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By The Editors
Oh, we know that gloomy winter days are ahead, so what better time than to snuggle up and listen to new plays and stories? There are plenty of podcasts, radio play series, and audiobooks out there, but we thought we'd recommend a new audio theater experience with a Quail Bell connection (keep reading to find out exactly what that is.) We caught up with India Stachyra, founder of Soundscape Theater in New York City, to find out more about this mastermind, wrangler, and storyteller, as well as as the roster of plays she's bringing to ears everywhere. Here's our Q&A with her:
How long has Soundscape Theater been in the works? What pushed you to start it?
I started Soundscape Theater near the end of September because I was really craving work again after being laid off from my job in April. I've had a bunch of interviews with several theatre organizations to no avail, so I decided to create my own remote work instead. I was also going through a really rough time with my anxiety, and re-focusing my creative energy has helped me heal from personal trauma. The idea just came to me at one point and I immediately designed the logo and made the first Instagram post that same day.
What sort of stories do you hope to tell or provide a platform for?
My goal all along has really been to provide a platform for emerging writers who may have short plays or little snippets of longer pieces they may not otherwise be able to present. It also gives actors and directors an opportunity to add something to their resume during this time in a relatively low-commitment, safe setting.
What have you learned during the process of starting an audio theater?
I've really surprised myself with this endeavor. I'm very proud of myself for pulling all of this together and combining my organizational, administrative and artistic skills into one purpose. I learned how much I really can do.
What are some radio plays, podcasts, or other works that interest or inspire you?
Ironically, I never really had any interest in radio plays or podcasts before starting Soundscape. I just knew from songwriting, making mash-ups and using GarageBand since I was nine years old that I was pretty good at sound-mixing. Also, I hate to admit it, but I am really bad at watching Zoom performances. The only thing that allows me to focus and really listen in on a virtual theater performance is doodling. So, when I took away the visual aspect with Soundscape, it was almost a tribute to my brain that has a hard time watching Zoom plays that don't engage me visually.
What are some of your long-term hopes for Soundscape?
I hope to keep growing the Soundscape community, and by community I mean followers, listeners or readers, writers, directors, actors, and maybe add another sound designer to the team on future projects. I'm just playing it all by ear, and I hope my audience so far has been enjoying it.
What's coming up for Soundscape in the near future?
Right now I'm editing Nessie by [Quail Bell founder] Christine Sloan Stoddard, directed by [Quail Bell contributor] John Cappello! It was so fun listening in on the recording session and I'm excited to see how it'll finally come together. Coming up, I'll be working on a much darker story, one that differs so much from the one I'm doing now. I love that Soundscape has already become a stage for so many different subject matters and genres.
Bio: India Stachyra is an interdisciplinary theater artist and administrator based in New York, NY. In addition to being an actor, writer, and director, she is the creator and producer of Soundscape Theater, a new virtual platform premiering 3-10 minute audio plays with immersive soundscapes. Check out India's latest projects at Indiartiste.com and Soundscapetheater.com / Instagram @soundscapetheater.
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