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DMU drama lecturer directs Maxine Peake in BBC Radio 4 drama

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) lecturer Kate Chapman has directed Maxine Peake - star of Dinnerladies and Silk - in a new radio drama for BBC Radio 4.

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Kate Chapman captured by Robert Day

Kate, a lecturer in Drama Studies at DMU since January 2015, is also a director and producer in theatre and radio drama. Her new production, The Thrill of Love by Amanda Whittington is to be broadcast this week-end.

It will be Kate’s third and most recent collaboration with Nottingham-born playwright Amanda Whittington (Be My Baby, Bollywood Jane). The Thrill of Love was originally a hit stage play which toured in 2013 and has now been adapted for radio.

The play tells the story of Ruth Ellis who was the last woman in the UK to be hanged in 1955, after shooting and killing her lover David Blakely on the street in Hampstead.

Kate said: “The play challenges the popular idea of the murder as a ‘crime of passion’ by focusing on Ruth’s obsessive relationship with David and the abuse she suffered at his hand and throughout her life.”

Having worked with Maxine Peake and a cast of other accomplished actors, including Joe Armstrong, Siobhan Finneran and Phoebe Dynevor, Kate said: “It has been great to work with Amanda to deliver a slightly new perspective on Ruth’s story. It’s been great to work with such an experienced cast of actors and award-winning sound designer Eloise Whitmore.

“I’m also very pleased to be able to show how my professional and academic lives have come together.”

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Maxine Peake as Ruth Ellis

Following four years directing radio drama in-house for the BBC, Kate now works through independent production companies.

Before joining DMU, she was a visiting lecturer at a number of other universities and taught writing for theatre and radio at London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

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Kate has also worked on theatre projects with school groups, in prisons and in other community settings. She started her career running a community theatre company in Kent staging large-scale work inspired by particular locations.

In 2005 she embarked on a programme of research and experimental work combining site-specific performance and audio drama, which resulted in a series of commissions for theatres and festivals in the Midlands.

Kate, who brings all this expertise into her teaching, said: “Although audio and radio drama don’t feature in all of my teaching, when I have explored this with students they have responded really positively. They find site-specific work really interesting and enjoy experimenting with sound that works both with and against their surroundings.

“As performers, they also enjoy exploring their voices and the relationship between performer and microphone, which is something I’ve worked on both with professional actors and with student actors in drama school.”

The Thrill of Love will be aired on BBC Radio 4 at 2.30pm on Saturday 5 November, and will be available on iPlayer for seven days following the broadcast.

Posted on Thursday 3rd November 2016

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