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October 27, 2021

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre Uses Podcast Platform to Alert Audiences to Social and Environmental Challenges

Theatre for the Ears: Series of Immersive Audio-Dramas Launches November 3 

NOV 3: Starman, by Pippa Mackie + conversation episodes each week (Nov 10, 17)
DEC 1: The Eternal Sailor, by Derek Chan + conversation episodes (Dec 8, 15)
JAN 5: Lost Soul Animal Rescue, by Gery Mok + conversations episodes (Jan 12, 19)
FEB 2: The Women’s Hour, by Alexandria Haber + conversations episodes (Feb 9, 16)

see full descriptions and artistic teams further below

Vancouver, B.C. (November 3, 2021)

This November, Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre releases a newly imagined digital audio-drama series called Theatre for the Ears, a collection of immersive stories exploring social and environmental challenges and their effect on our individual and collective human experiences.

Each episode is an independent story made possible by the diverse existences and views of those who make up our cultural landscape, designed to bring attention to the societal and/or environmental issues plaguing us all.

The Theatre for the Ears team came together to create this series with its parent organization’s (Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre) mission in mind: literally, to “sound the alarm” on important issues. They realized the resurgent popularity of audio-dramas, thanks in large part to podcasts, which allow them to expand their Theatre for the Ears efforts and get their art and messages to new and more people.

“We collaborated with diverse artists and those directly affected by the issues, and by understanding and relaying their stories through Theatre for the Ears, we believe we will make a difference,” said Sound the Alarm Creative Director, Alan Corbishley.

Of the four planned audio-dramas , the first launches on its virtual stage November 3. “Starman” is a dark comedy; the audience listens as Daryl – “Starman” – takes us on a journey into a black hole of exile and self-awareness, and realizes he may need to confront a part of himself he never knew existed.

Episode writer and creator Pippa Mackie – award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director -- brings her varied and accomplished television and theatre experience and transforms this piece into one that aims to change the way listeners think about mental health and social alienation.

“I was particularly inspired by the galactic event of black holes swallowing stars and how these stars will suddenly and without ceremony, disappear. This phenomenon led me to think about loneliness and the concept of our digital selves versus our physical presence. I wanted to personify a star and follow its journey from sparkling to swallowing. ‘Starman’ aims to explore what happens when, instead of adapting and shifting, we retreat and hide,” said Mackie.

Next up, “The Eternal Sailor” written by Derek Chan launches December 1, in which our protagonist wakes from a coma and sets off on an epic of place and time to find a loved one, between Vancouver and Hong Kong between the years 2019 and 2047. Derek Chan -- a playwright, director, performer, translator, and producer – lends his personal experience of growing up in colonial Hong Kong and living in Vancouver to the story and calls out our need to conserve waterways and to consider the fragility of democracy.

“Lost Soul Animal Rescue” written by Gary Mok, appeals to audiences young and old and is set to be released January 5. It is centered around Chinese ghost stories, but instead of the common filial piety (duty to ancestors), the ghosts are animals. The episode questions our duty to nature and to environmental and wildlife conservation.

Finally, February 2 brings us “The Women’s Hour”, written by Alexandria Haber, in which new mother Laila and widow Margaret share a wall and are both reluctant to leave their apartments. However, a radio show that one listens to every day brings the two women together in a strange way, even as the news isn’t good for women in the world beyond their walls. It’s a look inside isolation, loneliness, and women’s rights.

Accompanying these fictional episodes will be a number of conversational interviews and dialogues with the artists and experts who will help inform us around the issues the stories will be uncovering.

“As always, we are privileged to be able to use our platform, in this case an audio-drama podcast, to sound an alarm on global concerns,” said Corbishley.

“Hopefully we can all take a moment to listen, and then, crucially, play our parts in bettering the world.”

The series launches November 3.

Visit https://soundthealarm.ca/theatre-for-the-ears for more information.

About Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre Sound the Alarm: Music/Theatre believes music and theatre have the power to challenge, transform, connect, and energize; we strive to use the arts to amplify awareness (“sound the alarm”) for social issues that need to be heard. We collaborate within our organization and with outside groups to create innovative, high-quality programming experiences that contribute to shining light on needed conversations, lifting those that need it, and celebrating diverse Canadian communities. Learn more at https://soundthealarm.ca.

