SHELLEY SILAS RADIO PLAYS
Shelley was born in Calcutta. Her work for Radio 4 includes Calcutta
Kosher,The Sound of Silence and The Magpie Stories. Also
for Radio 4: an excellent adaptation with writer John Harvey of
The Raj Quartet,
broadcast in Apr - June 2005.
Shelley has edited an anthology for Virago,
Twelve Days, published in November 2004. She is also one of
the writers in Val McDermid's on-line anthology Endangered
Species (launch date Saturday 16 August 04 at the Edinburgh
Book Festival). Her short story Via Calcutta, featured in
September 2004, was a winner in the 1996
Fresh Blood competition at the ICA. The link for the web-site is
In 2002 Shelley won a Pearson award and was Writer-in-Residence at
the Bush theatre, where her play Falling was produced.
In February 2004
produced Calcutta Kosher at the Southwark
UPDATE....22 Mar 2005
Shelley's book adaptation on
Radio 4 - ONLY IN LONDON - by
Hanan Al-Shaykh, 5 x 15m. Woman's Hour serial, repeated
Calcutta Kosher was on at the
Southwark Playhouse last Feb, then on a sell-out UK
tour; it transferred to the Theatre Royal Stratford
East last June.
Shelley adds...I am currently writing a play for Clean Break which will be produced in
London in the autumn and then go on tour. Other radio commissions include INK and COLLECTIVE FASCINATION, both to be
broadcast in July of this year. And NOTHING HAPPENED which I am co-writing
with Luke Sorba, which will be broadcast in December.
The anthology 12 Days, was highly praised and reviewed when the hardback was
published in Nov 2004. It is available in paperback. (N.D.)
Jul 2008: New Stage Play: "Eating Ice Cream on Gaza Beach" - by Shelley Silas (dir: Anna Niland, Design: Anthony Lamble; Lighting: David W. Kidd), It's sixty years since Israeli independence. Good news for some; not so good for others. While one side celebrates the other side mourns.
by the National Youth Theatre at the Soho Theatre, 21/22 Aug 7.30pm, 23 Aug 3pm & 7 pm; 25/26 Aug 7.30 pm; 1/2/10/11 Sept 7.30 pm, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St, London. Box Office 020-7478-0100. Web: www.sohotheatre.com & www.nyt.org.uk
BBC RADIO BROADCASTS
2011 Mr. Jones Goes Driving, 45m
2009 I am Emma Humphreys, 60m
2007 Molly's Story, from Great Expectations, in the series "Celluloid Extras".
2005 Nothing Happened, 45m
2005 Ink, 45m.
2005 The Raj Quartet (Classic Serial), with John Harvey.
2005 Only in London (dram)
2005 Collective Fascination, 55m.
2002 Calcutta Kosher
2002 The Sound of Silence, 45m. Shortlisted for Imison Award.
2002 The Magpie Stories (reading)
BBC BROADCASTS: NOTES ON THE RADIO PLAYS
MR. JONES GOES DRIVING....2011
An elderly man has to stop driving the car he loves. He goes out one last time, a journey which lets him look back on his life. With Richard Briers, Ann Davies, Muzz Khan, Helena Breck, Jonathan Holby, Ben Tosh, Stella Duffy, Wilf A Ashdown, Ruby A Ashdown. Producer Gordon House. Not sure but I think this is probably an independent production... afternoon play, 45m.
I AM EMMA HUMPHREYS....2009
25 Sep 09, Friday Play. Dramatisation of the true story of a homeless teenage prostitute, her pimp (whom she killed) and the effect of her case on criminal law twenty years later. Joanne Froggatt, Stephen Critchlow, Delroy Brown, Susan Jameson, Lynne Verrall, Stephen Hogan, David Hargreaves. Producer Claire Grove.
