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.... beautiful and unexpected stories

  • News… [+]

    The Audio Production Awards 2017

    Sponsored by Audible and organised by the Radio Independents Group 

    Sound Designer of the Year (Silver) 2017

    For the ghosts and horses, amongst other sounds,  I created for Audible's Christmas Carol and Black Beauty directed by Cherry Cookson for The Wireless Theatre Company..

    The Little Chinese Maiden BBC Radio 4 - TX 11 Nov 2017

    The poet William Wordsworth’s daughter Catherine was born in 1808 and died three years and nine months later. She lived her short life at Grasmere in an extended family which included the aspiring author Thomas De Quincey. On re-reading the Wordsworth letters, the biographer and poet Grevel Lindop realised there might be a lot more to this infant.

    Featured on BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week

    LINK to audio

    Producer Matt Thompson

    What do Sadhus do on their day off? BBC World Service radio documentary in production with Sir Mark Tully. Recorded in India by Matt Thompson

    Behind the Scenes BBC RADIO 4 Choreographer Crystal Pite and the Royal Ballet reveal the making of Flight Pattern, Crystal's moving debut with the company.

    Flight Pattern is a moving and profound response to the international refugee crisis, set to the first movement of Henryk Górecki's Sympony no. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It received 5-star reviews when it premiered in the spring.

    Such is the vast repertoire of the Royal Opera House, Flight Pattern was scheduled for very few performances in its first run. But, for two months this year, Crystal brilliantly described her working process to Radio 4. It's extremely rare for the Royal Ballet to allow access to the making of an artwork to this degree, and Crystal's openness was exceptional.

    Crystal illuminates her process, her insights, her doubts. The programme accompanies her as she turns her early vision into a dance work for a major international stage - her dance phrase-making and her particular movement style, the challenge of working out how to dance to such powerful music (especially to the soprano's lament) and how to convey the experience of refugees. We hear costume fittings, the arrival of the set design and conjure up the power of light and shadow on stage.

    Other speakers include Kevin O'Hare, the Director of the Royal Ballet, and Music Director Koen Kessels. Kristen McNally and Calvin Richardson, two young dancers, describe the impact of Crystal, a creative presence who flew in from Vancouver to make such a wrenching barefoot dance.

    Recorded and produced by Frances Byrnes.

    Out of Hand - our second film has been completed and has been entered into a myriad of competitions. Whilst we await judgement it has to remain private to the general public but please do send an email if you would like the password so you can see it. Matt

    The Christmas Carol Audible/WirelessTheatre dramatised audiobook. This was a Cherry Cookson directed production for which I created the sound. Cherry had a fabulous ensemble cast including Sir Derek Jacobi. It was a complete pleasure working on such a high class project with Cherry and Mariele and the audible team. The music was terrific and composed by Isabel Sarah Herschmann.

    I learnt new techniques in creating phantoms. It is always fascinating to see how Cherry uses music.

    It has received over 1400 5 star reviews. The average is 4.7.

    Langston Hughes at The Third BBC RADIO 3 Presented by David Hendy. In 1964 - a presidential election year in the United States - the Third Programme broadcast an epic series about African-American life called 'The Negro in America'. In a coup for the BBC, it was co-produced by the great poet of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes. His series brought to the airwaves a range of sounds and voices of the Civil Rights struggle, of jazz music and black literature: sounds and voices that had rarely been heard in Britain. 'The Negro in America' is also the tale of an unlikely relationship.

    It was a privilege to work with someone of David Hendy's calibre. I felt we did justice to the work created by Langston and Bridson all those years ago.

    Drugs and the Dentist BBC World Service programme. Drugs like crystal meth and opiates wreck the teeth as well as the mind. In America, more than just about any country, good teeth are a sign of success and so dentists like Dr Bob Carter are helping fix addicts’ teeth.

    I had a fascinating 7 days in Greenville, North Carolina witnessing the work of dentists. I learnt something new about how to use generalisations rather than specifics in telling the story and in characterisation.

    The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler  a Vanishing Point/National Theatre of Scotland production adapted for BBC Radio 3 by Sandy Grierson and myself. Band recorded by Julian Simons at DIn. Click on link above for full details and behind the scenes footage.

    10 hour audiobook sound design completed for Audible. Monster 1983 directed by Cherry Cookson. I was really editing and massaging the excellent sound design done by Tommi soundofsnow for the German edition. Much use of Speakerphone by Altiverb.

    The Jungle Book an audiobook directed by Cherry Cookson for Amazon/Audible has won a prestigious prize in the USA. I did the sound design for it.

    Two lovely radio programmes made by Frances Byrnes at The Rockethouse have gone out recently on Radio 4.

    The Sprung Floor

    Dancer and choreographer Dane Hurst has bought a former Rambert Company vinyl dance floor to take back to his home in South Africa, for under-privileged children to dance on.

    An Excellent Dumb Discourse: Shakespeare in Silence

    Isn't silent Shakespeare an oxymoron? All that's nuanced, beautiful, meaningful in the poetry - silenced. Yet between 1899 and 1927, when the first commercial sound film was released, nearly three hundred Shakespeare films were made. Presented by Professor Judith Buchanan. Produced by Frances Byrnes

    Our first film 'No Hot Ashes' has been accepted for the Nashville Film Festival.

    Les Liaisons Dangereues. The Donmar Warehouse Production now downloadable as an audio play made possible by Audible Originals and Wireless Theatre. Rockethouse edited, designed sound and mastered the audio. We kept it minimal. Starring Dominic West, Janet McTeer and the original cast. You can get a copy for free HERE.

