‘every sound terrified me’: Frankenstein on live radio

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In many ways, the history of radio drama is a history of adaptation. From its very beginnings, spoken word radio turned to literary sources in the creation of audio plays. Genres of Gothic and horror were particularly popular in the all-live era of radio drama (1930-50s), the invisibility and the domesticity of the radio medium proving a perfect opportunity to thrill and chill the fireside listener. Unsurprisingly, Frankenstein was a frequent source text with memorable and inventive adaptations being featured on classic series such as The Witch’s Tale in the 1930s and Suspense in the 1950s.

At UEA, we conduct research-as-practice into historical all-live radio drama, reconstructing this unique form of performance practice with live voice actors, Foley artists and musicians in productions staged in front of theatre audiences that – in a thrilling hybridisation of old and new media practices – stream simultaneously as webcasts via Twitch and other platforms. In March 2018, we performed an adaptation of Frankenstein commissioned for the Talos Science Fiction Theatre Festival in London. For this conference, we will present a shortened version of our London production with our ensemble of vocal, technical and musical performers in a theatrical enactment of radio practice which will be simulcast. Before we go live on air, we will present a short academic contextualisation of the history, theory and practices of Gothic and horror audio drama, especially in regard to the adaptation of Frankenstein.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018


  • radio drama
  • horror
  • adaptation
  • practice as research

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