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Three Questions: An interview with . . . A. Nannette Taylor, Executive Director of the National Audio Theatre Festivals March 6, 2008

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
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Lit Between the Ears welcomes A. Nannette Taylor, the recently posted Executive Director, of the National Audio Theatre Festivals (NATF), to the Three Questions series. Nannette succeeds Ms. Sue Zizza who had served eleven years in the position.

Ms. Taylor’s resume includes positions held and awards earned in Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon. Upon accepting the Executive Director role, Mr. Charles Potter, Chair of the NATF Search Committee, said, “The Search Committee was impressed from the very start with the strength of A. Nannette Taylor’s qualifications for the post of Executive Director of NATF. We were even more impressed with how seriously and how graciously she took her every interaction with us, and by her clearly expressed life’s desire to ‘educate and to entertain.’ We are all truly thrilled that she has accepted to lead NATF forward in the coming years.”

We caught up with Nannette as she was preparing for NATF’s annual Workshop to be held later this year.

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LIT BETWEEN THE EARS: Nanette, what are the differences and similarities between radio drama, stage, film, and television?

NANNETTE TAYLOR: Of course, the overriding similarity between these disciplines is the fact that they all strive to tell a story which is, I believe, the responsibility of “The Arts.” The difference is how they do it.

LIT: What are the differences?

NANNETTE: Stage, film, and television are all visual mediums – and in a very true sense the ‘pictures’ are created and controlled by the focus the director chooses – which, of course, includes being true to the picture the author has designed.

LIT: Compared to . . .?

NANNETTE: . . . Radio drama – or more appropriately audio theatre – [which] stands alone in that the ‘picture’ is in the ear and the imagination of those who are experiencing it at the moment – the listeners.

LIT: Anything else?

NANNETTE: Accessibility. In order to experience stage and film – for the most part “I have to go to it.” Audio theatre, however, comes to me. If I can get it – I can experience it – be it in my living room – my automobile – or on top of a mountain gazing at the Pacific Ocean.

LIT: You raise an interesting point. How do radio dramatists and producers increase accessibility, or, paraphrasing your words, “go to more audiences?”

NANNETTE: Educate, educate, educate. Start in the schools – Connect and coordinate with such organizations as the Girl and Boy Scouts – 4-H – Bluebirds, the list goes on – what about all of those reading groups that meet once a month around coffee and discussion? – or the support groups that all have incredible stories to share – and do not even for one moment dismiss senior groups – My God – what we learn from them is staggering!! If radio drama/audio theatre is indeed universal, then we have to open our eyes and ears to the universe around us and take advantage of what is, too often, right in front of us. This goes back to accessibility.

LIT: But how does accessibility further the organization’s education goals?

NANNETTE: An organization such as NATF must be national. It must offer workshops, one-on-one networking opportunities, and educational experiences throughout the nation. We must listen to, and pay attention to, what is relevant in the locale we find ourselves at the moment and share our experiences and knowledge. We have the technology – we have the know-how – all we need to do, as an industry, is to make it available. In many cases this means “we go to them” just as often as “they come to us.”

LIT: That’s a tall task.

NANNETTE: The second step that must be taken is networking, collaborating, and cooperating between art forms including theatre, writing, music, and composing. Not only does audio theatre have a lot to offer these fields, but they also have a lot to offer us. By working together, everyone wins.

LIT: What is your favorite piece of radio drama and why?

NANNETTE: To a large degree it depends upon my mood – but what is sure to attract my ear are pieces that captivate my imagination through dynamic and creative story telling coupled with using sound – just sound – that not only completes the picture but also allows me to use my own imagination and experiences to fill in the blanks.

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Thanks, Nannette, for sharing your insights and break a leg as the new Executive Director of the National Audio Theatre Festivals.

The National Audio Theatre Festivals

The National Audio Theatre Festivals is dedicated to serving the advancement of the audio and emerging media arts through education and presentation. One of its ongoing goals is to bring workshops to various locations throughout the country.

Nannette, as she notes, “with the dedication and help of the NATF board,” is preparing for its June Workshop from June 22-28, 2008 in West Plains, Missouri. More information may be found on the NATF website.

Details

A. Nannette Taylor

Executive Director

National Audio Theatre Festivals

http://www.natf.org/

ed@natf.org

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Next on Three Questions: an interview with . . . Conor Lennon of BBC Radio Drama June 22, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Radio Drama, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
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Conor Lennon is a Producer For Special Projects with BBC Radio Drama. He started out in TV, making short films, documentaries and comedy for the BBC as a director, performer and writer. More recently he moved into news, working as a broadcast journalist and newsreader whilst making radio dramas for London’s Art Radio Station Resonance FM.

Since joining BBC Radio Drama he has produced audio dramas and documentaries, developed the first radio drama to appear on 1Xtra BBC (Urban Music radio station), and developed various innovative cross-platform drama projects including The City Speaks (an audio drama/artist film collaboration) and The Audiotheque (http://audiodrama.blogspot.com).

He shares his personal opinions – separate, distinct, and not necessarily representative of the BBC – in this Three Questions column.

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LIT: What are the differences and similarities between radio drama, stage, film, and television.

CONOR: All these artforms are dependent on a strong story; if the script is no good you’re just putting lipstick on a pig.

LIT: That’s been said about me when I put on a suit.

