Executive Producer of Fierce Festival, Pippa Frith and Producer and Lecturer Kate Chapman, have created three brand new podcast series focussed on working with theatre artists to create and curate topical, questioning, entertaining explorations of what’s important to them and the world around them.
She Wants A Dog, the Midlands based production company works with artists to unleash their voices and unpick current, complex topics such as trans rights, disability rights, queer politics and death.
Find out how to listen to the podcasts here.
You’ve commissioned three new podcast series, what can you tell us about them?
We think these series are showcasing fresh and important voices from the theatre / performance sector – trying new things in the realm of audio – supported by us, as producers with some experience in audio.
Sickbabe is a series of funny, frank chats between fellow #Sickbabes living with invisible disabilities. The episodes overhear personal conversations, offering a rare insight into conversations that usually happen in private WhatsApp groups and phone calls, from one sickbed to another. Hosted by Suriya Aisha – there’s a generosity to these conversations we believe is exciting.
A Practical Guide to Death takes the form of 5 audio dramas written by theatre writers Amanda Whittington, Annie Siddons, Rochi Rampal, Mufaro Makubika and Leah Chillery. We asked each writer to write a play about the end of life and they’ve all responded to the theme differently; from an encounter in a hospital mortuary to an appointment with a professional mourner, to a death denier. All the audio dramas have a companion episode featuring the writer in conversation with a death industry professional. These include chats with an end of life doula, a grief counsellor and a specialist in fear of death. Thoughtful and varied, we hope these episodes offer space to think about the end of life in new ways and to hear from people who can offer advice and different perspectives.
The Perverts Podcast is a queer audio cabaret. Working with award winning theatre company Milk Presents and queer archives nationally, cabaret artists take inspiration from objects and documents which have significance in queer histories. The series is hosted by writer and artist Leo Skilbeck who introduced the artefacts, discusses it with an expert and then introduces a dazzling cabaret artist to give a performance in response to the artefact. It’s all recorded with a live audience, at the iconic queer venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London but it brings the listener up close and personal with a leading cabaret star.
What inspired you to create these new podcasts?
We have both loved audio and podcasts and this love has driven our interest in collaborating and setting up She Wants a Dog. We are both producers working with theatre artists / makers, so we wanted to explore the podcast space as a performance arena. These 3 series were born out of research and development periods where we explored ideas with theatre makers, giving them some thinking time to come up with proposals as to what they’d make for audio.
Why did you decide sickness, perversion and death would be the ideal themes for these podcasts?
We think podcasts can be a place for nuanced and complex conversations. When exploring this opportunity with artists, these were things that came up for them – often social taboos – which felt empowering to explore through the intimacy of audio.
When you put them next to each other like that, there’s a danger it all sounds, well, a bit serious, but actually there’s lots of laughs across all 3 series – we promise!
What have you found most challenging about putting the series together?
When we set out to make these series we were not in the midst of a pandemic, so we had to pivot and re-plan. You might think this would be straight forward – surely podcasts in a pandemic are easy enough to make – but actually all three had been specifically designed to record in person in various ways, so this took some work to re-plan.
For example, when creating the Perverts Podcast the Milk Present team were keen to record in a venue of historical relevance to the LGBTQI+ community – which meant we needed a venue, and of course, an audience!
And what are you most proud of about the podcasts?
We’re really proud of the quality of all 3 series, because of the wonderful people we’ve worked with. It’s not every day we get to work with leading artists/activists like Suriya Aisha and Milk Presents whose ideas have driven two of the series.
Thanks to them we’ve also been able to include fantastic, entertaining and inspiring guests. More than that, it’s also about the depth and complexity of the conversations and what is revealed or shared through the chemistry of host and guests.
Podcasts are all about the people who feature and we’ve had such a fantastic line-up of hosts, writers, actors and experts across all these series.
There’s such rich variety across all 3, that we think if one series isn’t for you, another might just be…
What would you say to anyone thinking of listening to Sickbabe, The Pervert’s Podcast and A Practical Guide to Death?
We’ve made 3 pilot series, each very different to the other (and all available all your usual podcast places – just search the series title), so maybe see which series might catch your interest first and start there? What do you have to lose after all? They’re free!