Thornton Wilder: Our Town, The Bridge of San Luis Rey & More: A BBC Radio full-cast drama collection

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2024
4 hours 32 minutes
Four of Thornton Wilder's most acclaimed works, adapted for BBC Radio - plus bonus material exploring his life and career

Thornton Wilder is one of America's most important literary figures. He won the Pulitzer Prize three times - for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and the plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth - and is the only person to be awarded the Pulitzer for both fiction and drama. Included here are four of his key works, set in different times and places, but sharing the same fundamental motifs - the universality of human experience and our search for life's meaning.

Our Town, his timeless tale of love, marriage, birth and death in a small American community, stars Ed Bishop, William Roberts and Liza Ross. It is preceded by a 10-minute introductory extract from Free Thinking, in which presenter Anne McElvoy and actor/director David Cromer discuss the play's themes and techniques.

Wilder's masterpiece, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, tells the story of the five victims of a bridge collapse, and the eyewitness who sets out to understand why they were fated to die. A poignant philosophical fable, it features a stellar cast including Annette Badland, Robert Glenister, Tom Goodman-Hill and Helen McCrory.

Adapted from the play by Jerome Kilty, The Ides of March is based on Wilder's epistolary novel centred around the last days of the Roman republic, and stars Robert Hardy as Julius Caesar. Next, Ed Bishop reads from Heaven's My Destination, the comic tale of an amateur philosopher who leaves a trail of chaos wherever he goes.

Finally, in a fascinating episode of Front Row, Mark Lawson, theatre director David Lan and New York Times theatre critic Mel Gussow discuss how Wilder became a literary icon, and launched a quiet revolution in American theatre.

Cast and credits
Written by Thornton Wilder
Copyright © by The Wilder Family LLC 1927 (The Bridge of San Luis Rey), 1935 (Heaven's My Destination), 1938 (Our Town), 1948 (The Ides of March)

Free Thinking
Presented by Anne McElvoy
With David Cromer
Produced by Zahid Warley

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 16 October 2014

Our Town
Stage Manager - Ed Bishop
Dr Gibbs - William Roberts
Mrs Gibbs - Liza Ross
George Gibbs - Ben Fairman
Rebecca Gibbs - Teresa Gallagher
Mr Webb - Garrick Hagon
Mrs Webb/Dead Woman - Shelley Thompson
Emily Webb - Barbara Barnes
Joe Crowell/Si Crowell - Tom Bevan
With Vincent Marzello, Peter Whitman, John Evitts and Frances Jeater
Directed by David Hitchinson
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 1 July 1995

The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Madre Maria del Pilar - Annette Badland
Uncle Pio - Michael Feast
Jaime/Boy - Frederick Forge
Brother Juniper/Captain Alvarado - Robert Glenister
Esteban/Manuel - Tom Goodman-Hill
Pepita/Dona Clara - Jasmine Hyde
Camila, la Perichole - Helen McCrory
Marquesa de Montemayor - Sian Phillips

Dramatised by Judith Adams
Directed by Gaynor MacFarlane
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 12 May 2002

The Ides of March
Narrator - Patrick Tull
Caesar - Robert Hardy
Brutus - Sean Barrett
Clodia - Margaret Robertson
Cleopatra - Elizabeth Proud
Pompeia, Caesar's wife - Patricia Gallimore
Julia, Caesar's aunt - Betty Hardy
Clodius - Nigel Lambert
Catullus - David Spenser

Adapted for radio by Nesta Pain from the play by Jerome Kilty
Produced by Nesta Pain
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 17 August 1970

Heaven's My Destination
Read by Ed Bishop
First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 17 April 1997

Front Row
Presented by Mark Lawson
With David Lan and Mel Gussow
Produced by Nicki Paxman
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4 March 2004

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