Series Team

Alan Corbishley

Creative Director

Joanna Garfinkel

Dramaturg
(Starman, The Eternal Sailor, Lost Soul Animal Rescue)

Evan
Berndt

Audio Director/Engineer

Episode By Pippa Mackie:
Starman

Taking inspiration from the galactic event of blackholes swallowing stars, Starman is a dark comedy about a 42-year-old man who has locked himself in his room for the rest of his life. Through his very unpopular podcast - Daryl (aka Starman) will take his internet “friends” on a journey into his chosen exile which may lead him to confront a part of himself he never knew existed.

Alarm:  mental health and social alienation

Episodes:
1:  STARMAN (now available)

2:  STARMAN Conversation: with Pippa Mackie and registered counsellor Ashley Greensmyth (available now)

3:  STARMAN Conversation:  with Kayvon Khoshkam (Starman), Victor Dolhai (ME.Blackhole), Brent Hirose (Director), and registered counsellor Matt McLean.  (out Nov 17)

Listen to Episodes

Starman Artistic Team

Pippa
Mackie

Playwright/Script Writer

Brent
Hirose

Episode Director

Kayvon Khoshkam

Actor:  Starman

Victor 
Dolhai

Actor:  Me

Malcolm Dow

Sound Design

Matt McLean

Registered Counsellor (conversation episode)

Ashley Greensmyth

Registered Counsellor (conversation episode)

Episode By Derek Chan:  
The Eternal Sailor

Waking up from a concussion coma suffered during a 2020 pro-democracy protest crackdown in Hong Kong, our protagonist goes on an Odyssey to track down their beloved partner in Hong Kong and Vancouver. Using audio ship log/field recording as the framing device, the listener sets off on a marine epic between various Vancouver and Hong Kong neighborhoods across 2019 and 2047.

Alarm:  conservation of our waterways and the fragility of democracy

Episodes  
December 1, 2021 + conversations

The Eternal Sailor Artistic Team

Please note:
Due to the subject matter and the 'alarm being sounded' around the fragility of democracy in Hong Kong, some of our team are choosing to use pseudonym's and anonymous images to represent them.

Derek
Chan

Playwright/Script

'Lok
Yu'

Episode Director

Stefan
Smulovitz

Sound/Music Design

'Nao
Uemura'

Actor:  Jacy

'P.
Trinh'

Actor:  Alexis

'Passer Montanus'

Actor:  Sparrow

'Harmony
Sky'

Actor:  EMT

'Fala
Chen'

Actor:  Cantonese Jacy

Episode By Gary Mok  
Lost Soul Animal Rescue

This episode is for young audiences and is centred around the tradition of Chinese ghost stories which normally focus on filial piety (duty to your ancestors). In this particular creation, Gary has added a twist on that concept by using animal “ghosts” to question our duty to nature instead. 

Alarm:  environmental and wildlife conservation

Episodes:
January 5, 2022 + conversations

Lost Soul Animal Rescue
Artistic Team

Gary
Mok

Script and Story Creator

Karen
Lam

Episode Director

Elfina
Luk

Actor:  Dawn

Kenneth Tynan

Actor:  Crow

Ingrid
Nilson

Actor:  Bear & Lynx

Aleksandar Zecevic

Sound Design/Music/Editing

Episode By Alexandria Haber:    
The Women's Hour

Laila, a new mother and Margaret, a grieving widow share a wall. For different reasons, both women are reluctant to leave their apartments. Yet, despite having never crossed paths in real life, Laila and Margaret know a lot about each other because of the sounds that carry through the wall, in particular, the daily radio show, The Woman’s Hour, that Margaret listens to very loudly. Lately, a lot of the news is bad, especially for woman: Afghanistan, Texas. One day, Laila hears a different sound coming through her wall.

Alarm:  isolation, loneliness and women’s rights

Release:
February 2, 2022 + conversations

The Women's Hour
Artistic Team

Alexandria
Haber

Script and Story Creator

Kamila Sediego

Episode Dramaturg

We would like to thank our supporters! 

It is with great honour that we have received funding support from the following organizations.

CASC Grant

Community Gaming

Canada Council for the Arts


Sound the Alarm:  Music/Theatre is a registered Canadian charity.


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