The Business of Good Government

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DD095849: Cover of theatre programme

Delia's papers contain a programme for Ian Cotterell's production of John Arden's play The Business of Good Government for Theatre 62, an amateur theatre production company based in Kent,[1] with sound by Unit Delta Plus, in which she is credited with composing the soundscore.

It was performed at the Parish Church of Assisi, West Wickham, Kent on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th December[2], whose weekdays and dates match in 1965.

A letter from Ian Cotterell[3] to Delia suggests that she created the following four pieces for it:

  • 1. Opening
  • 2. Angelic Chorus
  • 3. Massacre
  • 4. Finale

and in her notes she plans four sounds:[4]

  • 1. v. high steady angels
  • 2. bg steady/falling
  • 3. bell / bell mix
  • 4. priest, one note

to make three effects:[5]

  • 1. Grainy chord into note of 3 ships (+Bells)
  • 2. metallic clash, sharp (low cymbals)
  • 3. Closing bells + voices

The BBC had already made a radio adaption of the play which was broadcast on 16th December 1964,[6] though there is no evidence that Delia had any involvement with that. In its Radio Times entry, Ian Cotterell is not mentioned.[7]


From the theatre programme:[8]

  • Production by Ian Cotterell
  • Soundscore composed by Delia Derbishire [sic] of Unit Delta Plus
  • Costumes designed by Ian Cotterell, in conjunction with Jean Golder
  • Stage Director: John Shepherd
  • Stage Manager: Pamela Noble
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Diana Rogers
  • Prompt: Dorothy Moss
  • Lighting: Derek Pratt
  • Sound: Douglas Berney


  1. Breege Brennan's thesis
  2. DD095849: Cover of the theatre programme
  3. DD100029: Undated letter from Ian Cotterell to Delia about a possible sound score (4 pieces)
  4. DD100051: Delia's handwritten notes
  5. DD095957: Delia's handwritten notes
  6. The Audio Drama Wiki's entry for The Business of Good Government
  7. The Business of Good Government, 16th December 1964 on the BBC Genome Project.
  8. DD095908: Inside fold of the theatre programme