Stars Clare Rushbrook and John Dougall; directed by Claire Grove. Five minor characters from a
classic film are selected, and five radio writers each asked to write a play about
one of them. Shelley's is about Molly from Great Expectations (broadcast R4, 27 Mar,
in the woman's hour and evening drama slot). Molly is housekeeper to Mr. Jaggers, the
lawyer who manages Pip's inheritance. Jaggers got Molly off a charge some years
earlier, and she has worked for him ever since. But - her past is about to catch up
For the record, the films used by the other authors were: The Importance of Being Earnest,
I Know Where
I'm Going, Black Narcissus and The Railway Children.
Lovely play about an on-off relationship which lasts for many
years; it looks as if it's going nowhere. College, first job,
married, later in life..... there are several scenes set many
years apart, with the same couple meeting under different
circumstances. Skilful, effective writing, and
beautifully acted. Co-written by Luke Sorba. Afternoon play.
Unfortunately I have no more details and I've given the tape back
to the person who lent it to me.
Vinny and Trish met in 1997 on the Mall while mourning the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Vinny is hooked on public outpourings of grief - Lockerbie, the Pope's funeral, the death of a local boy in a hit-and-run accident. Trish wants him to stop. But she is soon to discover the real root of why Vinny needs to grieve in public for people he never knew.
Broadcast 22 Jul 05. Friday play, R4.
Vinny ...... Tom Ellis
Trish ...... Jane Hazlegrove
Tom ...... Grant O'Rourke
Susan ...... Gabriel Quigley
Frank ...... Gareth Thomas
Directed by Gaynor Macfarlane.
R4, Afternoon Play, 28 July 2005. 45m. Two linked stories- a prison
inmate (in the present time)
is determined to learn how to write. Henry Stephens, who invented
the first commercial ink in 1832. He needed something to write
with. Inspired by Henry's bits and pieces at Avenue House, Finchley.
With Paul Rhys, Don Gilet, Nina Sosanya, Paul Bazely, Andrew
Harrison. Produced by Claire Grove.
Henry Stephens was so dissatisfied with the unpleasant fluids
used as ink in the early 1800s that he began experimenting with
different fluids. Eventually he hit on a mixture which we now use as
ink. Henry was originally a surgeon. The character in the linked
modern story is George, an illiterate prisoner who
learns to read and write and eventually progresses to studying the
poetry of John Keats (who studied medicine with Henry Stephens).
Interesting........(paraphrased from Jane Anderson's article
in Radio Times)
THE RAJ QUARTET....2005
With John Harvey. Dramatised from the book by
Paul Scott. 9 x 60min, Classic Serial. Produced by
Sally Avens. Excellent standard of dramatisation.
Varied cast - including Lia Williams, Jeremy Northam,
Gary Waldhorn, Shiv Grewal, Mark Bazeley, Hugh Dickson,
Matthew Thomas-Davies, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Dastor,
ONLY IN LONDON....2005
Broadcast in five 15-min episodes as the Woman's Hour
serial. As a flight from Dubai touches down in London,
three people from different parts of the world are thrown
together: beautiful, lost Lamis, the lively Moroccan
Amira, and her new friend Samir, who, like her,
loves not wisely but too well. (......paraphrased from
By Hanan Al-Shayk,
dram. Shelley Silas. With Suzanna Nour, Tom Beard,
Shappi Khorsandi, Nitzan Sharron, John Rowe, Nick
Maloney, Helen Schlesinger, Daryl Moore, Nadim Sawalha,
Nina Wadia. Produced by Marilyn Imrie; dir.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE....2002
The Sound of Silence is about 5 women who meet at a silent retreat for the weekend. They vary in age - from early twenties to late 60s. They are all there for different reasons and strangely get to know each other through the silence. By the end of the week they have all learned something about themselves and each other - and have to return to their lives with decisions made or planned. The play was directed by Claire Grove and the cast was as follows:
Fay (Marlene Sidaway)
Annie (Tracey Wilkinson)
Grace (Carolyn Pickles)
Jo (Helen Longworth)
Lucy (Caroline Hayes)
This play was shortlisted for the IMISON AWARD in 2003
and reached the last 4. Repeated R4, 9 Jun 04.
Thanks to Shelley for supplying
information about her work.
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website.
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