Radio Play

June - September 2013

Writer Louise Jenkins leans over to talk to a participant who is wearing headphones

 A radio drama and script-writing project for visually impaired young adults aged from 18 to 30, which ran from June to September 2013.

Radio Play is Extant’s latest young adult’s project funded by Awards for All. We ran this project in summer 2013 with our partners Aculco Radio.

Awards for all logo of crossed fingers         Aculco Radio logo of a yellow disc on a fan shape

Two participants sit with their backs to us, a guide dog sits between them. They are facing the drama facilitator who can be seen between them, seated opposite talking thoughtfully. Black and white photo

This project was offered to 15 young visually impaired people aged 16-30. Through a number of drama sessions facilitated by Oli Campbell-Smith and supported by visually impaired trainee workshop leader Anita Barzey, the young people devised their own work to be broadcast professionally.

David, a young man, laughs and claps his hands

A white woman leans on a desk in concentration as she writes in a notebook. Black and white image

Aculco Radio, a South London internet community radio station broadcasting in Spanish, Italian and English, partnered with Extant to record and broadcast the final piece. The subject matter and focus of the work was led by the group, who explored ideas around their own experiences being visually impaired.

The group sit in two large circles discussing ideas

Visually impaired writer Louise Jenkins facilitated the script-writing sessions over the summer to help the group to draft their own ideas and the final script, which they named Sidetracked.

Writing and drama workshops took place early September to polish up the script and performance, before rehearsals and recording sessions at Aculco Radio.

Participants are sat at desks with laptop, books and other writing devices before them, they are smiling at drama facilitator Oli who holds a microphone out towards them

Sidetracked is a comic take on three characters’ attempts to reach an important occasion, whilst using National Rail, and how through being ‘side-tracked’ from their goal enables them to re-evaluate what really matters in their lives. The piece comically reflects the frustrations that can come with the lack of autonomy commonly felt by people with some disabilities, including being dependent on members of the public / staff from organisations to assist you in various life situations such as getting from A to B.

Anita, the assistant facilitator, squats down to talk to one of the participants who is seated looking down at her. Anita's face is animated as she gestures towards herself with one hand. Black and white picture

Young participants’ comments

I wanted to be part of an interesting project that really reflected visual impairment and disability. It was always fun and positive with plenty of laughs.

Three young women are taking part in a physical warm up, making punching movements as one giggles. An access worker looks on

I am now far more confident in acting, and in reading out a script in front of a microphone. I have begun to believe that I can be a serious actor, where before I was not sure if I could do this.

I feel I am able to voice an idea I have, instead of usually sitting there and not saying anything at all.

The support from access workers were fantastic; the support from the writing creation and drama side was exceptional.

A group of participants are arranged in a semi circle, sitting or standing in pairs they are chatting animatedly. A guide dog is curled up next to a woman on the right

Doing this project has really strengthened my confidence.

Thanks to the Radio Play Project I am now very keen to try and get involved with writing for radio properly.

The way the project was structured kept the ideas flowing in constantly.

The project has had a positive effect on my life in terms of me seeing it as a good platform for greater things in drama.

The head and shoulder of a young man smiling and relaxed, looking left

Broadcast and podcasts

Sidetracked was broadcast 4th November 2013 and again on 22 March 2014 reaching over 2,500 people in 10 countries. To listen to the final podcast, follow this link.

To read an article about what it was like to take part by Lucy Hemingway, click here.

A young man with floppy hair is seated, with a broad smile, his arms crossed

Another young man sits relaxed and smiling

Two young women sit engrossed at a desk, the support worker is taking notes as the participant describes an idea

Drama facilitator Oli sits with a young female participant as they share a joke

The view from outside a circle of chairs, the workshop group are listening to a woman talking on the right

Radio Play participants and cast of Sidetracked

  • Ben B – Hamish
  • Joanne  Wacha – Olivia
  • David Wilkins – Ian
  • Miracle Maduforo – Magic
  • Sam Obigbesan – Alex
  • Norin Khanna – Mr Norin
  • David Lloyd – rail staff and police officer
  • Megan Price  – rail staff and police officer
  • Loane Ferbac – Christie
  • Winnie Lam – Maggie the dog
  • Lucy Hayward – the ghost


  • Jade Sempare
  • Harrison Ward-Mullis

Radio Play Team

  • Project Manager: Louise Dickson
  • Drama facilitator: Oliver Campbell-Smith
  • Writing facilitator: Louise Jenkins
  • Drama assistant: Anita Barzey
  • Radio: Juan Toledo (Aculco Radio)
  • Access Support Team: Maa-Yar Addo, Chikodi Nwaiwu, Lucy Hegarty
  • Photography: Tamsin Gadd, Paloma Calopa

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