Although the form was popular in the past, the Radio Drama Playwriting Contest is a new concept for UP, Artistic Director of UP Kaitlyn Smith said. She said radio was the first way of getting theater out into the public.
UP and WIUX are currently accepting scripts from eight to 20 minutes length, and chosen scripts will be auditioned to be performed on the air at WIUX 99.1 FM.
Students may submit scripts for the contest to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is midnight Nov. 2.
UP’s radio drama is a way for students to find the hidden opportunities or careers in theater such as voice acting, Smith said.
Alex Goodman, director of educational outreach for UP, said radio theater forces those in the production to hone specific parts of their trade.
“Radio theater focuses on the art of verbal story telling,” she said in an email. “In a fully staged production, you have sets, costumes, lighting and other visual elements to help your audiences understand. In radio, we will have the opportunity to focus entirely on the spoken text and the voice of each actor.”
While there may not be many official classes for voice acting within the Department of Theatre and Drama, Smith said this gives students a chance to try it.
“To a lot of us in theater, we are trained to project our voices ... filling an entire room, not into a microphone,” she said.
She said student playwrights can gain valuable skills through the Radio Drama Playwriting Contest.
“Being able to have your entire play spoken live is huge and really beneficial,” Smith said.
Taking a play “from-page-to-stage,” or in this case the studio, gives playwrights the opportunity to see their work and make changes hands-on, Smith said.
Goodman said she hopes the Radio Drama Playwriting Contest will bring diversity to UP.
“The true test of an artist is being versatile, and I’m excited for our artists and audiences to experience something new,” she said in an email.
Smith said the radio format allows UP to break the mold to enlighten both actors and audience members.
“Sometimes fresh theater can be old theater,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re a student theater group completely run by students, but for the students. This is just another thing, another skill they can add to their bag of tricks.”