Queen’s CFRC 101.9 FM to air first ever Shortwave Radio Theatre Camp plays

Attendees and instructors of CFRC’s first-ever Shortwave Radio Theatre Camp pose in the studio where they created their three plays. Submitted Photo.

In celebration of the culmination of a Shortwave Radio Theatre Camp aimed at local youth, CFRC 101.9 FM Radio Queen’s University will air three radio dramas created by the campers.

As part of their camp experience, campers reimagined, rehearsed, performed and recorded three plays; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Rossum’s Universal Robots. Each play will air on Sunday, Aug. 20,  2023, starting at 6 p.m. on CFRC 101.9 FM and will be streamed online. All the plays will also be podcasted via the shortwavetheatre.com website shortly after the broadcast.

The Shortwave Radio Theatre camp gave kids ages 12 to 17 the opportunity to explore the vital role that independent media and the theatrical arts play in our community while developing their own broadcast skills in the context of radio theatre.

The camp is a first for CFRC. In 2022 the station received inquiries from local parents about opportunities for children to participate in CFRC’s Shortwave Theatre Festival and undertook the development of a project to provide more barrier-free programming aimed at youth.

As such, the 100-year-old local station secured funding to provide inclusive, accessible and free radio theatre camp experiences to the community youth.

“It was through the generous support of the Kingston Arts Council, the City of Kingston, the Dan School of Drama and Music, and our 2022 funding drive donors, that Shortwave Radio Theatre Camp became possible,” explained Dinah Jansen, CFRC Radio Queen’s University Executive Director.

“[That] our partners and donors also saw incredible value in providing free opportunities to local youth, including newcomer youth, to participate in a creative and translatable skills-learning summer camp experience at their community radio station is incredibly encouraging. We really hope to be able to offer more free youth camps in the future,” Jansen added.

The free-of-cost radio theatre camp attracted six to seven campers per week over a three-week period. A third of the campers were newcomer youth and learners of English as an Additional Language.

According to a release from CFRC, the station worked closely with the Queen’s University Office of Risk and Safety Services to ensure all health, safety, accessibility and inclusivity processes and procedures for camps involving minors were in place. CFRC’s camp staff also collaborated with Anne-Marie Mortenson of local theatre company, Bottle Tree Productions to develop theatrical elements of the Shortwave camp curriculum alongside Emeritus Professor Clarke Mackey (Queen’s University Film & Media) who coached campers in elements of voice acting for radio.

In addition to dramatic performance skills, campers also learned skills related to recording, editing, live broadcasting and even developing and pitching their own radio shows, while also making new friends.

Jesse Bell, Camp Director and CFRC Program Coordinator observed, “It was so special to be able to work collaboratively with the kids on both the radio theatre pieces, but also personalized demos tailored towards their personal tastes and interests.” 

“Our campers had a great time with each other in creating the wonderful artistic performances into which they put in a lot of heart and energy,” Jansen added.

Local educator and Camp Facilitator, Laura Franklin, shared her belief that the Shortwave Radio Theatre Camp provided a meaningful opportunity for local youth participants to express their creativity and access programming that they may not have otherwise been able to explore elsewhere, including skills learning in areas including dramatic arts and radio technology.

“The campers’ enthusiasm for all things ‘radio theatre’ was commendable and their quick grasp of skills and concepts was impressive. The whole experience reaffirms for me the value of platforms like CFRC to youth and the wider community in Kingston,” Franklin shared, saying, “It was truly heartening to witness campers nurturing such a creative and empathetic space while also performing and recording complete radio theatre performances ready for broadcast.”

Jansen noted that “CFRC is truly a local hub where all members of the community, including youth, are always welcome to share their creativity and voices on our airwaves. We are extremely proud of the young campers who have made our first Shortwave Radio Theatre Camp and performances a triumph in the local arts scene and are thrilled with the positive community response and support that allowed us to provide a free camp experience resulting in plays that the whole community can enjoy at no cost.”

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