Theatre comes into Bristol’s homes with the launch of an immersive podcast.
Play Inside is an experimental project which invites listeners to imagine their homes as a stage as the podcast directs the audience to move around their home with the characters, to see what they see and do what they do.
Created by Michelle Roche, founder of the Wonder Club and WeRebel, and Rosie Poebright, who is studying for a PhD in the embodied story at UWE Bristol, have worked with a crew of people of colour (POC), queer women and gender diverse people.
“We wanted to break away from the normal types of story we all consume quite passively, which tend to be commissioned, written and directed by cisgender, straight, white men, and develop a form that invites the audience to develop compassion for the character through directing their own movement throughout the story,” says Rosie.
The Play Inside podcast has been developed to put transgender, non-binary, ethnic minority, LGBTQ+, disabled and marginalised groups in the foreground.
The first piece of work by Play Inside, which launches on Wednesday, November 18, will be a four part series looking at motherhood.
Written by performance artist, writer and director and World Slam Poetry champion Kat Francois with international poet, performer and facilitator Deanna Rodge, supported by Rosie and Michelle, it will be a complex look at the mothering experience.
“Other Mothers invites audiences into the storyteller’s world, through a 45-minute podcast,” say the Play Inside team. “It looks at multiple, complex perspectives on motherhood, informed by the writers personal and community experiences.
“Audiences are invited to inhabit the world of four women and minority genders, each with a different perspective; from, pregnancy, to choice, to IVF and caring for a sick parent at the end of their life.”
The non-screen audio drama is created so that it can unfold inside its audience’s minds, the podcast will allow listeners to connect with the stories and become part of the narrative in a way not normally possible.
“Through careful direction, delicately woven with powerful heartfelt, and deeply personal stories, audiences are guided through the experiential process of reimagining their home through different lenses and sensory embodiment,” the team adds. “This deceptively powerful technique creates a potent and unusual way to experience performance.”
Play Inside will stream over a wide range of mediums including Soundcloud, Instagram TV, Facebook and TikTok to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Other Mothers is the first project of many that Play Inside hope to create as theatre continues to change and adapt to the pandemic.
Future plans will include creating a sustainable model of storytelling that can be placed into a variety of post-coronavirus settings and continuing new ways to bring art and theatre to more people even when the pandemic is over.
“These stories are created by women and gender minorities telling their own stories from POC and Queer perspectives – coming from our own and community experiences,” says Michelle. “The story content is personal and in the telling of it, it becomes visceral.”
All photos: Play Inside