Audible continues to ramp up its original content offerings and Audible Theater category. On February 7, the company raised the curtain on the second group of theater playwrights selected to receive support from its $5 million Emerging Playwrights Fund. The Fund, established in 2017, was created to develop and produce new, innovative English-language works that are driven by language and voice. The selected playwrights receive financial support from Audible as well as access to logistical and creative resources—including workspace and dramaturgical expertise—for their projects. The Fund also drives the audio production of each commissioned work, and, for some of the plays, a live stage component.
The newest playwright honorees are: Nick Carr, Christopher Chen, Elinor Cook, Berri George, Carla Grauls, Eric Micha Holmes, Lindsay Joelle, Charlotte Josephine, Mike Lew, and Marisela Treviña Orta. In a statement, Kate Navin, artistic producer for Audible Theater lauded the playwrights for “harnessing the power of voice to create theater that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere.” Navin went on to say, “Audible is committed to supporting the theater community, cultivating great talent, and helping to grow audiences. We can’t wait to introduce these extraordinary new works to millions of people worldwide.”
Works from the Emerging Playwright Fund artists are featured under the Audible Theater umbrella on the company’s site, which bears the tagline “The Next Stage of Storytelling.” Links to profiles of the Fund’s recognized playwrights can also be found there in addition to information about Audible-produced theater recordings and live performances at the Minetta Lane Theater, the company’s adopted creative performance home in NYC. Audible subscribers have exclusive access to discounted ticket pricing for the stage events, Current stage runs include Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State, in which comedian Quinn observes both sides of he political divide, and Olio Live (February 18 only) inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection of the same name by Tyehimba Jess. Jess will perform some of his work alongside several up-and-coming actors and will also be joined on stage by author, editor, and founder of the Literaryswag cultural movement Yahdon Israel to engage in discussion about identity and performance. This event will be recorded for future release as an Audible Original.
The first class of 15 emerging playwrights was named in 2017. Three projects from that group are slated for release this spring: Proof of Love by Chisa Hutchinson, planned as a live stage production at the Minetta Lane Theater; and Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar (May) and Life Ever After by Carla Grauls (June), which will debut as audio recordings. Other productions from this initial group of Fund artists will be announced in the coming months.