Joanna Murray-Smith defends ABC radio drama

19 Oct 2012

An open letter to the ABC


As part of ongoing efforts to save ABC radio drama, playwright and Playwriting Australia board member, Joanna Murray-Smith, has today released an open letter to Mark Scott, Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

At a time when most arts organisations are rightly recognising the need to reach audiences beyond our urban centres, radio is the most cost effective and brilliantly poised medium to explore and present the imaginative skills of our young playwrights and to capitalise on the accomplishments of our established dramatists.

Murray-Smith is one of Australia's most celebrated playwrights and in her letter she credits early her early work with the ABC as a key influence in the pursuit of a career "based on the imagination." 

This letter follows a petition launched at earlier this month by the playwrights' collective, 7-ON. It calls for the Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, to preserve one of the most democratic and significant forms of Australia's cultural fabric."

If you happen to live outside a capital city, or are short the $75 for a theatre ticket, radio drama is a cultural lifeline. Not so long ago, ABC Radio National commissioned some 40 drama scripts a year. 

Now, there will be nothing: no work for writers, actors, composers, producers, and nothing for the listeners.

Canceling the production of radio drama comes as part of broader cuts of $1 million to the Radio National budget. If you'd like to add your voice to this discussion and express your concern at the plans to cut ABC radio drama, be sure to sign the 7-ON petition and visit Playwriting Australia's website to read the full letter from Joanna Murray-Smith.



Further reading What will Radio National cuts mean for the arts? Playwright lends voice to ABC cuts campaign Member's statement - Radio National: Programming. Why Radio?

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