The actor chatted to Emma Clarendon about Boundless Theatre’s new fiction podcast Radio Elusia written by Nina Segal.

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Hi Joe – could you explain what Radio Elusia is about? Radio Elusia is about standing up for what you believe in. It is about youth insurgency, power, freedom and friendship. Set in the fictional world of Elusia, the government is always listening in, suppressing people’s rights to speak freely. The story follows a group of young people who decide to stand up and be counted equipped with only a makeshift radio transmitter and the power of one boy’s words.

How does it feel to be taking part in this podcast? It’s a very unique experience for me personally having never done a podcast before but a really exciting one. Voice acting is obviously a very different challenge to stage and screen and it is an experience we have very much undertaken together, which is really lovely. The team behind it are utterly brilliant and so welcoming from day one. They have poured heart and soul into the project and have done an immense job especially with engaging with young people in London. So there’s a really nice buzz within the team and within the community that are engaged with it already and we just hope we can share it with as many people as possible.

What did you think of Nina Segal’s script when you read it? It’s electric. It really crackles with intensity and urgency. It’s no messing about, call to arms kind of stuff that plunges you in at the deep end. I don’t think it’s the kind of writing that you can listen to passively. It speaks very directly to its audience and feels uncomfortably close to home at points. There is also a really unique universality to it, like these voices could be just about anyone,
anywhere. It gives you the freedom and the space to allow you to fill in the blanks and make the world of Elusia your own, which I think is a really special thing for a writer to accomplish, and not an
easy thing.

What was it that made you want to take part? I really loved the prospect of being involved in a piece that puts youth voices at its heart. I think it’s a
really empowering piece. The world which Radio Elusia imagines is one that feels not too distant, and elements of it are very real now. I think it’s important that people younger than myself feel empowered and eager to speak, to know that your voice matters, and that’s exactly what this piece
does. More and more young people are at the heart of pressing social issues, climate change being a prime example, and it’s incredible to see. The question of what matters to us, what are we prepared to fight for is crucial. No matter your social or political standing, the important thing is to engage, to be ready, to be listening and use the voice you have.

How would you describe this podcast? It’s a podcast with a big heart. The relationships between the characters are as strong as the people
that put it together. I think this is something that, hopefully, shines through.
It’s somewhere between thriller and mystery. It really sweeps you up in the narrative and is hopefully something that people feel they can really engage with, and feel that it speaks very directly to them.It’s also a very unique podcast in that it is a small part of a much wider extended universe. It is one of four pieces commissioned by Creative Europe, linking up with theatres in Barcelona, Athens and Copenhagen, to create the Elusia Universe. The piece contains little easter eggs to those, so if you become really invested in the world of Elusia you can further with it and check out their work too.

Why should people tune in? It’s just a really uplifting story about hope and togetherness, about the power of voices. It’s the kind of thing that you can really just lose yourself in just for twenty minutes an episode which is so valuable in the current climate. The beautiful thing about podcasts is that the audience are as much a part of the construction of the world as the creators are. It’s so unique in that respect, because it demands you to engage and imagine. You don’t get lengthy descriptions, you don’t get visual stimuli, just voices, just sounds. Which sounds really obvious but I think it’s really special, really personal. You can just shut your eyes, switch off from the real world and completely go to someplace else, IF, you choose to. I think this piece does all of these things and more. It’s so hopeful, so empowering and especially if you’ve never listened to a fictional podcast before I think this is a great place to start.

By Emma Clarendon

To find out more about Radio Elusia visit: https://boundlesstheatre.org.uk/productions/radio-elusia/