Many people assembled for the recording of three Radio 4 programmes to be broadcast July 12, 19 and 26 at 7:45pm at Smallhythe Place’s Barn Theatre on May 19. The director, Celia de Wolff, has an important connection with Rye, as she was responsible for Ned Sherrin’s radio version of Mapp and Lucia, and the readers of the specially commissioned short stories were all notable actors of stage and screen. The three stories are as follows:
- Marsh Fever: written by Brighton author Alison Fisher, her inspiration was the malaria, or marsh fever which pervaded Romney Marsh in the sixteenth century. This was read by Teresa Gallagher who now lives in Folkestone.
- A Rye Boy: written by Marian Garvey, another writer from Brighton and read by Irish actor Niall Buggy, familiar to fans of the “Mamma Mia” film as Fr Alex, who tied the knot between Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.
- Hollywood and Rye: written by Kellie Jackson, who was inspired by a framed menu signed by Charlie Chaplin, which is on display at the Mermaid Inn in Rye. This was read by Serena Evans who lives in Sevenoaks.
The peaceful, idyllic pastoral setting of Smallhythe proved to be an interesting technical challenge to both production team and the readers. The occasional car or airplane were mere hiccups but rain, thunder and hail stopped play several times and the nearby sheep decided at one point to have their own protest meeting. The readers kept going, despite the decreasing temperature, and listeners can look forward to hearing these stories broadcast, all of which relate to Rye and district. Each include a delightful contrast of characters, drawing on fearful, moving and humorous situations which make for compelling listening. It was particularly good to meet two of the writers and hopefully we will be hearing more of all of them.
Photo: Sandra Lanigan