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English Professor to Give Lecture on Post-War Radio Dramas

February 6, 2020

 "What's the Point of a Radio Play? Early English Plays and Sound Drama on Post-War BBC," a lecture by Dr. Jessica Winston, will be hosted by the Department of English and Philosophy on Friday, Feb. 21, 3:30 p.m. in Liberal Arts 256 on the Idaho State University Campus. The talk is open to all, free of admission.

 Winston’s lecture presents the results of her sabbatical during 2018-19, in which she visited British archives housing BBC radio materials. In the mid-1950s, the network’s Third Programme presented “The First Stage,” a series of early English plays adapted for radio by John Barton and produced by Raymond Raikes. The series was ambitious, covering drama from the medieval mystery plays through “The Spanish Tragedy” including some of the only existing professional productions of many sixteenth-century plays, such as “Gammer Gurton’s Needle.” These were rarely performed dramas that listeners, if they knew them at all, would likely only have known from reading them at school or university.

Winston’s lecture will look at the role the series played in post-war debates about the purpose of radio drama. The series presented radio drama as an educational tool, but it was also a bridge between school and the professional theatre.

Winston is Professor of English and Chair of English and Philosophy at Idaho State University, where she has taught for nearly 18 years. She is co-editor of “Elizabethan Seneca: Three Tragedies and author of Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court.” Her current research focuses on the modern reception of early and mid-sixteenth century drama in performance.

For more information, contact the Department of English and Philosophy, (208) 282-2478.


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