Through Wikileaks, phone-hacking, and the obstacles facing journalists across the Middle East, the traditional practices of the media industry have come up against many challenges over the past year. According to Reporters Without Borders, around 57 journalists were killed last year in connection with their work. This month a new play On the Record arrives at London’s Arcola Theatre, dramatizing the dangers faced by the world’s independent journalists.
Stories about journalists are usually reported either in print or in documentaries, so it is rather novel that Christine Bacon and Noah Birksted-Breen have decided to bring the stories of six real-life journalists to the stage. As Birksted-Breen notes, “it has been a challenge, as obviously the relationship between the actors and the audience is quite different in documentary theatre compared with film documentaries. There isn’t a lot of theatre about journalism and when there is, it’s usually satirising journalism. We really wanted to show how big a difference there is between independent journalism and mainstream media.”
The play features stories from journalists in countries where media oppression is known to be rife, through characters such as Lal and L…