I am a student at the University of Oxford, which has a vibrant theatre scene brimming with talented actors, directors, writers, and more. The Oxford University Dramatic Society puts on 3-4 plays per week on average during term-time, so I reached out to the community asking for scripts to showcase some new writing. The result was this project, which I launched in collaboration with The Online Stage and its parent company, Voices of Today.
Some of the plays in this list have never been performed before, whereas others were performed in Oxford theatres before being rewritten for the radio. Below are all the plays that have been released so far – you can also check out the posts for them on this tag.
If you would like to support my work and fund future endeavours, you can donate via PayPal here.
‘Waiting for Gary’ by Katie Sayer
Anya and Chris have been divorced for 18 years. When their daughter goes into labour, they are reunited outside the maternity ward, and in the exchange that follows, they are forced to confront each other, and the awkwardness of their past, as they wait for their new grandchild to arrive.
This play was first performed at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford in 2018. This recording features the original cast, with a new character, the Receptionist, who was previously offstage in the stage version.
CAST – Anya: Dorothy McDowell | Chris: Tom Fisher | Receptionist: Leanne Yau | Nurse: Manish Binukrishnan | Kia: Katie Sayer
“Award-winning writer Katie Sayer’s scintillating comedy shines and sparkles with wit and insight, captivating and delighting the audience for every moment of its 50 minutes.” – The Daily Info
“Funny, relevant, and bittersweet” – Oxford Opening Night
‘Cut Them Loose’ by Michal Krenz
Cole, an old sea captain, lives on a ship with his daughter and her immigrant husband. The trio prepares for a deluge, while Cole meets Daphne, a mermaid who seduces and tempts him. As tensions rise with the rolling tides, Cole must make a difficult choice: take a leap into the unknown, or stay on the safe side. This is a story about connection and separation, about tolerance and the decision to cut ties.
This is the first professional recording of Cut Them Loose. Sound mixing by Bastian Schick.
CAST – Cole/Weather Reporter: Alan Weyman | Rachael: Elizabeth Klett | Lafcadio: Marty Krz | Daphne: Leanne Yau
‘Your Little Play’ by Anna Myrmus
Laura is an aspiring playwright and director. Living off sheer ambition and the odd bit of praise, she struggles more and more to justify her own life choices. After being accepted onto an accessibility scheme, she is given the opportunity to work with her hero, Louis Sherman, but what she encounters behind the scenes defines her career and life forever.
Hot on the heels of the #MeToo movement, Your Little Play explores the sacrifices we make for personal ambition, the abuse of power, and the treatment of sexual misconduct in a thought-provoking and authentic manner.
This play was first performed at the Michael Pilch Studio in Oxford in 2019. This recording features the original cast.
CAST: Laura: Isabella Gilpin | Louis: Alexander Marks | Anne: Harrison Gale | Maya: Ellie Harrington | Mark: Jake Rich | Emma: Lorelei Piper | Kate/Maggie/Martha: Amelia Holt | Tom/Larry/Waiter: James Akka
“uniquely brilliant and thought-provoking… possibly the best new writing I have seen in Oxford thus far, with an elaborately constructed plot, a host of multi-faceted characters, and lines that grip, chill, and shock… Your Little Play is a 90-minute triumph, and is little only in name.” – Oxford Opening Night
Your Little Play could not be more relevant. An exploration of sexual harassment and the abuse of power, the play presents a tragic storyline which by now seems all too familiar… the greatest achievement of Your Little Play was the outstanding quality of the acting. – Cherwell
‘CUTTING ROOM’ by ARTHUR CHARLESWORTH
Cutting Room is set in the “Town Welfare Department” of a town in the Midlands, Burtonwood, during public sector cuts. Four characters (David, Lucy, Ian, and an intern, Anne) have to take calls from members of the public complaining about the loss of public services, with the boss Harry coming in occasionally to offer cheerful but often useless encouragement. As the cuts continue, tensions run high, with Ian in particular taking his anger and frustration out on the secretary, Tilly. At the play’s conclusion there is a surprising twist, and we also learn that the workers have inadvertently cut themselves out of their jobs, as they have been filling in databases to fully automate the department.
This play was first performed at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford in 2019, and was one of the winners of the prestigious OUDS New Writing Festival competition (despite it being the first play Arthur Charlesworth has ever written!). The cast are from The Online Stage.
CAST – Ian: Craig Franklin | David: Mark Crowle-Groves | Lucy: Sarah Mitchell | Harry: Andy Harrington | Anne: Leanne Yau | Tilly: Amanda Friday
‘DOWN WITH MY DEMONS’ by josh bourne
Ten years after a tragic incident on the lake, an AA meeting in a small, religious town in the deep south of the USA descends into bitterness and chaos when a flood hits. Trapped within the local church, tempers escalate and well-buried secrets begin to emerge. Personalities clash, reputations are dissected and questioned, and everybody’s demons are laid bare.
This play was first performed at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford in 2018. The cast are from Voices of Today.
CAST – Vincent: Andy Harrington | Pastor Talbot – Jeff Moon | Samuel – John Burlinson | Delilah – Amanda Friday | Jael – Lee Ann Howlett | Radio Singer: Leanne Yau
Down With My Demons depicts very well how the toxic obsession with other people’s lives can destroy a small, traditional community. – Oxford Opening Night
…an almost timeless quality… – Cherwell
‘WHITE NOISE’ BY RÓISÍN MORIARTY
Rachael is a formidable crime boss in the underworld of an unnamed city. Beautiful but deadly, her one rule for her right-hand man is: Don’t get too close. Then she hires Mikey, a tough ex-soldier who is eager to please, especially given that one of his duties is to “service” his highly sexed boss. Every day, Mikey edges ever closer to breaking that rule as he unashamedly wears his heart on his sleeve.
What Mikey doesn’t know is that Rachael’s former lieutenant, Jaz, made the same mistake and ended up being killed in the line of duty. Existing only as a voice in the head of Rachael, her ex-boss and former lover, Jaz fashions herself as the woman’s very own Jiminy Cricket. She takes no notice of the threat that she’ll be rendered little more than white noise if the crime boss chooses to simply ignore her presence.
Will Mikey fall into Rachael’s trap and join Jaz in the void, or does the psychopathic Rachael have a heart after all?
CAST – Rachael: Leanne Yau | Mikey – Tom Saer | Jaz: Caroline Taylor | Additional voices: Hal McNulty, Hannah Patient, Alexander Marks, Tamsin Sandford Smith, Jack Blowers, Adrian Burbie, Ellie Cooper, Harry Berry, Lorelei Piper, Monica Emily Schroeder, Alex Brindle