Theatre group celebrates 100 years of radio
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/04/2022 (227 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Members of a local senior’s theatre group are warming up their radio voices to ring in 100 years of radio broadcasting in Manitoba.
To celebrate the centennial anniversary, the group will be performing a musical called The Last Radio Show at the Gas Station Theatre on April 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m., with all proceeds going to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
“It’s about a radio station that hasn’t kept up with the times and is going broke. The dysfunctional staff that are working there have to produce one final show before it goes off the air,” said Garry Moir, the play’s author and a broadcaster for about 50 years.
Moir said the play has a little bit of everything, which he categorized as the following: music, comedy, drama, old-time sound effects, and the complete history of radio in five minutes.
As someone who has lived the trends of radio broadcasting during half its existence in Manitoba, Moir knows a bit about what goes on behind the microphone. The playwright said he tried to give the audience a look into how a radio production actually worked, albeit with a certain dramatic flare.
“Some of the characters are really just an exaggeration of different people that I’ve worked with over time. For example, you have a guy with a big ego. We have a character that doesn’t really care, a womanizer, whatever the case may be. You have the weirdo and that type of stuff,” Moir said.
He may poke fun at it, but Moir is a dedicated broadcaster.
“I’ve always had a passion for radio,” he said. “I started in 1969 and for all intents and purposes, that’s all I’ve ever done.”
Moir is retired now, but still dabbles in broadcasting at 93.7 FM. Many of the others involved in the putting on the production are also retired radio broadcasters, he said.
The group is hoping to bring that authenticity to the show, to have fun, and to pay homage to the medium that they love, even as the landscape of media itself shifts and tries to find new footing.
“There’s no question that radio does not have the influence now that it did even two or three decades ago, because there’s just so many other forms of media out there,” Moir said. “But for me anyway, radio is still the most intimate medium that you have … Radio is still the kind of thing that you can take to bed with you.”
Playing the egotist is Jack Slessor, who often does shows as Charlie Chaplin or Groucho Marx.
Slessor said he’s excited to be back performing after the pandemic put a stop to his shows for almost two years.
The show will be a full-circle moment for the longtime theatre man, as he returns to the Gas Station Theatre, where he was once general manager.
“I’m excited, pleased, nervous, but really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun night,” he said.
Tickets are $20 at the door (cash or cheque only). People can order advance tickets by emailing email@example.com or calling 204-804-4679.
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 204-697-7206.