It has been six months since the launch of our THEATER ViSiONS website and we would like to take the time to say how grateful we are for your support. This goes for each and every one of you who have browsed our website or followed our monthly (or sometimes twice monthly) ViSiONS BLoG. Or followed us on social media: Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. For everyone who has taken a class or workshop or seen a production. For all of you who have been rooting for us behind the scenes (you know who you are) and those who have influenced and shaped our theatrical perceptions and skills over the years. A big hearty THANK YOU!!! And to our new Bulgarian friends and advocates, МНОГО БЛАГОДАРЯ!!!
Since the website was launched on 9 May, 2020 we have had over 500 visitors to the website from 23 countries, and nearly 1,700 views. We are very thankful for each and everyone of you especially for your support during this quiet time for us. The “Thank yous” in the featured image reflect the languages spoken in those countries and the text size roughly relates to how many visitors. And we are just getting started! We look forward to serving our local community of Sofia, all of Bulgaria and beyond its borders in the months and years to come. Follow our ViSiONS BLoG to get monthly updates from us.
Huge THANK YOU’S also go to our Advisory Board members, Vera Frengova, Desislava Duridanova and Milena Aneva, who are truly inspiring. Your guidance, support and suggestions have been invaluable.
And the biggest THANK YOU of all goes to my wife, who has been a listener, fellow dreamer, editor, translator and producer in the short time of the little over a year that we have been an NGO (non-govermental organization).
Like most companies nowadays we are reevaluating our plans and figuring out how to move forward effectively. As a theater company this has meant considering the possibility of moving much of what we do into video format and shifting it online. Also should we apply for the government funding that is meant to assist with sustaining the cultural industry that has been so greatly affected by the pandemic due to shut downs and greatly reduced capacity. Certainly there are many arts organizations, large and small, who have done one or both of these things.
After careful consideration, THEATER ViSiONS have decided, at this time, to do neither of those things. Although the possibility of recording performances and offering classes and workshops online is certainly viable, we do not at this time believe this is the best way forward for our company. Our strength lies in the rehearsal room, whether it be preparing for a performance or working with students. We thrive on that interpersonal connection and the energy that comes from collaboration. It is true that these things can be achieved to a degree through the latest technologies, but that it would also involve an investment of resources, which represents a commitment, towards making this decision work. We would rather use our company resources to go in a different, and hopefully, more sustainable direction. To this end, look for future blog posts that will reveal more information in due time (for a sneak peek). As for pursuing funding, we are in a unique and somewhat fortunate position. Because we are a new company with no full-time employees and no building, it means we do not have the administrative or overhead costs associated with these either. Since that is the case, we would rather allow companies with greater need apply for these funds. Instead we will focus our energy on upcoming projects and use our time and resources towards bringing new artistic endeavours into existence.
The cast is in place, recording is well under way and we are excited that next month we plan to bring you our first audio drama. For our first podcast we selected an old-time radio show from the tail end of what is known as the Golden Age of Radio and we are presenting it intact including commercials from their sponsor, Autolite. Our recording process has been one of experimentation so it will take a bit longer, but we hope the results will be worth the wait.
You may recall our blog post last month (Audio Theatre Coming Soon) announcing the results of our poll where voters selected mystery as the genre. We are recording a broadcast from an original American radio drama known as Suspense. It was a premier program as it was on the air for over 20 years and, because of the superb writing, had a knack for getting some of the top name talent of the day. The episode we are recording is fittingly know as Summer Night and back when it aired in 1948 featured Ida Lupino as its star. You are probably not aware of the name Ida Lupino, but she began her career in England onstage and later became a prominent Hollywood movie actress. She had a keen eye and used her down time to watch aspects of filmmaking which benefitted her greatly as she went on to direct features for studios as well as for her own production company. She was even the first female to direct a film noir when she helmed The Hitch-Hiker in 1953.
We have other ideas brewing so join us on this foray in what we hope will be a new avenue for our company. We greatly value your support and aim to ingrain ourselves in the artistic and cultural scene of Sofia. The best way to do that is to know what you would like to see or hear in the future. Contact us to let us know what you think and help steer our programming. In this new world some things may take longer to come to fruition, but we greatly value your input.
Over the next few months look for some guest blogs from people involved with the company. We are also investigating other performance opportunities and hope to relaunch our some of our educational programming. If you would like to get involved there are numerous ways to do so. You can tell your friends, share about us on social media, or check our website for more possibilities.
Socially-distant theater. It, honestly, is sort of an oxymoron for me. Theater is vital and visceral. Socially distant, well, it’s neither of those things. We put our annual family summer show on hiatus so… now how can we do an interesting theater project and be socially responsible? I love old-time radio dramas so the idea occurred to me to produce some for the theater company. I have some experience with sound effects creation, sound editing and voice over work so this seemed like a great fit. Then, at the last Advisory Board meeting, the board members suggested to marry that idea with some educational content. Bam! A new an improved reason for doing a radio show!
What will the process look like? We will attempt to record the podcast online. In order to accomplish this the script is broken up into small segments to keep the time commitment small for the voice actors. Many of the sound effects and music will be added after all of the voice recording is done. Since it is our first effort we do not have funding and will be working off of the company reserves. If the project is successful we will then look for funding for future radio drama podcasts.
Educational content related to the script will be added to the website once the podcast is uploaded. We hope this will be a fun way to listen to some classic old-time radio dramas and digest some quality educational content which we will create to accompany the radio play.
If you are fan of old-time radio, never listened before or perhaps just want to brush up on some English language phrases, then check back towards the end of August as we hope to have the podcast and support material ready for you at that time.
Recently THEATER ViSiONS held a poll to select the genre of our first audio theater presentation. The choices were science fiction, detective, mystery/ suspense and western. The results were a resounding “yes” for mystery/ suspense with over 60% of the vote.
We have already begun reading scripts, checking copyright status, testing our recording equipment, refreshing our sound effects library and preparing our foley studio (also known as Mark‘s kitchen). Soon we will be recruiting voice actors for the podcast, however, please be aware that these are unpaid positions as this project has no funding at this time. If you are interested, check out our WoRK WiTH Us page for more details as they become available.
In keeping with our mission, we will be creating some English language downloads and resources to go along with the podcast to assist any English Language Leaners who would like to build their understanding and context competence. The podcast and support materials will be made available from our website as they are made ready for release. We hope you will join us as we begin our new venture into podcasting!