People like us radio drama reaches out to bridge LGBT discrimination
Category: Production
Date: 09/07/2019
Writer: Danie
Flame Design were awarded a contract by M&C Saatchi Abel Africa to produce the People like us radio drama that aired in 2018. The purpose of the show was to reduce the levels of stigma and discrimination against the LGBTS community and sex workers. The radio drama aimed to show listeners that there are people like them who are behaving more positively towards people with different sexual orientations, gender identities and sex workers.

The project started with a creative conceptualisation of the entire drama. A draft outline was created and the script writing process began once initial approval was granted.

The production moved into the casting phase and the final cast was chosen. Recording began in all five countries and the radio drama was edited and produced. Al-in-all, the entire production of 75 episodes was completed within seven months.

Details of the radio drama

The radio drama comprised 13 episodes of five minutes that was broadcast in five Southern African countries; South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Flame Design handled every aspect of the the three stages of production as well as the casting auditions. Over 160 people auditioned for roles in the radio drama, of which 80 actors were given characters.

The actors were hired according to their skills and likeness to the characters that they portrayed. For example, a transgender character was voiced by a transgender voice artist. This allowed raw emotions and real-life experience to come through the characters in the radio drama.

Storytelling and changing societal behaviours

Research has shown that humans are more likely to behave in accordance with societal norms than they are with individual attitudes or even the law. If it’s normal for society to discriminate against the LGBTS community or sex workers, then changing stigmas is extremely difficult.

The radio drama aimed to show the stories from the perspective of members of the LGBTS community. The stories most capable of changing societal behaviours are those that listeners can relate to in some way. The radio drama included scripts for family members and community leaders who had become accepting of a person in their life who may be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or make money from sex work.

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