With the pandemic keeping our theatre doors closed audio drama, audiobooks and podcasts have become a fabulous alternative source of creative expression for theatre makers. While the audio industry is huge internationally, we seem to be finally realising its incredible potential and reach. Theatre Ink caught up with Anoushka Zaveri who is spearheading a wonderful audio initiative, Audio-Torium, for Thespo’s 22nd digital youth theatre edition.
- What made Thespo choose audio as a project to pursue?
We felt that audio storytelling as a genre was relatively unexplored by young artists. Additionally, Thespo 22 is really trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible with storytelling and performing. Audio storytelling is an opportunity for young people to explore a whole new medium and unlock a part of their creative brains that may have been dormant so far. What’s more, emerging artists get to add new skills to their kitty, create exciting work that will thrive even outside the world of Thespo and engage with an art form that is entirely unfamiliar to some of us, and thus extremely fascinating.
- Does the Thespo generation listen to audio plays/podcasts?
With the rise of platforms like Spotify and Audible, emerging artists have definitely become avid listeners. We’re listening to a lot of audio non-fiction like podcasts and audio books. We may have had less exposure to audio plays as such, but that’s all the more reason to delve deeper.
- If candidates are unfamiliar with audio content any specific ones you suggest they listen to for inspiration? Also where can they go online to listen to good content?
Thespo 22 is working on compiling a database of audio content from various sources and genres – audio fiction, audio non-fiction, audio plays and performances, articles on audio storytelling, interviews, true crime podcasts, dramatised play readings, radio shows and more. Stay tuned to @thespoindia on Instagram and Facebook to know more! But for now, here are things Team Thespo is listening to:
- Tumanbay by John Scott Dryden and Mike Walker! You can find it on Spotify.
- A lot of exciting audio plays streaming on the BBC Radio website.
- Akashvani has uploaded really short and sweet audio stories that used to air as part of their radio show Hawa Mahal.
- The Speak Softly Shop has a wonderful collection of audio pieces from around the world.
- Radiolab’s The Other Latif is an investigative journalism podcast series that will seriously keep you at the edge of your seat until the very end. You can find it on Spotify!
- The FINALRUNE Academy has several new and old audio play recommendations.
- Othello in Malayalam!
- What kind of projects can people submit? Do they have to be theatre related?
Audio-Torium is a space for young, emerging artists to tell a story through sounds, voice, music, dialogue or whatever they think might create an experience for and take an audience on a journey, through the auditory medium. This is an opportunity to take an idea for a story and see it through until the end. We are looking for ideas that have a foundation in storytelling – fiction or nonfiction. Artists are more than welcome to go beyond the audio play or an audio drama format. Pieces can take the form of an audio story or narrative or perhaps even something more abstract than that – as long as it makes innovative use of the medium.
- Do they have to be of any particular duration? Number of episodes, length?
Ideas outlined in the proposal should have the potential to develop into at least a 20-minute long audio performance. Artists are free to work on a stand-alone piece or even an episodic one.
- Any language restrictions?
Nope! The proposal can be in any language. The subsequent performance can be in any language and of any genre as well, as long as it is created for and performed in the audio-only format.
- What kind of projects are you hoping to receive? Any ideals?
We are looking for narratives that take audiences on a journey. This journey can be across time zones and geographical boundaries or the internal journey of a character. We would love for artists to come up with ideas for projects that have storytelling at their core. There is no ideal idea. How can there be when there’s so much to be explored! Ideas for sci-fi audio dramas, true crime, domesticity, life in lockdown, historical fiction, fairy tales, children’s stories, absurd tales with absurd characters, fantasy or whatever emerging artists are into are more than welcome!
- What mentorship/workshops will the selected candidates get from Thespo?
We are inviting artists to bring their own story idea (it can be anything!) to the Audio-Torium, develop the idea to create an audio performance, be a part of exciting workshops and receive mentorship from awesome professionals along the way. Workshops will centre around directing an audio performance, writing for audio, voice acting, sound design, music in audio plays, sound editing, collecting sound for your piece, producing for audio and more.
- Will they receive any funding from Thespo?
We are not providing any monetary funding to the selected participants. However, we will be providing a series of workshops free of cost. Thespo will curate a Pitch Session as part of the Digital Youth Theatre Festival in December, at which participants will pitch their ideas to a group of audio experts – radio representatives, podcasters, mentors, producers of audio fiction and the Audio-Torium jury. Shortlisted ideas will be offered further mentorship and will be part of a ticketed showcase in February/March 2021.
- Any tips to those applying?
Dream up your wildest idea and bring it to the Audio-Torium. Don’t be frightened to try something new. Play and explore the medium and have fun!
This is an opportunity to experiment and innovate. Do not hesitate to push the envelope! SEND US YOUR PROPOSAL NOW! Click here to submit.