Margate theatre company 1927 takes to airwaves with ‘plague’ inspired tales

1927 has created tales inspired by Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio's masterpiece The Decameron (Raffaello Sanzio Morghen / Public domain)
By Dan Thompson
A Margate theatre company is taking to the airwaves, after its tour was cancelled because of the Covid 19 lockdown.

Following the cancellation, Northdown Road company 1927, were commissioned as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine series to create a brand new audio project for BBC Radio 3, which is premiering tonight (August 10).

The show will be the first to use the BBC’s new Audio Orchestrator – which allows listeners to synchronise multiple connected devices like phones, laptops and tablets to create a surround sound experience.

The new piece Decameron Nights is inspired by Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece The Decameron, which he wrote in response to the great bubonic plague of 1348.

In The Decameron, ten storytellers shelter from the Black Death outside Florence, telling ten tales a night in their quarantine. The stories they tell borrow plots from ancient folk tales from all over the globe. The show also features Laurence Owen, a maker of strange sounds and eerie effects, and Lillian Henley, a Composer of exquisitely haunting music.

1927 have previously used some of the same stories in Roots, which was set to tour but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“Throughout these challenging times, Radio 3 has been giving listeners the much-needed opportunity to unwind,” says Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 said “These short plays show the power of audio and reflect our need to create and share stories as human beings.”

Decameron Nights is on BBC Radio 3 for the next three nights, Monday 10th-Wednesday 12th August, at 10.45pm. It will also be available on the BBC Sounds app.