by Miss Elliot

"Hey Wilby, watcha want to do?" "Well Willy, I was thinkin' we could make this movie about this guy who fights slavery and unrolls this long piece of paper. And he's got this friend who kinda betrays him. You can play the friend, and I'll play the guy." (Yes, I made this up. Kind of.)

“Hey Wilby, watcha want to do?”
“Well Willy, I was thinkin’ we could make this movie about this guy who fights slavery and unrolls this long piece of paper. And he’s got this friend who kinda betrays him. You can play the friend, and I’ll play the guy.” (Yes, I made this up. Kind of.)

I don’t really like audiobooks. Now don’t get me wrong- I have listened to The Secret Garden from the library and enjoyed it, and my little sisters love an audiobook version of the Little House on the Prairie books and I enjoy that with them sometimes- but besides that, I balk at getting audiobooks. My mom reads aloud to us at night and has done ever since I can remember, and, to me, no one can read like her.

But what I do like is radio theatre (yes, I KNOW you spell it ‘theater’ in America, but I can spell it the way I like).

Radio theatre – especially Focus on the Family and Lifehouse Theatre-On-the-Air – is a staple in my family. We are forever quoting from one drama or another. Take this conversation from the Focus on the Family drama about Squanto:

“You must try to explain it to him. I’ve tried my best and failed.”

“What’s wrong, Mr. Dilber?”

“He wants to go to church on Sunday.”

“And so he shall.”

“A Catholic church!”

“Uh, what??!!”

Here’s our version, a la my sister Abigail:

“You must try to make him human again. I tried my best, and now he’s a whale!”

“Uh, what??!!”

So yeah – we quote these left and right, we make puns on the dialogue, kinda like other people would do with movies. (We do it with movies too, just not so much.)

Radio theatre is a forgotten source of entertainment. And it combines two things that are wonderful about movies – music and sound effects – but you can still use your imagination. And it’s better than both a book and a movie because you don’t have to use your hands! You can fold, or bike, or drive, and so on, but you don’t have to hold a book and you don’t have to watch anything (but I like movies, I really do).

So, without further ado, here are some radio dramas that we Really Like.

From Focus on the Family Radio Theater:

Little Women


Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom

The Chronicles of Narnia

Les Miserables

At the Back of the North Wind

Honestly, there are so many that I can’t name them all, but pretty much any audio drama that has the FotF logo is going to be accurate, and they have high-quality sound and great music.

We also like Lifehouse Theater-On-the-Air‘s The Count of Monte Christo and Hiding in Plain Sight. Oh, and their Pride and Prejudice is fun to giggle over, because the guy who plays Mr. Darcy is the bad guy in TCoMC. Lifehouse TOtA isn’t as good quality as FotF, but the actors/stories more than make up for it. I listened to TCoMC over and over again, because I liked it so much. And I quote the last lines of Hiding in Plain Sight to make my sister squirm…

I had to do a lot of searching to figure out who made this audio drama. But I discovered that it was these people. We love Kidnapped and even though it’s not as quotable as some audio dramas, I love the accents. And the last few scenes in general.

Lamplighter Theatre is also good. They dramatize old, old stories that have been out of print. The library at our church has lots of these, and though they’re not my favorites, they are quite good.


*Edit*: Since writing this, I remembered one of our absolute favorites, not really as a family, but among us kids, is the Jonathan Park series. It is really, really, REALLY good. It uses exiting adventure stories to show the truth about how science is in harmony with the Bible. The company that produces them has shut down for a very sad reason, but there are people who have started a “Save Jonathan Park” sort of campaign. One of my favorites (just so you know) is “The Whispering Sphinx”, mostly because of the Egyptian intrigue stuff. And the airplanes. And Akiva. I love Akiva.