New online radio plays being created by growing group of frustrated theatricals in Lincolnshire

A new platform for frustrated theatre lovers in Lincolnshire to share their passion with others while confined to their homes under coronavirus lockdown is going global.

Beyond Boundaries Theatre. EMN-200304-144628001
Beyond Boundaries Theatre. EMN-200304-144628001

Theatrical director Maria Bates, from Boston, launched Beyond Boundaries Theatre on March 19 in response to the growing need for an outlet for theatrical talent unable to tread the boards.

She recently directed Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by Sleaford Little Theatre and was currently preparing a play to be shown at Blackfriars in Boston when the call came that all theatres must shut their doors.

She explained: “I was wondering how to keep in touch with all my theatre friends over this period of time and thought I would create something that would inspire people to continue their passion for the theatre.

Kei Bailey - Heckington playwright excited for his new radio play, Spilt Milk. EMN-200304-144648001

“I started up a Facebook group to see if anyone wanted to join and after two weeks we have 300 members.”

Although primarily designed to attract local amateur and professional thespians, it has drawn in people from the north of England and Scotland, London and Suffolk, as well as Hong Kong, Cyprus and New Zealand.

Their aim is to put on play readings, record some radio plays and even some visual plays as well, enjoying their passions from the comfort of their homes.

They are keen to hear from scriptwriters, directors, actors, singers, musicians, video editors, technicians and anyone who would like to be part of this collaboration.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, being read on Sunday. EMN-200304-144851001

So far, Maria said they have done a play reading of the two acts of Spilt Milk, a play written by Kei Bailey of Heckington, which was held last weekend. Auditions were heard last night (Thursday).

They next aim to rehearse on Monday and Wednesday then record this piece as a radio play on Friday next week to then be edited, sound effects added and aired on a freely accessible new internet-based community radio station in Heckington that Kei is involved with.

They also aim to do unrehearsed play readings every week.

The next will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Saturday, April 4 between 3pm and 6pm via Zoom, the free conferencing tool online. This includes a 20-minute interval.

Doors Closing by Nathan Hughes on Saturday. EMN-200304-144638001

Then on Sunday there will be a play reading of Doors Closing by Nathan Hughes from 3-4pm. This is a thriller following the diminishing fortunes of city typist Laura, whose routine rail journey home turns into a nightmare fight for survival as her fellow passengers; an elderly underworld matriarch and a reluctant hitman; engage in a deadly grudge match of words and bullets.

Maria said: “We hope to produce them as radio plays and put them into an online format, recording them without us having to be together.”

She said the main hurdle has been working around the technical side of things, but they have had help of Tom Creasey from Sleaford Little Theatre who put together their website. They have to edit scripts and put in sound effects to make it worthy of radio.

Maria said she has needed to concentrate on the voices of the actors when auditioning: “It is the interaction and feeling of the voice. I will ask them to turn off their video camera so I can just listen to them delivering their lines.”

Spilt Milk radio play auditions were held last night. EMN-200304-144658001

Maria also teaches radio plays in her drama courses and said: “I am absolutely amazed and blown away by the amount of people that have come on board. During the read-through I was working with people maybe have never met before but it is very much community based.”

The plays will be live streamed on Facebook and on Youtube and the website. Visit: www.facebook.com/beyondboundariestheatre or www.youtube.com/channel/UC8si5K15mRe6ZRJrXasHu7Q .

Kei Bailey is excited about his play being the first to roll off the production line of radio plays from the group.

It will be aired on the Heckington Living Community Radio station which has been set up online to connect people in the village and surrounding community by the makers of the revamped village magazine, Andrew and Patricia Mellett-Brown.

Kei said: “They have already broadcast one of my monologues which was performed by Andrew Key and my friend edited it. They are looking for more spoken word pieces and so this latest project for Spilt Milk will be heard by a wider audience.

“It can be heard nationally through Facebook but for me it is really important we are entertaining the local community of Heckington, surrounding villages and Sleaford during these difficult times and it is exciting for me to bring it to this platform to which anyone can tune in.”

Kei said local groups in Boston, Heckington and Sleaford all had plays coming up at the time of the lockdown and wanted to keep busy entertaining people in some way.

He said: “It is about finding an outlet for people’s creativity and passion for theatre directing and acting.”

Kei has ben involved in community radio plays before, putting on a daily soap opera called the Mayflower about a Boston pub for Blackfriars’ Stump Radio station in the past.

With Spilt Milk, he said it will be recorded live online, giving audiences a chance to hear the process of putting together a radio play from its raw state. He added: “There will be errors and this is a process, not the finished product.

“Even if it takes people’s minds off the situation for an hour, it helps,” said Kei.