December 2021 - BBC Short Cuts
There are hundreds of ghost towns dotting the coast of Newfoundland. Back in the 1960’s many small isolated fishing villages were deemed a drain on the government, and so residents were forced to abandon the only communities they had ever known. In many cases, they brought their houses with them.
Resettlement was supposed to be a new start, but this forced relocation left scars on the souls of the resettled. And many still yearn for the villages they can never return to.
The Storm We Cannot See
March 2022 - BBC Short Cuts
People once believed that storm petrels carried the souls of drowned sailors in their breasts. The birds would follow ships and were thought to be a divine warning of oncoming storms. It was bad luck to kill a petrel, and the most superstitious sailors claimed that doing so doomed the entire crew.
Today, storm petrels are dying in record numbers, their population has halved in the past 30 years and no one is completely sure why.
Petrels are what is known as an ‘indicator species’ and their disappearance is a giant warning about the health of our oceans.
The Voice of the Sea
May 2022 - BBC Short Cuts
Men have been going to sea in Northern Portugal for hundreds of years. They sailed all over the world, braving dangerous waters in order to bring fish home to their families. Many of them never made it home.
While the men were away, their family members remained onshore, holding vigil. They would look out at the waves, praying that their men would come home safe.
Abel Coentrão is a fisherman’s son. Born in Caxinas, a tiny fishing village in the North of Portugal, he learned of the danger of the sea early on. He grew up hearing many stories of friends and family who were lost at sea. This had a profound impact on his relationship with the ocean. One he has spent his entire life coming to terms with.
The Mystery of the Portuguese Waltzes
April 2020 - Atlantic Voice on CBC
This documentary follows musician Richard Simas on his quest to find the origins of the Newfoundland folk tune known as “The Portuguese Waltzes.”
Richard’s quest takes him from small fishing villages in Northern Portugal, back to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Richard dreams of reuniting these two cultures and in the process hopes to reconnect with his own long-lost Portuguese identity. But this turns out to be much more complicated than he thought.
Because like the 'The Portuguese Waltzes’ memories about this time are made up of many threads. Part fact and part legend, with differing accounts of where and by whom the song was created. Richard has to peel back the layers of memory and folklore to try and find the answer.
At its core this piece is a meditation on memory and truth. Because the truth comes with many layers, and things are not always as they appear.
The nostalgic longing for something or someone that was loved and then lost, with the knowledge that it or that may never return; “The love that remains”
The Pear Tree
A documentary about a man, a pear tree, and the disappearance of small village in Cyprus.
The story transports you between the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, to a rocky cliff in Newfoundland, Canada. Where a man is determined to coax life out of the inhospitable soil.
It is about the the resilience of the immigrant spirit, and the true nature of home.
The Atlantic Journalism Awards awarded Rebecca the Gold award in radio for the 2019 competition.
The Pear Tree also came in second place in the
24th Prix Marulic International Radio Drama Festival