PlayME, Canada’s National Digital Theatre,
Launches Broadcast Network with Leading Theatre Companies
– BRINGING CANADIAN THEATRE TO AN INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE –
Toronto (December 18, 2017): Expect Theatre’s PlayME – the podcast that transforms Canadian plays into audio dramas – announces the launch of the PlayME Network, a new broadcast arm that will partner with some of Canada’s leading theatre companies from across the country. PlayME Network will feature shows from PlayME partners’ regular seasons, transformed into audio dramas.
Founding PlayME Co-Artistic Directors Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley are pleased to announce that the inaugural PlayME Network partners are Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre and The Musical Stage Co.; Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company; Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre and Newfoundland’s Artistic Fraud.
Since its inception in 2016, PlayME has transformed 10 independent Canadian theatre productions into audio podcasts. With close to 500,000 downloads in over 80 countries to date, PlayME is in the vanguard of facilitating international access to Canadian theatre and building an audience and appetite for it from all over the world (nine out of ten listeners are from outside Canada). Past podcasts include Nicolas Billon’s Iceland, Anna Chatterton’s Quiver and Rose Napoli’s Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells). The PlayME Network expands beyond indie theatre work to include work from theatre companies with full seasons.
“PlayME will help expand our reach to national and international audiences, making it accessible to a larger number of theatre enthusiasts,” says Richard Rose, Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre.
Nina Lee Aquino, Artistic Director of Factory Theatre, adds: “Our theatre artists should be household names in Canada, and known as the global talents they are. The PlayME Network offers just that opportunity. By bringing theatre to people’s phones and homes, PlayME is breaking down the doors for the public to access, gain a deeper appreciation of, and be transformed by, Canadian theatre.”
“Reach is a significant metric of success for our organization,” says Mitchell Marcus, Artistic and Managing Director of Musical Stage, “especially when it comes to developing original musicals with the goal of making a broader impact on the musical theatre cannon. Through PlayME, our work can live on digitally, exposing audiences around the world to the beautiful craft of our Canadian artists.”
“The PlayME Network paves a new way for performing arts companies to embrace the expanding digital world and to find new, younger, more diverse audiences,” notes Ms Mullin and Mr. Tolley. “The goal of the initiative is to build awareness of Canadian plays and playwrights for national and international audiences, with the aim of growing ticket sales for the live events.”
How It’s Done:
Plays will be recorded in a sound studio. Post-production, sound effects and foley will be added to the recordings to create a contemporary radio drama similar to a movie soundtrack. Where possible, the podcast will be recorded just prior to opening night of the production and released within the same week to coincide with the opening of the productions.
The PlayMe Network launches in early February 2018 with Factory Theatre’s production of Bang Bang by Kat Sandler, directly followed by Tarragon Theatre’s production of Bunny by Hannah Moscovitch. The Musical Stage Co.’s Reframed series of three short musicals – written and composed by Sara Farb / Britta Johnson, Erin Shields / Bryce Kulak and Julie Tepperman / Kevin Wong – will be recorded in the spring.
In the 2018-2019 season, PlayME will include work by The Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and Artistic Fraud in St. John’s. Over the next three years, PlayME plans to present work from companies spanning coast to coast.
More PlayME Programming:
PlayME will also bring other exciting initiatives to online audiences including PlayME Mono, a monologue series in collaboration with Playwrights Guild of Canada. The series will take listeners deep into some of Canada’s best monologues to learn about each playwright’s process and inspiration in creating the piece. Over the course of four evenings in front of a live audience, monologues by high-profile playwrights such as Judith Thompson, Daniel MacIvor, d’bi young and Keith Barker will be performed and the authors interviewed. PlayME Mono will launch in early 2018.
For “Drama on Demand,” tune in to PlayME at http://www.playmepodcast.com where the podcasts can be heard.
Expect Theatre is an award winning, Toronto-based company dedicated to producing cutting edge, original, multi-disciplinary productions that explore modern urban life. Formed in 1998 by co-Artistic Directors Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley, Expect has a long track record of creating integrated theatre works, radio plays for CBC, viral videos and site-specific performance art installations. Works include Romeo/Juliet Remixed, Static, Awake, CBC Radio’s Tunnel Runners, AWAKE the film and the annual urbanNOISE festival. Mullin and Tolley launched PlayME – an online portal presenting audio podcasts of Canadian plays and related content – in 2016. http://www.expect.org http://www.playmepodcast.com
PlayME is supported by The Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council.
PlayME’s supporters also include SpiderWebShow Performance, Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Media Refer: Dianne Weinrib – DW Communications firstname.lastname@example.org 416-703-5479