Bert Coules

writer director speaker

The Empire Theatre London around 1910

Lost Empires   From the novel by J B Priestley. In 1913, Richard Herncastle leaves his dead-end office job and joins his uncle's headlining illusion act, touring the Empire music halls.

With Richard Hollick, Tom Baker, Kathryn Hunt and Debbie McAndrew. Music by Chris Monks. Produced and directed by Kate Rowland. Three one-hour episodes.

I have many vivid memories of this production, especially of the day we spent on location at Oldham Coliseum performing music hall acts to an invited audience: a rare and welcome chance to escape from the recording studio. The technical crew particularly enjoyed recreating the book's stage magic in sound alone, with flash-pot explosives, an old-fashioned thunder-sheet and similar arcane bit and pieces.

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