We’re really keen to share the groups and individuals that are running on passion with a series of interviews highlighting the indy podcasts who made waves at the British Podcast Awards…
Arguably, there was no creative medium that was curtailed so much by Covid as much as theatre was. It’s not that surprising that theatre-makers pivoted to podcasts so successfully. Indeed, all three podcasts that placed in the Best Fiction category at the British Podcast Awards were created by (or in collaboration with) theatre makers. The winning show, Sound Worlds, uses the episode format to share a variety of standalone stories in all their forms – from the ones we tell our children the ones we tell ourselves.
Conceived and directed by Patrick Eakin Young, Sound Worlds was supported by Arts Council funding, which allowed Patrick to enlist collaborators from the world of theatre, literature and music. The result is a mixture of texts, music and sound design that Patrick aptly describes as ‘sonic theatre’. As well as the creative aspect (the show also placed Silver in the Creativity Award category) I love the peak behind the curtain we get from Patrick at the end of episodes where he explains his inspiration. But I of course wanted to know more, and managed to catch up with Patrick via email to learn about the show…
Congratulations on the BPA win! How do you feel?
Thanks very much. I feel great! It was very unexpected, but very welcome! When you are making things that you think are good, it feels really nice to have that thought confirmed by others. Like: oh! Other people think this is good too! Amazing!
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
I’m old school (like, actually old, ha ha!) so my first podcast was This American Life. The OG podcast as it were. I was living in New York in 2006 and my roommate was really into it and so I started to listen. This American Life became a bit of a victim of its own success, and the format started to grow a little tired (not to mention every podcast after was trying to emulate it), but some of those early episodes were such amazing storytelling, and really affecting.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
I was a theatre director making music and sound-based theatre before the pandemic. But I was growing a bit unhappy with the space of theatre, or where I sat in it. The pandemic stopped all that anyways, and I thought: I’ll take this opportunity to try making sound-only work—ie. podcasts—which I always wanted to try but never had the time or space to do. Our first season was kind of a knee-jerk reaction, like “what can we do quickly?” The second season was about discovering the form, as in “what is possible and what do we think is good?” Our third season is going to be about going deeper!
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
I don’t hear a lot of podcasts like ours. But the podcast I admire the most (and which I hope we approach even in a small way) is Have You Heard George’s Podcast? By George the Poet. It is, hands down, the best podcast and everyone should listen to it, even if you don’t like podcasts. There are also some other great podcasts out there that are pushing the envelope in terms of storytelling which I like. Two of my favourites are Love and Radio by Nick van der Kolk , which is mostly interviews, but really beautifully done in the way they reveal information to the listener, and The Memory Palace by Nate DiMeo, which are creative essays about obscure American history, just beautiful writing and storytelling.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
We don’t have ‘guests’ per se. Each episode is a collaboration with a musician and a writer. I’d love to make episodes with top-level musicians like James Blake, Solange, Perfume Genius, Flying Lotus, Anohni… I mean my list goes on and on!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
Always use a pop-shield! Seriously, I’ve learnt a lot about storytelling. When you remove the visual, you really concentrate on the essentials of story and narrative, and that has taught me a lot.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
I love all our episodes, but I think ‘Town Is By The Sea‘, is a really good example of what our show is about. The mixture of story, sound design, and music by Anna Rheingans is kind of what I hope we can achieve more often than not. Also, I love our series of Raymond Carver short story adaptations What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, especially the episode entitled ‘Gazebo’.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?