And so, on Sunday afternoon I found myself standing nervously in the cold in Stratford-upon-Avon, waiting to be let into the radio studio. It helped that the presenter was also waiting to be let in, and could assure me that I was expected. Yes, I had the right time and the right place. He was also confident that somebody, soon, would hear the bell and come to the door.
My own confidence increased as it was obvious the presenter, (Nick Le Mesurier – see his comment and links at the foot of my last post), was fully prepared for the programme, was very re-assuring, and had a range of plan Bs in case anything went wrong. This included a plan to cover the fact that a co-interviewee, Andrea Mbarushimana, was lost somewhere in Stratford and might not arrive before it was our turn to go into the studio. Fortunately she arrived in the nick of time.
Both of us stayed in the studio for the duration of the programme, Stratford Words, which had the theme of hidden voices. After general introductions, a poem to mark armistice day and a quiz, it was straight over to me to chat briefly about my collection of short stories, Cast Off. Each story is the ‘hidden voice’ of a female character in a Shakespeare play, so the book fitted well with the theme. I talked a bit about how I came to write the collection, then read an extract from one of the stories. Nick prompted me to tell listeners how they could get hold of my book, and I was able to advertise my launch event at the Criterion Theatre, Coventry, on 23rd November, where local actors will be reading from selected stories. In short, I covered all the points I wanted to, without too many ‘ers,’ ‘umms,’ or embarrassed pauses. Result!
The next part of the programme, a pre-recorded interview and short story from an Armenian lady now living in Warwickshire, went smoothly. Then Andrea was introduced, talked a little about her life, and read a story inspired by her time as a VSO in Rwanda.
A monologue then, with an elderly ex-prisoner’s perspective, from Nick, who is an established local writer as well as radio presenter. This was followed by the answers to the quiz and, finally, a short poem from Andrea.
The hour flew by. It was great to be involved. But a great privilege too, to witness how the whole show came together and, with impeccable timing, finished bang on 5pm. I hope the listeners enjoyed it as much as I did.
Link to my story, Cast Off:
Link to Stratford Words: www.welcomberadio.co.uk/stratford-words