Toronto-based company bringing theatre to podcasts

TORONTO -- Theatre lovers, get ready to experience contemporary Canadian plays from the comfort of your home or while on the go.

See Full Article

On Thursday, Toronto-based Expect Theatre launches PlayME, which will feature plays and short stories in podcast form.

Think of it as radio drama for the modern age, with plays unfolding in a serialized format with weekly chapters plus ancillary interviews.

The first season will feature six shows. Kicking things off is the drama "Agamemnon" by Governor General's Award winner Nicolas Billon, which is also running as a live production at Toronto's Factory Theatre through Jan. 17. "Agamemnon," with a cast of nine, will have a new episode every Thursday.

PlayME co-creators Chris Tolley and Laura Mullin, the artistic directors of Expect Theatre, say they embarked on the project because it's often difficult to produce live stage shows.

"It's very expensive, it's always hard to get an audience," says Tolley, adding that podcasting has a wide reach and allows them to "be so agile and produce with very little money compared to putting on a full show."

It's also a way to reflect the times.

The duo plans to curate their PlayME seasons in a flexible manner to allow for productions that will resonate with current events and what listeners want to hear.

They're accepting potential plays for the project directly from writers and also plan to run contests to find scripts.

They want high-quality, unproduced or "under-produced" plays, meaning they haven't been staged at a high level yet. They don't have to be Canadian stories but they must be written by a Canadian. And they're open to musicals.

"We're also trying to put an emphasis on diversity and particularly also female writers," says Tolley, "and trying to create a season that's a mixture of well-established playwrights and playwrights who are incredibly talented but maybe haven't had their first big break and hopefully this will be it."

Adds Mullin: "We're also looking for contemporary, edgy, provocative pieces when we can, because we are looking to get to that younger market."

The podcasts will be available at playmepodcast.com and on various apps, including iTunes and Instacast.

Tolley and Mullin have budgeted their podcasts at about $5,000 -- a paltry sum compared to the estimated $30,000 to $50,000 it would cost to stage a production.

They're able to fund their first year through grants. For their second year, they're looking at various sources of revenue, from advertising to sponsorship and subscriptions.

They don't know of anything else like this out there, so they're figuring it out as they go. They had to work out a special agreement with the Canadian performers' union for the new model.

Not that the two want to take people away from going to the theatre.

"We kind of hope it will be a bit of a gateway drug for people," says Tolley.

"That they'll hear a podcast, get to know the playwright, get to know some of the performers that are out there, and then buy a ticket and go and see a show."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Where does 'Westworld' go from here? And other questions about the season finale

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    "Westworld" ended its season on a strange note. The episode was not exactly a cliffhanger, but it also did not offer much in the way of closure. The final moments were not unlike another story of A.I. Source
  • Jimmy Kimmel to host Academy Awards

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — The Oscars finally have a host: Jimmy Kimmel will emcee the 89th Academy Awards. Kimmel will be hosting the show for the first time, the Academy of Motion Pictures said Monday. In September, he hosted the Emmy Awards for the second time. Source
  • Guillermo and mean tweets head to the Oscars? Jimmy Kimmel to MC Academy Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    With two Emmy Award telecasts under his belt, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is now heading to the Oscars. The Academy Awards show producers have tapped the Jimmy Kimmel Live star to MC Hollywood's annual celebration of cinema. Source
  • Justin Bieber: 'I'm single... but not looking'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Justin Bieber has confirmed he’s a single man and isn’t “really looking” for a relationship. The 22-year-old singer has been linked to various famous faces including Lionel Richie’s daughter Sofia in recent months. But as he filmed an interview for U.S. Source
  • WATCH: R. Kelly invites female fan to 'grab' his crotch

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    R. Kelly was left shocked when a woman took him up on his invitation to “grab” his crotch at a recent gig. The Ignition singer performed his 12 Nights of Christmas concert, named after his album of the same name, in Detroit on Friday to a packed crowd, at one point freestyling about how hot he felt on stage in his fur coat. Source
  • Patti Smith to perform on behalf of Bob Dylan at Nobel Prize ceremony

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Patti Smith will perform on behalf of Bob Dylan at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm on Saturday. Dylan became the first songwriter to be awarded the literature prize in October, with the Swedish Academy praising him for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Source
  • Metallica’s James Hetfield on the future, K.C. and The Sunshine Band and more

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Thirty five years in, Metallica frontman James Hetfield still really loves his job. “I’ll tell ya, when I’m talking about or thinking about or playing or listening to music, it’s a joy,” said the singer-rhythm guitarist. Source
  • Indie rockers the Darcys change face, record Mariah Carey Christmas cover

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Recording a cover of Mariah Carey's holiday staple "All I Want for Christmas is You" would've been sacrilege for art-rock band the Darcys a few years ago. Once considered part of Toronto's elite indie movement, it was unthinkable that music by America's sultry pop diva would sneak into their repertoire -- but that was before an audacious makeover turned the Darcys on their heads. Source
  • 'A ridiculous misunderstanding:' Bernardo Bertolucci blasts back over Last Tango in Paris outrage

    Entertainment CBC News
    Last Tango in Paris is making headlines again 44 years after the controversial film came out. A recently re-posted video interview with Italian director BernardoBertolucci from 2013 has renewed interest, and sparked fresh outrage, over what happened to actress Maria Schneider on set during the infamous butter rape scene. Source
  • 'Horrified, disgusted and enraged:' Hollywood reacts to Last Tango in Paris rape scene revelation

    Entertainment CBC News
    Last Tango in Paris is making headlines again 44 years after the controversial film came out. A recently re-posted video interview with Italian director BernardoBertolucci from 2013 has renewed interest, and sparked fresh outrage, over what happened to actress Maria Schneider on set during the infamous butter rape scene. Source