Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Radio refuge

Andrew Edwards of the Manchester radio station ALLFM (96.9) is recording interviews with the theatre companies involved in 24:7, to be put on the 24:7 website, and on Sunday night Rachael (above at rehearsal) and I made our way separately over to Levenshulme to do ours. What a night! So cold! It would be cold for April, leave alone July! And wet, of course. I got a lift over, and after I was dropped, wrapped up in my leather jacket I went up onto Levenshulme station to wait for Rachael who was coming by train. Not a soul in sight, no sign of the train down the line, just wetness and wind and swaying trees, and everything grey - a world forsaken not just by summer. And how I wished I had gloves! But then the signals changed to red and the train came into view, worming its way towards me, and then there was Rachael stepping off the train in her woolly duffel coat and wellies!

ALLFM is situated in a converted three-storey corner terrace house just across the road from the station. Such a contrast inside! Another 24:7-er answered the door to us - I think it was Anthony Trevelyan who wrote Harlequin - since Andrew was in the studio recording someone. Julia Hogan, the author of Each To their Own, was also waiting her turn in the cosily bright back room which still had the air of a living room with a sofa and easy chairs. Not long afterwards, others joined us, including Luke Walker, writer of Mind The Gap. There was an immediate sense of refuge and cameraderie induced by the evening outside, adrenalin for the impending recordings and the fact that our shows opened in precisely one week's time! Julia echoed my feelings by saying that she was exhausted - she was amazed at how much work producing a show was. At the start she had considered directing hers, but was now entirely thankful that she hadn't!

Andrew was lovely, popping out in his bright tee-shirt between recordings to tell us to help ourselves to the water and biscuits and nectarines, and putting everyone at their ease. Then it was mine and Rachael's turn to go into the converted front room which was the studio and talk about The Processing Room. I had prepared a little dialogue, and we took turns at the only mic to read our bits, which Andrew would splice together afterwards. Rachael was brilliant, as I knew she would be: she is the daughter of actors and has been doing radio for all of her life. I haven't been in front of a mic that often, but as I said to Andrew when he said he thought I had, I've been around radio studios for a very long time. Let's just hope it sounds like it!

The publicity is really kicking off: on Thursday I'll appear on Let's Go Global TV's weekly evening programme, and on Friday night I'm on BBC Radio Manchester's Mr and Mrs Manchester (95.1FM/104.6FM)!

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