Appendix B: Literature Survey
I have found myself quite virtually alone in studying Saskatchewan radio drama, especially in the contemporary period. Widen the parameters to include radio drama in the rest of Western Canada, and there are still few theses to be found. The last thesis from the University of Saskatchewan which focused on radio drama was Willis Barry Pearson’s Master’s Thesis, entitled: A Bibliographical Study of Canadian Radio and Television Drama Produced on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's National Network, 1944-1967 (Saskatchewan 1968). Pearson’s thesis is strictly a “catalogue of Canadian radio and television drama that would lay the groundwork for studies” in the medium of broadcast drama (v). Pearson’s thesis dealt with national CBC radio and television. Steven Olson’s The Function of Radio Drama: An Alberta Perspective (MA Alberta 1991) focuses on radio drama in Alberta from 1929 through to the 1950s. Olson focuses primarily on the radio dramas produced outside of the CBC, the economics of radio drama produced for commercial radio stations, and the works of Elsie Park Gowan. Roger Des Ormeaux’s The Sounding Board: W.O. Mitchell's fiction on CBC Radio (MA Concordia 1994) explores the literary processes of W. O. Mitchell77 as he turned his written fiction into radio-works. Graça Maria De Sousa’s Western CBC Radio Dramas of the 1960s and 1970s: Regionalism, Postcoloniality, and the Western Canadian Myth of Beginnings (MA Concordia 1996) explores some western playwrights working from a postcolonial view in the 1960s and 1970s whose work looks back to the years of western settlement and the Depression. She focuses on a relatively small number of plays produced at CBC Calgary. De Sousa’s stated reason for focusing exclusively on Calgary- produced plays was that playwrights from across the prairies sent scripts there; thus it is a fair sample of Western Canadian Dramas.
I hope to provide a study of, to borrow a phrase from Mansel Robinson’s Ghost Trains, the dramatic “dark territory” that is Saskatchewan radio drama. With the exception of Olson’s thesis on Alberta radio drama, most study of radio drama based on regions of Canada has been no more specific than Western Canada. Literature has been largely uninterested in any radio plays produced within the last 25 years. Wayne Schmalz’s On Air: Radio in Saskatchewan does pay some specific literary attention to
Mitchell, of course, did some of his growing up in Saskatchewan.