Audio Drama Wiki

Pearl is a 1978 radio play by award-winning English playwright John Arden. Set in England in the 1640s, the play concerns a young Irish political operative named Pearl, who, with playwright Tom Backhouse, attempts to sway the political climate in favor of the British Parliament, as part of a plan to achieve Irish sovereignty.


Pearl was produced and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on July 3, 1978, with the following cast:

  • Pearl - Elizabeth Bell
  • Mother Bumroll - Paula Tilbrook
  • Barnabas/Male Voice - David Mahlowe
  • Stage Manager/Casca/Actor - John Jardine
  • Grip - Geoffrey Banks
  • Sowse/Caesar - Ronald Herdman
  • Grimscar/1st Commoner - Peter Jeffrey
  • Backhouse/Soothsayer - David Calder
  • Belladonna - Lynda Marchal
  • Duchess - Kathleen Helme
  • Catso/Marullus - Kenneth Alan Taylor
  • Katerina/Female Voice - Jane Knowles
  • Messenger/Flavius/Actor - Robert Morton
  • Music composed and conducted by Stephen Boxer
  • Musicians Ephraim Segerman and members of the Northern Renaissance Consort
  • Produced by Alfred Bradley

Critical reception[]

The play won the very first Giles Cooper Award in 1978, and is considered one of the finest examples of the medium.


Hardcover and Paperback editions were published by Eyre Methuen in 1979.