Theatia Podsie brings theatre to all

Clare Hamer will play the role of Marion in Megan J Reidl's Turbulence. (Supplied)

Matt Hewson

Geelong raidoplay festival Theatia Podsie is a tribute to the “lost art of radioplays”, according to festival director Jo Lusty.

Produced for the first time this year by Lusty’s Someone New Theatre Company, the festival will run over two sessions this weekend at Eastern Hub Geelong.

“The best way to put it is that Theatia Podsie is a love letter to those old radio dramas, and the way they used to create and distribute them,” Lusty said.

“We’re taking plays that would normally be put onstage and creating visuals in the mind of the audience members through sound.

“Of course, we don’t go in like they used to and create thunder with corrugated iron. We have access to the internet now, so we can get actual recordings of the sounds we want.”

The festival, in its fourth year, also seeks to make plays accessible to those who might not be able to otherwise view theatre.

“People may not be able to make it to live theatre for health reasons, or because of distance or all those things that kept us apart during the pandemic,” Lusty said.

“It’s also for people who can’t view theatre because they’re visually impaired, so it’s about accessibility. It’s about creating soundscapes instead of landscapes.

“So instead of having sets that recreate the Australian bush, for example, we create that with the sounds of cicadas and wind going through the trees to produce that sense of space without being in, or being able to see, that space.”

The festival features two plays by Victorian playwrights, ‘like me’ by Glenn Saunders and ‘Turbulence’ by Megan J Reidl, which focus on common human experiences such as death, truth, love and friendship.

“They deal with a lot of universal themes. There are definitely some very relatable moments in both of the plays,” Lusty said.

Someone New has been involved with the festival in previous years as a creative contributor, producing plays for the festival, and Lusty said the theatre company was thrilled to have the chance to facilitate the festival in its entirety.

“We’ve been really lucky to receive an arts, heritage and culture grant from the City of Greater Geelong council,” she said.

“Last year the festival was all run online because of lockdowns, but it was meant to include live readings as well as being put on podcast and radio services.

“But thankfully the grant has meant we can do the live reading aspect as well. It’s such a boost after COVID.”

Lusty is a co-founder of Someone New, which she and a group of like-minded creatives formed at the end of 2018.

“Someone New had just started getting off the ground when COVID hit, so we focused on doing some podcast stories ourselves,” she said.

“We did a podcast version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes that was done completely online with actors from all over Australia, which was really cool.

“Some of the voice actors recorded in the back of their cupboard, some set up big old pillow forts to record in.

“That’s up on Spotify now, and we did a few smaller podcasts as well, but honestly, we’re really happy to be able to see audiences again in person.”

Both plays will be performed live at Eastern Hub Geelong on June 24 and 25 at 7pm. Tickets through trybooking.com or at the door.