NICOLAS SOAMES. Founder and MD Ukemi Productions Ltd.
Nicolas Soames, publisher, audiobook producer and former journalist, is based in the UK. As a journalist, he wrote on classical music for the main UK newspapers and magazines, interviewing key figures such as Luciano Pavarotti; he was also the leading UK judo journalist for two decades, covering the sport over six Olympiads for BBC TV, and newspapers. He founded Ippon Books, the innovative judo publishing imprint, and Clarinet Classics, an admired niche CD label. In 1994, with Klaus Heymann of Naxos, he founded Naxos AudioBooks which, over two decades became one of the world’s most respected audiobook imprints with over 800 titles. Its mission, to publish adult and junior ‘classic literature with classical music’, led to awards and commercial success with the works of Homer, Dante, Milton, Austen, Dickens, Shakespeare as well as Haruki Murakami. For Naxos AudioBooks, Soames produced numerous full audio dramas of Shakespeare, Beckett, Wilde, Coward, Ibsen, McPherson and Shaw. In 2000 Soames started Ukemi Productions Ltd specifically to produce other audiobook titles, and classic plays for radio. Among the many projects which have appeared since on BBC Radio and elsewhere have been Othello (Ejiofor/McGregor, in conjunction with Donmar Warehouse), Cyrano de Bergerac (Kenneth Branagh), Fuente Ovejuna (Brian Cox and Maxine Peake). He remains an active writer: among his recent publications are The Story of Naxos (Piatkus) and A Guide to Ulysses, a ground-breaking Joycean app for iPad.
David Timson has made over 1,000 broadcasts for BBC Radio Drama. For Naxos AudioBooks he wrote The History of the Theatre, which won an award for most original production from the Spoken Word Publishers Association in 2001. He has also directed for Naxos AudioBooks four Shakespeare plays, including King Richard III (with Kenneth Branagh), which won Best Drama Award from the SWPA in 2001. In 2002 he won the Audio of the Year Award for his reading of A Study in Scarlet. He also reads The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes I, II, III, IV, V, and VI and The Return of Sherlock Holmes I, II, and III, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four, The Valley of Fear, and The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. Most recently he has recorded Gibbon’s the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire unabridged, a massive project which is proving to be a landmark in audiobook history. For Ukemi Productions he has directed many key productions, including Cyrano de Bergerac with Kenneth Branagh, his own 4-hour spectacular adaptation of Goethe’s Faust with Samuel West and Toby Jones, and Fuente Ovejuna with Brian Cox and Maxine Peake. He also teaches at RADA, and continues to sing in cabaret.
John Tydeman played a key role in BBC radio drama for nearly four decades,as producer, Assistant Head and then Head of Radio Drama from 1986 until 1994 and thereafter a freelance director of plays for the BBC and for commercial audio CD’s and cassettes.
During his time at the BBC he worked with most of Britain’s great actors and writers and gave early encouragement to writers Joe Orton, Tom Stoppard and Sue Townsend amongst others He directed most of the major plays in the classical repertory, from Greek drama to Shakespeare, Chekhov and Shaw. He was also active in contemporary theatre, directing works by John Osborne, Stoppard, Albee, Pinter and many others. Directing for television and the stage has been a regular feature throughout his busy career. Amongst other Awards he has won the Prix Italia, the Prix Futura (twice), several Sony’s, the Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the most outstanding programme on radio in 1983. In 1994 he was given the Sony Special Award for his work and in 2004 was made an OBE by the Queen for his services to Sound Drama.
Roy McMillan is a director, writer, actor and abridger. For Naxos Audiobooks he has read titles such as Cervantes’ masterpiece Don Quixote as well as Bulldog Drummond, The French Revolution – In a Nutshell, Cathedrals – In a Nutshell, Bulgakov’s A Dog’s Heart and the introductions to works by Nietzsche and the Ancient Greeks. He has directed readings of Hardy, Hopkins, Kipling, Milton and Blake; Austen, Murakami, Conrad and Bulgakov, among many others; and has written podcasts and sleevenotes, as well as biographies of Milton and Poe. For Ukemi Productions he commissioned (and directed) new works from Peter Ackroyd (The Fiery World and The Allington Solution) for BBC Radio; The Duchess of Malfi with Sophie Okenedo; and Anouilh’s Becket with David Morrissey and Toby Stephens.
MICHAEL GRANDAGE AND THE DONMAR WAREHOUSE
Two important productions during Michael Grandage’s successful tenure at the Donmar Warehouse were adapted for radio, Othello and The Chalk Garden through Ukemi.