Preview :: The Last Stand – A Radio Play Performed Live

November 17th 2011



Next week, All the Best will hook up writers, performers and radio listeners from around Sydney for a literary love-in at the Paper Mill. As part of their residency at the gallery, ATB will present The Last Stand: A Radio Performed Live. In three acts you'll hear stories from Ampersand's Alice Gage and Eddie Sharpe, writer and comedian Zoe Norton-Lodge and friendly faces from All the Best. The whole night has been helped along by In the Dark, a listening collective from Sydney. Here, organiser Mike Williams explains himself.

How often do you listen to the radio with other people?

For the most part we listen alone, and this is a great and suitable thing for many reasons. But I really don’t think it should be limited to that. There’s something special about a bunch of strangers coming together and listening with the lights out; it’s like when you go to the movies and everyone laughs, so you laugh too—it’s a different experience.

In the Dark is a volunteer-run family (of sorts) organising community listening events in different places all over Sydney. It might be hard to imagine, but people come together in a space (like a pub, a church or a gallery), turn the lights off and listen. A person or group of people who love listening usually curate the night.

Like convicts, scones and cricket, the idea was imported from the UK. A lady named Nina Garthwaite founded In the Dark and was open to the idea of franchising it to Australia. Over time Nina built up the name and like most good scone recipes, word spread. Nearly every In the Dark sessions in the UK now sells out, and with the money raised they fly curators in from other parts of Europe. They also commission creative audio pieces by people from around the globe. Things here in Sydney are a bit different; we’ve only been going since June this year so we’re still working out the possibilities.

We think that any discussion about radio is a good discussion. We work to promote the medium, and we particularly want to back the people who back creative audio and storytelling (like 2ser 107.3, ABC Radio National and FBi 94.5). Surprisingly, these organisations don’t get together a lot so to have them working together is really cool. In the Dark gives radio-makers the opportunity to be in the same room to listen, eat muffins and maybe connect. The benefits are mutual; these stations help promote events on air, online and in person as volunteers. The person collecting the money on the door is usually the Executive Producer of Radio National’s flagship features show, 360documentaries.

In the Dark loves to collaborate, and working with other groups outside of radio is something we hope to do more of—the Paper Mill residency is just one example of how In the Dark can work with artists from broader backgrounds.

There are some people that come down and have never heard a radio feature before and that’s OK! If In the Dark can give someone that experience for the first time then that’s awesome. If we could inspire someone to subscribe to a podcast, wiki a radio station’s history or tune into a radio show as opposed to flicking on that U2 album then we’ve achieved our goal. Especially if it’s a U2 album.

What: A Radio Play Performed Live

Who: FBi's All the Best and In the Dark


Read more from Nick La Rosa