Updated: Jul 2
The Keeper of Songs is published today and the audio drama adaptation is also released today. Having stated my working life in radio, it's been wonderful to return to this medium, and to work with the talented cast and production team at Alternative Stories.
A talented cast of voice actors. We were extremely lucky to work with actresses Amy Forrest and Keeley Lane who appear in the main roles in The Keeper of Songs. Amy has appeared in Call The Midwife, Coronation Street and in the National Theatre’s acclaimed production of “Small Island”. When the pandemic struck she was just about to start a new show “Manor” at the National Theatre but instead she has turned her hand to voice acting, appearing in a number of Alternative Stories productions. A Yorkshire native, Keeley Lane has worked in TV, film and theatre in England and Northern Ireland. She acts, writes and directs and The Keeper of Songs is her Alternative Stories debut. Meeting only via zoom in the later stages of the UK lockdown, Amy and Keeley recorded their lines from their home studios with editing and post-production being completed by Nicholas John and David Pickering-Pick of FFG Audio in Gloucestershire.
Audio drama in lockdown. With theatres, concert venues and many film and TV studios closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, audio drama has been one of the few ways in which actors, scriptwriters and musicians can continue to work during the crisis. This project was onceived and created during lockdown with participants meeting via video conference and actors and musicians performing their parts in isolation.
Bella Hardy The Music in The audio drama is by Derbyshire folk musician Bella Hardy. BBC Folk Singer of the Year Bella Hardy found her first home in folk music through a childhood love for ballad books. A self-taught ‘fiddle singer’, she began performing at Cambridge and Sidmouth festivals from the age of 13. Her debut album Night Visiting established her reputation as a talented songwriter when her first original composition Three Black Feathers earned a BBC Folk Award nomination. Since then, Bella has sung unaccompanied ballads at a sold-out Royal Albert Hall, taken a band of drums, brass and electronics to the National Concert Hall of Budapest, and learnt the songs of Chinese farmers during her time as British Council Musician in Residence in Yunnan Province. She’s sat on the moors of her beloved Peak District with only her fiddle for company. She spent a year in Tennessee as a ranch hand, looking after horses, fiddle-singing in the diners, and immersing herself in the music culture of Nashville. With her mesmerising voice and ability to conjure and twist stories that call straicht to the heart, Bella has beguiled audiences from Canada to Japan, from Spanish bars, to castles, to concert halls.
About the podcast. Alternative Stories and Fake Realities is a literary podcast creating and commissioning original audio drama, poetry and short fiction. With a growing international following our aim is to provide high quality entertainment for our listeners, provide a platform for writers and actors and to give better-funded national broadcasters a run for their money! We have provided content to the BBC and North American broadcasters, been nominated for numerous awards and been selected to represent the United Kingdom at the International Radio Drama Festival in 2020 and 2021. The Silver Ball is one of a number of podcasts in which Alternative Stories has featured Cornish writers and the team have previously worked with poets Katrina Naomi and Mary J Oliver and alongside the Penzance based Hypatia Trust in turning their collection of writing by Cornish women into a podcast and audio book. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn and all major podcast apps and via the link below.