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Coronet Inside Out: David Rudkin


Two of David Rudkin’s haunting audio dramas that offer a visionary awareness of the landscape performed by Toby Jones, Frances Tomelty, Stephen Rea, Juliet Stevenson and Jack Wilkinson, alongside an exclusive interview with Rudkin and Jack McNamara, Artistic Director of New Perspectives Theatre Company.

Legendary playwright David Rudkin (Afore Night Come, Ashes, Penda’s Fen) has created ten stunning new works for audio giving a voice to some of the most remote regions of the British landscape.

Two of these haunting works were recorded live at the Print Room studio with an all star cast and are now being made available for listeners to enjoy at home. Both are masterpieces of place writing and showcase Rudkin’s unparalleled ability to evoke vast worlds with human voice alone.



Performed by Toby Jones, Juliet Stevenson and Jack Wilkinson

Long haunted by the great ghost story writer MR James, Rudkin pays homage to him here in this eerie and blackly funny tale about an ancient earthwork who curses a facile academic called Marworth for attempting to use her as the basis for a university lecture. Whilst on site researching his subject, Marworth finds himself deeply haunted by the landscape and face to face with an apparition who eventually unravels his sense of self.



Performed by Stephen Rea and Frances Tomelty

In a rare return to his Northern Irish roots, Rudkin takes us to the place of his childhood and creates a stunning duologue between a haunted lake and a young boy, now grown up, who used to visit her secretly. Rea and Tomelty swings us between conflicting layers of reality with language that plunges you headfirst into the darkest depths of imagination.


The ten-strong PlacePrints series is free to listen to on your favourite podcast platform including: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Radio Public, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Soundcloud and more. For further details click here.

“Somewhere between ghost story and New Nature Writing Rudkin’s homage to the British landscape is eerie, unexpected (and) gripping…. these stories deserve careful listening.” Reviewshub


Click here to see the other work available to watch for free on Coronet Inside Out.


David Rudkin

First play, Afore Night Come, staged by Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962 experimental season; informed RSC’s modernizing approach to the performance of Shakespeare as ‘our contemporary’; with Edward Bond’s Saved, was the play that most helped bring to an end the Lord Chamberlain’s function as theatre censor. There followed:

Original opera-libretti for composers Gordon Crosse (The Grace of Todd: dir. Colin Graham, Aldeburgh 1969) and Joseph Horovitz (Sabatai Zevi – though he never composed it). A performing translation for the Royal Opera House 1964 Georg Solti – Peter Hall production of Schoenberg’s Moses and Aaron. Later, original libretti for one-act operas by Param Vir:  Broken Strings (dir. Pierre Audi, Munich Festival 1992), and Black Feather Rising (dir. Jos van Kaan, Stichting Octopus, Amsterdam 2008).

‘Additional screenplay’ work for directors Tony Richardson (on a Genet script Mademoiselle, 1963) and François Truffaut (on his Fahrenheit 451, 1964). In 1968-69, a full screenplay for Fred Zinnemann (a film adaptation of S. Anski’s Hassidic play The Dybbuk). Later, my first original screenplay, worked from the memoirs of Shostakovich, Testimony (dir. Tony Palmer; New York Film Festival Gold Medal for Screenplay 1988). Adaptation of December Bride by Sam Hanna Bell (dir. Thaddeus O’Sullivan; European Film Festival Jury Special Award 1989). Adaptation of The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy (dir. Phil Agland; Shanghai Film Festival awards, 1997).

Among original plays for tv: in the ’60s, for H.M.Tennent’s Globe Television The Stone Dance and Children Playing (both produced by Cecil Clarke, directed by Peter Wood); for BBC ‘Wednesday Play’ series (prod. Irene Shubik, dir. Alan Cooke) House of Character and Blodwen Home from Rachel’s Marriage. Later, for BBC Pebble Mill, Birmingham, produced by David Rose: Penda’s Fen (dir. Alan Clarke 1974), Artemis 81 (dir. Alastair Reid 1981); produced by Carol Parks, White Lady (1986, directed by myself).

For BBC Radio 3: Cries from Casement as his Bones are Brought to Dublin (dir. John Tydeman 1974); The Lovesong of Alfred J. Hitchcock (dir. Philip Martin; Sony Silver Award 1993); The Haunting of Mahler (dir. Philip Martin 1994). For Radio 4 Belfast The Giant’s Cause… (dir. Lawrence Jackson 2005).  Again for Radio 3, Macedonia (dir. Jeremy Mortimer 2014).

As a translator: the Persians of Aeschylus (Radio 3, dir. Richard Imison 1965); the Hecuba (Radio 3, dir. John Tydeman 1975) and Hippolytus of Euripides (RSC, dir. Ron Daniels 1978); Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (RSC, dir. Ron Daniels 1983), Rosmersholm (Radio 3, dir. John Tydeman 1990) and When We Dead Waken (London, Almeida Theatre, dir. Jonathan Kent 1990); Genet’s Deathwatch and The Maids (RSC, dir. Ultz 1987);  Deathwatch translation later reworked from Genet’s final (1985) revision of the play (London, Print Room, Coronet Theatre, dir. Geraldine Alexander 2016).