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Spotlight: Peter Church (2012)

2 Aug

August 2, 2012

You might remember Peter Church from his Spotlight last year. Here is what I wrote at the time:

Meet the Renaissance Man, Peter Church… Peter has spent the last six years as a repertory actor for The Classical Theatre Project (Toronto), logging thousands of performances in productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream…

He also, as you are about to read, does a whole lot more. As I said last year, he’s taken something I’ve long wanted to do and actually made a go of it. I’m jealous, but on the other hand I am not nearly as talented.

He’s been busy since the last time we checked in on him. And he has not given me one reason to let go of my jealousy in the recent months. As good a person in real life as you will ever find, (although I wonder about his choice of pets), read on and see what he’s up to now. This is a man who does not let time pass him by.

And oh yeah, he’s a darn good (and smart) writer as well.

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A few years ago I became enthralled with the term Pro Bono.  More accurately, I became enthralled with its Latin origin, Pro Bono Publico, translated as “For the Public Good”. 

Andrew Knowlton / Marie Jones in “The Man who Found Out” by Algernon Blackwood

For the Public Good… I like that.  I like the idea that some things are done simply because they are extremely good for Society.  This sentiment was a large driving force behind my partners and I when we created Radio Project X (www.radioprojectX.com).  After all, no one expects to turn a profit by producing radio plays fifty years after the death of the genre!  I suppose we do get other benefits from the process… like simply getting to write and perform radio plays!  That’s pretty rare and wonderful.  We also get to laugh and work with a number of tremendously talented artists and musicians – that’s pretty rewarding and inspiring.  And I guess it can also make us feel better about being “starving artists”.  That’s to say, if I were performing every month pro bono it’d sound to my parents like I was working for free and was a sucker, but if I’m performing every month “for the Public Good”, suddenly I’m working for a cause and I’m a philanthropist. 

from “The Evolution of Money” by Neil Jones

“The Public Domain”.  That’s another concept I love.  I’ll bet we have the notion of “Pro Bono Publico” to thank for the Public Domain as well!  It’s as though we’ve collectively agreed that if a story is told and re-told enough – when it’s been handed down through generations – then it belongs to all of us; it becomes part of us.  I know the issue of copyright is a complex and controversial one, but I love the sentiment behind the Public Domain, nonetheless.

There’s a wonderful free service in Toronto called ALAS. 

This hilariously appropriate acronym stands for “Artists’ Legal Advice Services”, and they do just that: provide free legal advice to professional artists.  They, understandably, tried very hard to advise us not to do recreations of radio plays or even short-story adaptations.  They dutifully explained that even though many of the old BROADCASTS are in the Public Domain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the SCRIPTS are in the Public Domain.  To be certain of avoiding any “Imperial Entanglements” they suggested that I’d need to hunt down the writer of each script (or surviving family members) and confirm that they did not, in fact, happen to copyright the particular manuscript in question.  Sadly, the stinging reality around Old-Time-Radio is that many of the directors, writers and actors have had their names lost to Time.  Full series like “The Haunting Hour” (http://relicradio.com/otr/series/haunting-hour/) remain entirely un-credited.  Alas, ALAS maintained that the legal burden would be on us to uncover these missing identities in order to confirm that recreating their work would not be an infringement of copyright.

I told them that would be an impossible task.

They agreed.  And suggested we stick exclusively to writing original material.  Q.E.D.

Peter Church / John Fleming / Andrew Knowlton / Claire Armstrong / Scott Watkins in “Invasion of the Cheese Men!”

In a last-ditch filibuster, I ranted about OTR transcription discs, Shakespeare’s First Folio, World War Two, the history of Human Communication, the problem with modern entertainment, and of course… The Public Good.  ALAS eventually acknowledged that modern audio entertainment, like Radio Project X or our friends at www.flashpulp.com, is a vital part of keeping the old stories alive by introducing a modern audience to the tradition of “Sound Entertainment” to tune-in the power of Human Imagination.

As MP3 players become ubiquitous, people are becoming accustomed to listening to what they want, when they want.  The public’s aural horizons are broadening beyond the Top 40 and (thanks to the Internet) they’re able to try out new (or very old) listening material. It’s our hope that Radio Project X can bridge the gap between the modern podcast culture and the richness of classic radio drama.  

On our website, please keep an ear out for some of our hilarious original sketches and things like Algernon Blackwood’s chilling tale, “The Man who Found Out” or Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi story, “Beyond Lies the Wub”.

This month we not only have special musical guest, Katie MacTavish crooning for us, but we’re also very excited to have permission from the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Trust (http://www.theodoresturgeontrust.com/) to perform our adaptation of Sturgeon’s creepy story, “The Other Ceila”. We’ll also be performing some hilarious commercials and radio sketches, so if you’re near Toronto on August 14 or 21, come and experience what you can’t find anywhere else – it’s only ten bucks and besides… it’s for the Public Good!

“Good night and good luck!”

Peter Church
peter@radioprojectX.com
www.facebook.com/radioprojectX
www.twitter.com/radioprojectX

Radio Project X.  It’s Sound Entertainment.

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Hi, me again. I just want to say that all of his projects, links, etc, have nothing but good and fun, and sometimes good fun, associated with them, so click away and check them out.

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7 Responses to “Spotlight: Peter Church (2012)”

  1. ssrijana August 2, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    i am no where near Toronto ..but we have our share of radio drams here “kata metho sarangi ko” and others as well and its not a dying art here 🙂

    Like

  2. zathra August 2, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    I just added him to my Twitter list, but I don’t want to get into FB right at the moment. Peter Church does sound interesting.

    Like

  3. J.R.D. Skinner August 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    We’re quite excited to be included in the August 14th event. Great stuff, Peter!

    Like

  4. Jimbo August 3, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Peter, great stuff you do – wish I had your voice!

    Like

    • Peter August 5, 2012 at 2:08 am #

      Thanks everybody!

      ssrijana – where do you live?

      Like

  5. The Hook August 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Great series you’ve launched here! Nice work!

    Like

  6. Mac of BIOnighT August 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    I’ve only managed to listen to the first episode so far, but it’s absolutely hilarious – great ideas and a lot of fun!!!

    Like

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