    Film 2 in post production

    Sinister starring Thom Tuck and Ishbel McFarlane is now being edited by Sue Moles.   It will be less than 15' long and in B&W.   Camera is Leo Bruges.  1st AD Sandy Harris. Sound Paul Chan.  More credits and details to come.  

     'An Excellent Dumb Discourse’: Shakespeare in Silence - BBC Radio 4 -  Frances Byrnes in production with presenter Professor Judith Buchanan, University of York.  300 Shakespeare films were made in the silent era! Why? Isn't Shakespeare's power in his blank verse and big ideas?   TX 17 April 2016

    The Little Chinese Maiden BBC Radio 4 - TX 11 Nov 2017

    The poet William Wordsworth’s daughter Catherine was born in 1808 and died three years and nine months later. She lived her short life at Grasmere in an extended family which included the aspiring author Thomas De Quincey. On re-reading the Wordsworth letters, the biographer and poet Grevel Lindop realised there might be a lot more to this infant.

    Featured on BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week

    Producer Matt Thompson

    Show more posts

    2015 - 2013

    The Jungle Book - Audible/Amazon - Sound design for Cherry Cookson directed production by Wireless Theatre Company.

    A Cold War dance - World Service andRadio 4 30 July 2015 - Martha Graham’s dance company made a propaganda tour of SE Asia at the height of the Vietnam war in 1974. Presented and produced by Frances Byrnes

    The Scrapbook: Memoirs of a Forensic Investigator -‘Between The Ears’ about a retied US Forensic Investigator Jack Sturiano - TX 30 May 2015 Radio 3 21.30

    Skylarking and Portable Heroes of a Thousand Nights shortlisted for Prix Maurlic 2015

    ‘Dialling Amok’ by Sebastian Fitzek - Post production for a Cherry Cookson directed (Wireless Theatre) Audible audiobook.

    Every BBC Radio 4 and World Service documentary produced by The Rockethouse in the last 15 months has been selected for BBC Radio 4's Pick of the Week.

    Snow White and the Seven Signs of Ageing Radio 4 13 March 2015 About the Evil Queen and alternative ways to deal with ageing. Cathy FitzGerald presents/produces.

    Woods Beyond a Cornfield Radio 4 23 Nov 2014 About a girl who goes missing. Poem by Stanley Cook. Frances Byrnes production.

    Night Fishing Radio 4 02 Nov 2014 About the poet Tom Rawling and how he fished at night for sea trout. With Grevel Lindop and Finlay Wilson.

    Paul is Dead Radio 4 14 Oct 2014 About the rumour that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car accident and replaced by an impostor.

    How to Dig a Grave Radio 4 08 Oct 2014 About how to dig a grave. Cathy FitzGerald as presenter and producer.

    Skylarking Radio 3 05 July 2014 About day dreaming of the sky when you are in it or looking at it. Cathy FitzGerald as presenter and producer. Music by Joe Acheson. Nominated for Prix Europa 2014.

    Radio 3
    Between the Ears about a retired US forensic investigator is in production.

    No Hot Ashes
    - short film now in post production. Cinematography by Holger Mohaupt. Madeline Brolly and Sandy Grierson star.

    Strawberry and Vanilla - sound mastering for film documentary about an ice cream seller. Co-directed by Tracey Fearnehough and Holger Mohaupt.

    Semi - Recent

    British Library Enduring War exhibition - sound design. (5.1 surround installation)

    North Berwick
    Coastal Communities Museum - sound design

    Immigrant cabbies in NYC for BBC World Service. Excellent
    reviews. Can be heard here: Yellow Cab Blues

    Two intervals for BBC Radio 3.
    Stalking The Hun and Gramophones on the Front.

    A Profile of Norwegian writer
    Per Petterson recorded in Oslo for a 45' Radio 3 with presenter David Szalay.

    The First Action Movie with Penny Woolcock and produced by Frances Byrnes. The first ever action movie may well have been made in Sheffield in 1903.

    Heart and Soul - A Place To Dwell BBC World Service Tx's 28/12/13 with Cathy FitzGerald. A Sikh Doctor in Harlem is attacked and forgives.

    Sound restoration on BBC
    The Lost Tapes of Orson Welles. John Sugar production.

    Nov 2013 Radio Productions Awards Indie of Year and Sound Designer nominations.

    Oct 2013 Third Coast Award (Honourable mention) for
    No Greater Love.

    Oct 2013 Prix Europa, Berlin Documentary 5th prize
    White Stiletto Dreams.

    BBC Radio 4.
    Noise - A Human History - 30 parts - Written and presented by Professor David Hendy.
    Complete series now available via
    (NB AudioGo has closed)
    Blog Here
    Book Here

    No Greater Love
    wins prize at Prix Maurilic 2013. Listen here.

    Staying Bright - BBC Radio 3 tx's 21/04/2013 A history of Stainless Steel presented by poet Simon Armitage. Produced by Frances Byrnes
  • A Scrapbook… [+]

    …. of images and quotes (mainly from the movies) which I found inspiring.

    Kubrick when talking of The Shining cites an essay by H. P. Lovecraft in which the author says, "In all things that are mysterious -- never explain"

    Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. - Bernard Berenson

    My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water. - Robert Bresson

    1930's photo of a Japanese street storyteller.

Rockethouse is a bijou company that creates radio, sound design, film and other delights.

The view from the office carpark.
Director Matt Thompson worked for many years with
Nigel Acheson.