Live Halloween Radio Drama at Husson University: Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial”

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This award winning, 1940’s-style radio broadcast features a cast of Husson University students and local area residents performing an adaptation of the classic horror story. The audience will have the opportunity to see everything that goes into the creation of a live radio drama – including the terrifying sound effects!

To find out more about Husson University's award winning radio broadcast productions, visit Husson.edu.

Husson University students and local area residents will perform an adaptation of the classic horror story “The Premature Burial” by Edgar Allan Poe at the Gracie Theatre on October 30 at 7:30 p.m.

You see, radio was “the theater of the mind.” Our annual live broadcast not only builds on that tradition, it serves as a valuable experiential learning opportunity for students in our broadcast communications program.

In the 1940s, radio was the leading form of popular entertainment. In the spirit of such popular programs as “The Shadow,” “Lights Out” and “Inner Sanctum Mysteries,” Husson University will perform a live 1940’s-style radio drama from the stage of the Gracie Theatre on October 30 at 7:30 p.m. Billed as “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” this award-winning broadcast features a cast of Husson University students and local area residents performing an adaptation of the classic horror story “The Premature Burial” by Edgar Allan Poe.

The performance is free and open to the public. Members of the Gracie Theatre audience will have the opportunity to see everything that goes into the creation of a live radio drama – including the terrifying sound effects. Those not in attendance can listen to this live broadcast over WHSN 89.3 FM.

“The Premature Burial” is about a man who randomly falls into a death-like trance. As a result of this condition, he’s afraid that he’ll be mistakenly declared dead and subsequently buried alive. He becomes obsessed by this fear. To protect himself, he refuses to leave his home and builds an elaborate burial chamber with equipment that will allow him to signal for help in case he finds himself entombed accidentally. Then, one day, he awakens in pitch darkness in a confined area. Despite his precautions, was he buried alive?    

Ken Stack, an instructor in the entertainment production program at the New England School of Communications at Husson University, is the director of the radio play and is looking forward to the upcoming performance. “Works by Edgar Allan Poe are an important part of our literary history. Our broadcast brings our students, our audience and WHSN listeners back to the days when radio brought culture into the homes of millions of Americans who otherwise might not have had exposure to the works of celebrated authors.”

Stack continued: “You see, radio was “the theater of the mind.” Our annual live broadcast not only builds on that tradition, it serves as a valuable experiential learning opportunity for students in our broadcast communications program. In this way, we enrich the education of both our students and our audience.”

In past years, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” has received accolades and recognition from a variety of organizations. The Maine Association of Broadcasters, (MAB) has recognized the annual live Halloween radio broadcast for the past five consecutive years. Entered into MAB’s annual awards competition, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” first distinguished itself in 2010 by winning an honorable mention in the “Locally Produced Program” category. In 2011, the radio program received first place in the same category and a second place win in 2012.

The show has also received awards from the Broadcast Education Association. Last year’s show was a finalist for the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Award.

In reflecting on the success of the live radio show, Husson University Provost Lynne Coy-Ogan remarked, “After seeing the broadcast, members of greater Bangor community will understand why the New England School of Communications at Husson University is regarded as one of the region’s leading educators of media professionals. The professional quality of our students and the broadcast is impressive.”

Radio dramas produced by Husson University in previous years have included, “A Christmas Carol,” “The Tell Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

Since the radio drama is being simulcast on WHSN-FM, the show will start promptly at 7:30 p.m. Individuals interested in attending the live performance at the Gracie Theatre are requested to be in their seats no later than 7:20 p.m.

Completed in October of 2009, The Gracie is Husson University's center for the fine and performing arts. This beautiful new 500-seat theatre is quickly earning a reputation as one of Maine’s premier performance venues. In addition, The Gracie also serves as a learning platform for students from the New England School of Communications in digital audio, sound mixing, set design and construction, lighting, acting and electronics. For more information, visit GracieTheatre.com

The New England School of Communications (NESCom) at Husson University offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Communications Technology, Mass Communications and Entertainment Production. Within these degrees, students may choose from concentrations in Audio Engineering, Live Sound Technology, Video Production, Web Media, Entertainment Production, Journalism, Marketing Communications, Radio Broadcasting and Sports Journalism. The New England School of Communications specializes in communications, providing students with a hands-on experience that gives them the education and skills needed for today's job market.

For more than 100 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies, science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

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Eric B. Gordon
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