Sonic theatre makers Soundworlds have today announced a new season of their podcast offering listeners an immersive audio experience combining theatre, poetry and music. Far more than radio plays with music, Soundworlds projects are created by musicians, writers, theatre makers and artists who blend together music and storytelling, sound design, documentary and fiction to give listeners a true escape from the everyday.
From November 2021 to April 2022, Soundworlds will release a new episode fortnightly, on the first and third Thursday of each month. Each episode is its own, unique world: a piece of theatre for your ears, that can be enjoyed anywhere, any time. The eclectic mix of episodes has been created in collaboration with acclaimed international artists, each with their own story to tell, in extraordinary ways.
Join us for a Christmas party like no other, share some classic children’s books in new ways, and explore issues of our time from sex work to universal childcare, all without leaving your house, or staring at a screen.
Artists featured this season include: Canadian theatre group Quote Unquote Collective; Erased Tapes’ Douglas Dare; award-winning librettist and playwright Stephanie Fleischmann and Pulitzer Prize finalist composer Christopher Cerrone; French electronic musician Aho Ssan aka Désiré Niamké, collaborating with Emptyset member James Ginzburg; acclaimed theatre maker Joana Nastari; adaptations of children’s books Town is by the Sea and Birdsong; as well as new commissions from artists Aminita Francis (BAC Beatbox Academy’s Frankenstein), Travis Alabanza (Burgerz) — who will both be matched up with musicians — and Verity Standen, who will each create new, immersive audio pieces, directed by Soundworlds’ own Patrick Eakin Young.
Patrick Eakin Young, director of Soundworlds, said: “Podcasts have become one of this century’s quintessential new forms of media, yet the creative and expressive potential of the form is still being tested. I think of Soundworlds as a sonic stage on which to present some of the boldest innovations in audio storytelling: a space for musicians, theatre-makers, writers and sound designers to explore, experiment with, and expand upon the familiar podcast formula.”
Soundworlds is directed by Patrick Eakin Young and produced by Eleanor Turney and George Warren. Artwork for Season Two is provided by illustrator Sydney Smith. All episodes are free to listen to on Spotify, iTunes and other podcast platforms, or on the Soundworlds website.
Season Two will open this November with two episodes that reimagine existing albums as narrative pieces, Liminal Highway and Simulacrum. On Thursday 4 November, librettist and playwright Stephanie Fleischmann adapts Christopher Cerrone and Tim Munro’s Liminal Highway, an album for solo flute, inspired by John K. Samson’s poem of the same name. Fleischmann’s overlaid narrative tells the story of a woman chasing down a mysterious double through an urban dreamscape. Later that month, Simulacrum, from French Ghanaian musician Aho Ssan, is reimagined by James Ginzburg as the story of a boy trapped in his own apartment in a near-future society, stratified into a very strict class system, cut off from music and the outside world. It blurs the lines of reality, asking what and who is real?
One very special episode in December sees us invited to Douglas Dare’s Christmas Party. Listeners will be sonically guided through the festive party you wish you were invited to, eavesdropping on conversations between artists and radical queers, drag queens and East London scenesters, soundtracked by Dare’s rearranged carols.
The New Year will see a series of episodes working with and inspired by incredible Canadian artists. On Thursday 6 January, feminist powerhouses and multi-disciplinary performance company Quote Unquote Collective look at universal childcare as Canada comes out with one of the most comprehensive childcare laws in the world following the pandemic. Based on verbatim interviews with parents about childcare.
From January 20 our mini-series of Canadian children’s novels will begin, with an audio adaptation of Birdsong. Written by Cree-Métis author and illustrator Julie Flett, it is a subtle, sensitive story of intergenerational friendship, growth and loss. It is soundtracked by K.K. Rose-El (aka Kris Harper) of Polaris Prize-nominated nȇhiyawak, which translates to Cree People, People of the Plains or Free People. Releasing on Thursday 3 February is an adaptation of Town is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith. It follows a young boy throughout his day spent by the sea, all the while thinking of his father digging for coal deep underground, creating beautiful contrast between the two worlds. Soundworlds uses its immersive audio experience to perfectly capture in sound the beautiful visuals found in each story.
From Thursday 17 February, Joana Nastari’s award-winning debut play Fuck You Pay Me will be turned into a soundworld. A love letter to strippers, the episode will feature special guests from the community and a live score of Brazilian music. It is a play by strippers, for strippers and about strippers, a celebration that will be captured in Soundworlds’ impeccable audio.
Season 2 will wrap up with another mini-series which sees three new sonic theatre commissions created by Black, female, and nonbinary theatre artists, released throughout March and April. Bristol’s Verity Standen taps into the power of ASMR. Emerging artist Aminita Francis, a break-out member of Battersea Arts Centre’s Beatbox Academy, creates a Bo Burnham-like piece about the isolation of lockdown using only her voice and a looper. And British performance artist, writer and theatre maker Travis Alabanza teams up with Canadian (Polaris Prize-nominated) musicians Bonjay, to create a dancehall inflected fantasy as four trans friends head out into the streets of London together.
You can also listen back to Season One shows, including adaptations of four Raymond Carver short stories from What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and a piece based on Courtney Angela Brkic’s The Stone Fields, her memoir of joining a UN forensics team helping to excavate the mass graves at Srebrenica in Bosnia.