CONOR: Then there’s a good cast and the creation of strong images, whether through soundscapes, dialogue or a camera.

I feel very strongly that audio drama is a more relevant title than radio drama and should be treated as an artform in its own right, with its own skill set, creative discourse and history. If film is the 7th art, then for me audio drama is the 8th.

LIT: What do you mean?

CONOR: There has been a tendency to treat audio drama as a place to reversion theatre, film and TV which is understandable but rather limiting. Some of the most interesting audio dramas are those that could not work in any other medium, drawing on the techniques specific to the artform.

LIT: What should radio dramatists and producers do to reach new audiences?

CONOR: Keep selling the fact that only audio drama can offer a portable, immersive dramatic experience. TV and film are limited by the small screens of MP3 players: Audio drama doesn’t have this problem. Until audio drama becomes established in the mainstream, it’s a good idea to hook into existing drama brands, providing parallel storylines or spin-offs.

LIT: What is your favorite piece of radio drama and why?

CONOR: Depends on the day, weather and my mood. I suppose I’m drawn to pacy, entertaining “big picture” drama.

LIT: How about some examples?

CONOR: From the US, War of The Worlds still sounds great, most of Norman Corwin’s work (particularly the Undecided Molecule with Groucho Marx and Vincent Price) and there’s some great stuff on the Sci-fi Channel’s Seeing Ear Theatre. In the UK, producer John Dryden’s work is frequently “cinema for the ears”, particularly his adaptations of Fatherland and “The Handmaid’s Tale”. And I’ve got a soft spot for The Revenge (a 1978 BBC radio drama with no dialogue), Disenchantment and Sound Mirrors, all of which would not work in any other media. I’d be writing an essay if I listed all the drama I like!

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Conor’s posts on audio drama can be read on The Audiotheque at http://audiodrama.blogspot.com . We look forward to reading and listening to his work.

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Next on Three Questions: Conor Lennon, of BBC Radio Drama, thinks “only audio drama can offer a portable, immersive dramatic experience” June 21, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Radio Drama, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
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Lennon offers the following personal opinion, not necessarily the view of the BBC, to radio dramatists and producers trying reach new audiences or expand existing ones:

Keep selling the fact that only audio drama can offer a portable, immersive dramatic experience. TV and film are limited by the small screens of MP3 players: Audio drama doesn’t have this problem.”

Read the rest of Conor Lennon’s Three Questions interview on Friday 22 June right here on Lit Between the Ears.

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Three Questions: an interview with . . . Taso Dirlis May 3, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Radio Drama, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
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Taso Dirlis’ short play “Stewie the Stoic” was performed earlier this year in the first Praque Playwriting Competition. We exchanged emails and Taso offered insights on the radio side of playwriting.

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LIT: What are the similarities between radio, stage, film and television?

TASO: As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing they have in common is that each format tries very hard to tell a good story and not waste the audience’s time.

LIT: How about contrasts?

TASO: The differences kick in when each one has to overcome, in their own unique way, the inevitable and merciless realities of space and time. No mean feat.

What interests me most about radio drama is the possibility of producing one so well, it convinces the listener the only way they can appreciate it properly is by listening to it alone on their headphones.

LIT: That’s a pretty tall order.

TASO: That’s what I shoot for when I write them. I realize, of course, that there are many ways to enjoy a radio drama, but I still think that getting them alone, in the dark even, is where you can really grab their attention and capture their imagination.

LIT: What should radio dramatists and producers do to find new listeners? How do we, in your words, “capture their imaginations”?

TASO: Throw everything they got at the Internet.

LIT: What about our Bakelites, Marconiphones, or Atwater Kents?

TASO: I don’t see anybody huddled around their RCA Silvertones anymore, so I imagine most people listen to online radio and/or download the programs they want through either legal or illegal means. If it’s exposure radio dramatists and producers are after, they’ll find it available only a few clicks away.

LIT: What else?

TASO: Another thing they can do is write comedies. Not too many of those out there, surprisingly. Everyone loves a good laugh and from where I’m sitting, it looks like we can all use one these days.

LIT: What is your favorite piece of radio drama and why?

TASO: I’m no expert, but the radio plays J.G. Ballard did for CBC radio back in ’88 are hard to beat.

LIT: Ballard is a new name here.

TASO: I particularly like Having a Wonderful Time, a darkly comical look at one way to get rid of society’s unnecessary and unwanted. He’s a writer who understood the format and knew how to manipulate it in order to get the desired effect. When I was done listening, it felt like he had reached right into my brain and squeezed.

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Taso is currently working in Prague and Budapest on a book and can be reached at tasodirlis@yahoo.com .

Lit Between the Ears thanks Taso for speaking on radio drama. We offer our compliments on “Stewie the Stoic” and its production in the first Praque Playwriting Competition and extend an invitation for Taso to keep our readers informed of news and successes.

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Next on Three Questions: an interview with . . . Taso Dirlis May 1, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
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What advice does Taso Dirlis, finalist in the first Praque Playwriting Competition, have for radio dramatists and producers seeking new audiences?

“Throw everything on the Internet. I don’t see anybody huddled around their RCA Silvertones anymore, so I imagine most people listen to online radio and/or download the programs.” Taso also compares radio to stage, film and television and advises us to write comedies.

Read all of Taso’s comments on Thursday 3 May in the next Three Questions column.

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