New audio dramas on BBC Radio 3 will feature leading voices in British theatre and television including David Suchet, Maxine Peake, Christopher Eccleston and Toby Jones.
Others taking part include award-winning 20th century writers, thinkers and playwrights including Roy Williams OBE.
The forthcoming commissions tackle bold issues ranging from a women’s journey joining an all-female militia in Northern Syria, to Shakespeare’s play Othello staged in a contemporary world and a drama following the social history of a Notting Hill neighbourhood and location of the Grenfell Tower fire, Notting Dale, told through the eyes of one family.
Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, says: “Radio drama is a unique and brilliant art form with a long and treasured history in this country, and something at which we excel. What we do on Radio 3 is nothing less than a National Theatre of the Imagination, allowing us to explore personal and political conflict, to roam continents of the earth and of the spirit, to give our listeners new insights and ways of understanding. From the community of Notting Dale, through the internal exile and music of William Byrd, to two men isolated from each other on a sinking boat in inhospitable waters, we tell stories that that shed a light on what it is to be human.”
Christopher Eccleston, star of Drama On 3: Schreber, says: “I’m chuffed to bits to be playing Schreber in Anthony Burgess’s unproduced screenplay. The role was originally meant to be played by a personal acting hero of mine – Burt Lancaster – and deals with male mental health and challenges traditional gender roles and thinking.”
Roy Williams, author of Drama On 3: The Likes Of Us, says: “Not many people know Notting Dale, they know Notting Hill… It’s an area with a lot of history… the Notting Hill Carnival started there, the murder of Kelso Cochrane, the ’58 riots between black youths and white youths. It’s an area that’s steeped in a lot of history and sadly Grenfell added to it. I wanted to write almost a tribute to that area and the people growing up there.”