From on the stage to on the air: Spartan theatre goes to radio


Emlyn Polatty

Posted weekly on video platform Youtube, each episode contains historic information about the actors and crew involved in the original radio shows. All research is garnered by teacher Brandon Lawrence who also pieces together the audio and music clips for the final product.

Though their spring performance was cancelled due to corona, White Station theatre students have turned to old fashioned radio shows as an outlet for their creativity. Started about a month ago, “Theatre On the Air” performs a different radio script from the 1930s and ‘40s every week, featuring genres such as comedy, mystery and suspense thrillers.

The shows are rehearsed and recorded using Microsoft Teams then edited by theatre teacher Brandon Lawrence and posted to his Youtube channel, Drive Home Reviews. Lawrence, who has a special place in his heart for antiquated forms of entertainment, decided that these radio shows would be the perfect way to create despite the circumstances.

“I thought it would be a good way to get the performance that everyone kind of wanted to do and also shine a light on a form of performance that hadn’t really been seen or heard in the modern era,” Lawrence said.

Performing on radio differs greatly from performing on the stage. However, the actors are facing the unique challenge of radio performance head-on.

“Actors on stage are trained to perform with their whole bodies: their eyes, their hands, their body language,” Lawrence said. “Here everything you’re getting is just the voice.”

Regular cast members, such as Azariah Glover (11), also deal with technical issues like sound quality and internet lag, most of which are solved in the editing process.

“It’s not consistent because we’re in different places,” Glover said.  “We’re using different things to connect to each other, so it’s kind of hard for everything to come out right on cue.”

Despite the obstacles, the radio shows have become a haven for these performers, allowing them to entertain while remaining distanced. Angel Sager (11) has been in two of the five episodes and has appreciated being able to stay in touch and create with theatre friends via the radio show.

“Through all of this, we still have time to come together and do something entertaining, even if it isn’t on the stage,” Sager said.

Catch their latest episodes on Youtube by searching “White Station Theatre on the Air.”