We’ve been telling stories and playing traditional music for many years, and in 1990 while directing a summer program for young people called Camp Imagination, we had an idea. Could radio drama be used in the classroom to enhance learning and nourish the imagination? After months researching how to write radio plays and make sound effects, we set forth with an FM radio transmitter visiting schools throughout California and Oregon. At each school we would set up our transmitter and broadcast a group of students performing a "live" radio play that other students and teachers would listen to on radios in their classrooms. It was an exciting time and we learned a great deal about how to make radio drama a successful learning experience for all concerned.
In 1996 we received major funding from the California Department of Education to develop a radio drama curriculum focusing on the dangers of tobacco use. We decided to combine a professionally recorded play called Visitor from the Past with a follow-up script called Talkin' Tobacco that the students could perform and record themselves. We also created an innovative teacher's guide with activities and discussion topics, selected readings, and information about the tobacco industry. We also included a special radio decoder for use when figuring out the secret messages. For two years after the launch of the curriculum we traveled around California conducting in-service workshops for teachers on strategies for preventing tobacco-use and how to use radio dramas with students to make learning fun and effective.
We then received a major grant from the United States Justice Department, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to design, produce, and distribute an innovative law-related education curriculum using radio drama. After extensive research on lesser-known and yet remarkable citizen heroes, we again combined professionally recorded radio plays with do-it-yourself scripts that could be performed by students in the classroom.
Besides working with teachers and students, we have over the years directed numerous radio plays for conferences and organizations. www.ravenradiotheaterlive.com. Furthermore these presentations were unique in that they were performed by conference participants with as little as one hour of rehearsal and were warmly and enthusiastically received.
In 1999 we worked on a series for public radio called The Telling Takes Us Home A Celebration of American Family Stories traveling around the United states recording people telling their family stories. You can listen to these stories at our other site http://www.americanfamilystories.org
Paula McHugh is an artist www.paulamchughart.com and has been working on a series of paintings inspired by the titles of American and Celtic fiddle tunes. Joe and Paula are currently touring a new program that combines their storytelling, music and art. www.joeandpaulamchugh.com/concerts.htm
Joe has also written and Paula has illustrated several books www.callingcrane.com