The golden age of radio gets newer all the time.
For years now, the Kiggins Theatre and Re-Imagined Radio, a Washington State University Vancouver project, have been reviving the bygone era when families gathered around a grand wooden box in the living room to listen.
So, local radio-drama lovers nearly slipped on a banana peel upon hearing that, for the first time in years, Portland’s busy Willamette Radio Workshop won’t perform its annual holiday classic “A Radio Christmas Carol” at the Kiggins this year.
“We couldn’t find a time that worked for everyone,” said John Barber, who has steered Re-Imagined Radio as a faculty member in the creative media and digital culture department at WSUV. “It was a challenge we just couldn’t solve.”
But Kiggins owner Dan Wyatt recalled that Vancouver’s own Metropolitan Performing Arts group recently shone during a live reading of the script “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” at a Harry Potter festival. Turning to Metropolitan to carry on the radio-drama tradition seemed like the perfect way to transform a loss into a win, Barber said.
“Let’s go a little more grassroots than before,” he thought. “Why have this event in Vancouver and bring in the entertainment from afar?” The idea of developing a local stable of voice actors and sound-effects specialists “is quite exciting when you think about all the ways it could go,” he said.