The Emergence of Long Form Audio Dramas
In previous articles for Create Hub I have looked at the influence that companies such as Amazon and Netflix have had on our culture of television watching, the emphasis on long form storytelling and our growing need for consuming long form content. We now have so much content at our disposal on our devices all of the time. It is a very exciting time for storytelling.
I am a dedicated, perhaps obsessive, fan of BBC Radio 4, and the power of radio has always been fascinating to me. The intimate nature of the platform for the listener provides an unrivalled experience. Recently it was announced that the Amazon-owned company Audible has set aside a $5million fund for emerging playwrights to create one- or two-person radio dramas. It is following an emerging trend of engaging in long form audio drama, similar to the newly commissioned shows by Netflix, Amazon and others that are long form dramas all instantly available to view. Online audio platforms are providing new ways for content producers, writers, directors and performers to stretch themselves artistically. It’s an exciting new world of innovative storytelling.
Below are ten fiction podcasts for you to start listening to:
‘Starring Laurence Fishburne and Larenz Tate, Bronzville is a ten-part series set in Chicago in the 1940s about the “numbers game”, an illegal lottery that swept through the black community before being taken over by the mafia’.
‘On election night, two-term president Oliver Pierce watches in disbelief from the White House as Charles Dunwalke wins a controversial electoral college victory. With only 73 days before Dunwalke’s inauguration, president Pierce makes a secret decision to act, with historic and possibly catastrophic consequences’.
‘Ten years ago, over 300 men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. American Public Radio reporter Lia Haddock asks the question once more, “what happened to the people of Limetown?”’
‘When you die in the digital age, pieces of you live on forever. In your emails, your social media posts and uploads, in the texts and videos you’ve messaged, and for some – even in their secret online lives few ever knew about. But what if that digital existence took on a life of its own? Ross, a low-level FBI employee, faces that very question as he starts spending his days online talking to his wife Charlie, who died eight months ago…’
‘James Urbaniak and Azure Parsons star as two Angelenos who stumble upon an intergalactic conspiracy in 1958 Hollywood. A ten-episode smorgasbord of post-war paranoia written by Urbaniak and Brie Williams with a cinematic score by Jonathan Dinerstein’.
‘The Message is a new podcast following the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of eight episodes we get an inside ear on how a top team of cryptologists attempt to decipher, decode and understand the alien message’.
‘Archive 81 is a found footage horror podcast about cities, stories and sound’.
‘Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers and cultural events’.
‘A truck driver searches across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman’.
‘Homecoming centres on a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor and a solider eager to re-join civilian life – presented in an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions and overheard conversations’.
Marcus is the Marketing & Promotions Assistant at the Wyvern Theatre & Arts Centre in Swindon; he is also a trustee of Prime Theatre, who are a theatre company which specialise in theatre for children and young people.
Marcus is interested in how theatre organisations and companies use and incorporate digital technologies such as social media, live streaming, video documentation, projection, and mobile applications into their artistic output and company policies.