Tulpa Magazine recently sat down with the cast and crew of the New Wave Audio Theatre to discuss their forthcoming full-cast audio plays. This new venture is headlined by a talented group of young creatives seeking to bring the products of the arts community to more people and show the works of unheralded artists. We were joined by writers Taeghan Buggy and Alys Messenger, actors Cat Galligani and David Hampton, director Connor Reidy, and project manager Anita Sanders.
What the New Wave Audio Theatre team have produced is characterised by their collaborative nature. The impression one has when sitting down with this team is one of cohesion and mutual pride in their work.
Pictured (Left to right): Taeghan Buggy, Alys Messenger, Cat Galligani, David Hampton, Connor Reidy, and Anita Sanders.
The first thing we asked them is why they chose podcasts as their medium of choice. Anita explained that the dual benefits inherent to this format are the cost-effective nature of production and the ability for a podcast to transcend your surroundings. With the ability to put in your headphones and listen wherever you might be, the convenience of the format is greater than most. Anita also offered her view on the effect audio has on an actor’s performance as the actor cannot use gestures or hide behind costumes – they must ensure all their effort is put towards the use of their voice.
Actor David Hampton explained that learning to focus his performance through his voice, when he is used to working with posture, positioning, costume, and action, was an interesting experience. He recalls director Connor Reidy approaching him at an early recording to tell him ‘I can see you acting it but I can’t hear you acting it’. He had to shift his mindset from how he was previously taught to act.
The accessibility of the format is an important part of New Wave. It has none of the demands or barriers of more traditional theatre such as cost and set times. With a podcast, the theatre comes to you. It enables the listener to access emerging artists’ work without the investment of an entire evening. This not only benefits the artists involved but also the viewer. New Wave brings theatre to all levels of society, including those who have neither time nor money to spare on traditional theatre.
Director Connor Reidy found working with writers and actors a rewarding experience, enabling him to see what each party sought to achieve. It was unlike anything Connor had done before.
The larger number of people in the workshop environment of the scripting process made for more variety in ideas and had plans go in unexpected directions, writer Taeghan Buggy said. Three or four people would be in a room together working from the initial ideas and themes, teasing out a concept from these beginnings. Alys Messenger recalls that on one occasion, the team created a mind map following the development of ideas, and eventually they ended up in a place they had never expected.
Anita was key in looking for the writers to bring in to the project. Her priorities were in finding writers with a passion for the performing arts as this project was not just about the writing but also the performance itself. Anita chose Taeghan for her interest in poetry, which she felt would translate well to audio plays. Connor recalls the poetic nature of the opening of one play (episode three) and how effective this was.
Connor Reidy was largely responsible for finding actors, knowing more actors and having the more available networks, being in the final degree of a performing arts degree. Actor Cat Galligani explains that she had worked on a project with Connor at the beginning of the year and that he was able to bring three or four actors over from that project.
According to Connor, what they wanted to achieve in pursuing this project was showcasing artists’ voices. Adding that in Adelaide, we are lucky to have quite a large network of creative people but unfortunately there are limited opportunities. This project gives listeners the chance to sample the talent of the Adelaide arts community and reach out and support them. Connor said that while the arts are heavily supported during February and March, it filters off through the rest of the year. New Wave Audio Theatre coming at the end of the year gives them a good opportunity to connect with audiences before they are flooded with mad March.
Taeghan said that from her perspective as a writer, her goals focused more on capturing the attention of the audience by providing something that drew them in and made them want to keep listening.
Writer Alys Messenger, who tends to focus on directing, refocused on writing for this project. With a background in drama, she offers a different perspective again. For her, the goal was to look into the dynamics of relationships, because that’s where she feels a lot of drama lies, in that point of butting heads between two people. Though, she added, not necessarily people, as you’ll find out in one of them.
It’s surely the business of a writer to pique the curiosity of their audience, after all.
From an actor’s perspective, Cat Galligani said that she hopes the plays offer an escape. Whether that be from something going on in the listener’s life, or simply boredom, that wherever they should be, they hear someone else’s problems, someone else’s dynamic, and they get a new experience.
Looking back at their experiences, all expressed having enjoyed their time. Connor said that working in a form that was solely voice was interesting and enabled the development of new skills. Cat’s experiences seem to be similar as she explained she found the focus on voice, and the development of an entire character using just voice, to be a good experience, enabling her to try things she had not previously attempted, such as new accents.
Taeghan found the process very free. The method of telling the story (all audio, a set time) was constrained but within that, there was great freedom in what they could tell. Taeghan said Anita told them she felt their work felt fresh. It is something of a departure from larger theatre where they choose the plays they know to be a success and thus restrict themselves from fresher and younger voices. Getting a younger voice out there in a medium accessible for younger people is a goal one feels is held with universal importance by the New Wave team.
For Alys, the workshop environment and the nature of generating ideas within that was a worthy experience. Harking back to Connor’s comment of limited opportunities, Alys said she feels that it is often necessary to create opportunities, just as they have done with New Wave.
David described the New Wave experience as being akin to a ‘creative pallet-cleanser’ – working with a group almost entirely new to him, he felt he had to rethink approaches to character.
For Cat the scripts she worked on with New Wave were some of the easiest scripts she has performed because of how well they were written. One such script, Hurt Money, by Alys Messenger was one of the first scripts she had picked up and felt certain what her character was about, her background and motivation.
Anita stressed the importance of providing channels of distribution for artists as not enough exist to take the amount of art produced in Adelaide. That by setting about creating and distributing art, they were able to show the ‘amazing talent’ already present in Adelaide that just needed to be seen. They sought to create a positive environment of growth that would enable artists to be acknowledged both in the industry and by the general public.
What of the future? The chorus of approval for more New Wave Audio Theatre is absolute. Everyone expressed a desire to do more should the opportunity arise.
Words by Liam McNally
Photography by Lisandra Linde
With thanks to Anita Sanders, Alys Messenger, Taeghan Buggy, David Hampton, and Cat Galligani.
New Wave Audio Theatre’s first episode is to be released on 30th November. Be sure to check back on Tulpa for the review on Wednesday.
Check New Wave Audio Theatre out at their site: https://newwaveaudiotheatre.wordpress.com/