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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 19 / 185

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Introduction: Isolation, Radio Drama, and Saskatchewan

13

Isolation is often a term connected to radio drama’s audience. Anne Nothof in

“Canadian Radio Drama in English: Prick up Your Ears” praises radio drama’s ability to

create theatre wherever a listener has tuned in, “for in most cases, radio drama is heard in

the enclosed spaces inhabited by isolated individuals – isolated because of geographical

distance, physical or social restrictions, or simply because of patterns of living and

working – the long drive, the long evening” (60). Kelley Joe Burke speaks of Gallery

audiences specifically, in terms similar to those Nothof uses in speaking of radio drama

listeners in general. Burke adds more examples of the audience for radio drama within

Saskatchewan:

The cows love us. They play Gallery in all the dairy barns in Saskatchewan because they give better milk. But, certainly our audience tends to be older - but I’m always surprised by the amount of young, especially rural young people, that listen - Tends to be older, tends to be of British background. Tends to be people who have grown up listening to the CBC, or in some cases the BBC and have a taste for that. (interview)

These are listeners outside of what Burke acknowledges as the “arts audience.” They are

people within the creative community of the province, “people that listen to us know the

people we’re producing, because it’s a completely Saskatchewan program. So, the

writing community, the music community, stuff like that - they’re a dedicated audience”

(Burke interview). The fans of radio drama often are friends of the radio, looking for

companionship to ease their own isolation. While radio drama listeners can feel less

alone while listening to a play, it is also true that, most often, the listener is alone: at

home, in the car, while exercising. Radio listeners find relief from isolation, real or

imagined.

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