anyone currently intending to apply for funding under the Sound & Vision scheme, as well as radio students and trainees who may work on projects funded under the scheme in future.

Tickets are 20 euro, but also cover a guide to working in courts service and a panel on pitching to editors. Full programme [PDF].

Time: 9.30AM – 4.30PM
Date: Monday 14 March 2016
Venue: Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
Tickets

The Life & Work of Roger Gregg – Mad Scientists Bonus Episode

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Roger Gregg is a dramatist, poet, musician, actor and performer. Over a long career on radio and theatre, he’s had dozens of plays performed all over the world, and written and recorded numerous radio dramas as ‘Crazy Dog Audio Theatre‘.

Today Roger continues to record and perform, with his ‘Bee Loud Glade Cabaret’. Bee Loud shows fuse poetry and music, giving new life to verse, mythology and storytelling.

Roger appeared in episode one of Mad Scientists of Music, and this episode continues our discussion. Roger talks about everything from his radio influences, to his career in Irish theatre, to the inimitable power of sound.

Download: Mad Scientists of Music – Bonus Episode – Roger Gregg

Tracks Used

Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Studio Cuts
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Time Out For Bill Lizard
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Up Yours (featuring the words of Gerry Murphy)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Too Lovely for words (featuring the words of Gerry Murphy)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – The Boney (featuring the words of Iggy McGovern)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Helen’s Kiss
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Infidel
Roger Gregg – We’re number one
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Night Start
Roger Gregg – The Hollow Men (featuring the words of T.S Elliot)

This recording is released under a non-commercial, no-derivatives Creative Commons Licence.

Mad Scientists Of Music – February Update

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Artist Highlight – (John Leach, Siam Collective / Gamepak)

John Leach is the man behind psychedelic rap collective Siam Collective (pictured). Out of costume he looks like Damon Albarn circa 1996, and talks like the charismatic head of a hip hop fuelled electronics cult. Along with A4 Sounds’ Andrew Edgar, MarQu VR and ‘Jeff Jeff Jeff’ he runs Gamepak, the group responsible for bringing chiptune gigs and circuit bending workshops to Dublin. I spoke to John in the creepy cosy former Magdalene laundry he calls a home. Here here is, in full mad scientist mode talking about humanity’s cybernetic relationship with the circuit.

And here he is demonstrating the black art of cartridge ripping.

Documentary Update

I’m sitting in the basement of Trinity Library, surrounded by studious folks burrowed in their laptops, their little desktop kingdoms defended by troops of empty Monster energy drinks and granola bar wrapper sandbags. On my laptop is a table of my work on Mad Scientists of Music to date. With the exception of a couple of sonic experiments it’s almost entirely been recording, collating and editing interviews: Capturing dozens of hours of ‘tape’, cutting out ems, ahs and digressions and slicing them into clips with names like ‘Quentin Tarantino’s Starwars’ and ‘Alien Language’. I’ve interviewed thirteen Irish electronic musicians, from circuit bending hackers to chiptune pop stars, and recorded several tours of their musical toyshops.

I’ve travelled to Limerick, Liverpool, Brighton, Maynooth and all over Dublin, in the process learning a little something about audio recording and the many many ways you can screw it up. I’ve had to deal with a couple of disasters – several of my preliminary interviews had to be completely redone due to foolhardy mic placement, and a whole week of editing work on a marvellous interview with Ewan Hennelly had to be redone from scratch when I managed to accidentally erase a bunch of files.

Technical mishaps aside, the interview process has gone great. My guests have included theramin robot builders Deathness Injection, the toytronica hackers of Gamepak, Irish hiphop diva Meljoann, and rising chiptune superstar Chipzel. Our conversations have gone everywhere from copyright to UFOlogy. I can’t wait to get this stuff out there. Thing is – there’s a long way to go before this documentary’s finished.

I keep a running tally of clip lengths in my SUPER-MEGA-EXTRA-ENORMOUS-SPREADSHEET-O-DOOM, and (with about half the interviews still to edit) we’re already looking at over 500 individual clips, containing 371 minutes of finished interviews, or enough for 12 thirty minute episodes, not counting music.

Putting it all together, mixing, building a sound scape worthy of the material and generally having fun – not to mention the chop chop chop of cutting the interviews, is going to take a looong time. With that in mind, I’m going to start posting Artist Highlights – brief bios of musicians featured in the documentary, with a couple of interesting / entertaining clips to accompany them. These won’t necessarily reflect the style or substance of the final series, but they’ll help motivate me to keep cutting, and hopefully provide a small thank you to the many musicians that have made the series possible.