POE – A LIFE IN STORIES & SOUND: A VERY SPECIAL AES EVENT October 27th, 2012 Rare Live Performance By Firesign Theater Star Phil Proctor
SAN FRANCISCO: Underscoring the diversity of the 2012 AES Convention Special Events Track, Poe – A Life And Stories In Sound offered attendees a rare opportunity to see legendary 3-time Grammy-nominated Firesign Theatre star Phil Proctor, in a live, hour-long dramatic audio performance, as writer Edgar Allen Poe. Engaging live and recorded sound effects, with an original score, the production featured Proctor dramatizing moments from Poe’s life and passages from the author’s most powerful prose.
On October 27, 2012 Poe – A Life And Stories In Sound also featured actors Melinda Peterson, Bill Chessman, and Ellen Stewart. The production, underwritten by Sennheiser-Neumann USA, featured an original play written, produced and directed by award-winning audio dramatist Sue Zizza, and featured sound design by David Shinn, of SueMedia Productions, (www.suemediaproductions.com) with live sound effects performed by Valerie Priest and Suzan Lorraine and recorded playback by Don Priest.
Click here for more information about the AES event.
Great Live Show & Awesome Streaming Response It was another great year of modern audio theatre at the West Plains Civic Center and we were genuinely overjoyed to be able to broadcast the show via KKDY and KOPN and both broadcast and stream from WLNZ in Michigan! They generously allowed us to use their stream to pump out the show to the rest of the world and the response was tremendous!!!
More people listened to the show than ever before and The National Audio Theatre Festivalspage on Facebook had overwhelmingly positive responses to the show from both members and new friends who’d just been referred to us for the first time.
Thanks to all who listened and all who participated. We LOVE teaching modern audio theatre production skills to those who want to be part of the genre’s renaissance using modern tech and genuinely high-quality scripts and actors.
Watch for pictures of the week to post ASAP!
2012 Workshop Guests and Instructors OUR GUEST PERFORMERS AND INSTRUCTORS! MORE NAMES WILL BE ADDED, SO CHECK BACK OFTEN! The 2012 workshop information here is for informational purposes.
Tony Brewer (Instructor/Writer and Director, The Last Broadcast) is an independent sound effects artist and spoken word performer from Bloomington, Indiana. He produced and directed eight episodes of the Hayward Sanitarium horror series for NPR Playhouse in 1994, and went on to produce, direct, and perform in dozens of live and studio works at the end of the last century for Last Minute Productions and WFHB Community Radio in Bloomington. Other credits include: live sound effects for The Merry Widow with the Knoxville Opera (2002); live sound effects for The War of the Worlds for the Franklin (Tenn.) Drama Review (2003); director or co-director of live sound effects for NATF (2001-2003, 2006, 2009-2011); foley for the independent films Inverses (2005) and 8 Wheels of Death (which he also wrote, 2010); live sound effects for the International Mystery Writers Festival (2008-2009, 2012); live sound effects for Agatha Christie and the BBC Murders produced by Otherworld Media (2010); and sound effects coordinator for live variety shows on WFHB (2008-present). Both solo and as one-fourth of the all-Hoosier spoken word quartet Reservoir Dogwoods, Tony has toured all over the Midwest and beyond, most recently in April 2010 to promote his chapbook Little Glove in a Big Hand. He is also the Official Fact Checker of The Encyclopedia Show (Indianapolis edition); a live color commentator for the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls; a book compositor for Indiana University Press; and CEO of The Same Page literary services.
Pat Conway (Musician) is a percussionist, wind player and composer. He has studied with such noted Master Drummers as Abubakari Lunna-Wumbie, Frisner Augustín, Felipe Garcia Villamil, Alejandro Carvajal and I Ketut Gedé Asnawa. Mr. Conway has traveled to Cuba to research AfroCuban Folklore, holds a MM in Composition from the UMKC Conservatory and was a founding member of newEar. He has performed with the Gillham Park Orchtet, City in Motion, 940 Dance, Snuff Jazz/Wee Snuff, and works with Paul Mesner Puppets, the National Audio Theater Festivals, Kansas City Young Audiences, Traditional Music Society, Mambo DeLeon Orchestra, Brad Cox Ensemble, Peoples Liberation Big Band, Terrestrial Consort, Spoonbender Orchestra, and BCR. He was music director/performer on the UMKC Theater Department’s MFA production of Rita Dove’s The Darker Face of the Earth, and has also traveled to Bali to conduct field research and had his composition Sekar Purwa Pascima read by Kaliungu Kaja Banjar Gamelan, in Denpasar. He currently is director of the Balinese Music & Dance troupe Gamelan Genta Kasturi, who recently premiered a new large scale collaborative work featuring his original compositions entitled “Angels & Demons at Play” at La Esquina through Urban Culture Project and ArtSounds.
Tom Curley (Instructor/Writer and Director, On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog) first entered the world of audio theater while in college: he worked for four years at Hofstra University’s college radio station WVHC, and while there he created 30 episodes of a one hour comedy radio show called Fulton’s Folly. At the time he was heavily influenced by groups such as Monty Python and of course the Firesign Theater. In his junior year of college he went to work for the ABC Radio Network.
Following graduation, Tom worked for WCBS FM for six years, and then transferred over to the CBS television network for the next 30. During his tenure at CBS he worked as an audio engineer on such shows as 60 Minutes, The CBS Morning News, The CBS Evening News, The NFL Today and The Joan Rivers Show. In 1992 he became one of the first “Hyphenate” Director/Technical Directors for CBS News Up To The Minute, helping build a network TV studio that was run by two people. In 2000 he went to work CBS MarketWatch. During this period he went back to Hofstra and created nine episodes of a radio comedy show called A Half Hour Radio Show, which was syndicated nationally. It is currently online for free downloads at www.captclerk.podbean.com. Tom also wrote and produced what can arguablly be called the first full length parody of Star Trek: called Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer, it is also currently available online at www.captclerk.podbean.com.
In 2011 he retired from CBS and is currently consulting for the Wall Street Journal Digital Video Network as well as CBS. His true love and hobby is still audio theater. He has been the truck director for two seasons with the NATF audio workshop, and this marks his first year as playwright anddirector; another hyphenate!
Andrew Davis (Executive Director, The National Audio Theatre Festivals, Inc.) claims the NATF changed Andrew’s life after his first Festival Workshop in 2003. It inspired him to return to college for a master’s degree at Florida State University after where he was encouraged to craft his Communication degree around digital video production, script writing and audio production. Audio Theatre has dominated his life since that first visit and he has never looked back. In 2004, he became the technical director for Curious Echo, a Tallahassee based audio theatre troupe, and served as technical director and co-producer on several live shows. The troupe released its second studio production in 2010.He served as a staff member at the festival for 4 years and as a Board Member before stepping down to be the Executive Director. Andrew is also a member of the Norman Corwin Excellence in Audio Theatre Award Committee. He wants to make sure participants are getting the most out of their time at the festival and making sure the staff has all the resources they need to make this a fun and educational experience for all. Andrew swears audio theater is not an addiction and he can quit any time!
Butch D’Ambrosio (Instructor) has been writing, producing, and making noise for radio theatre since 1991, when he walked into his college radio station as a freshman on the second day of classes and came out commissioned by WRHU-FM to write Halloween sketches for the production classes. His audio play The Pied Paper Towel Roll Piper of Prestonpans placed fourth in the NATF’s 2003 script contest. He also wrote and appears in the satirical short film If Spielberg Made A Snuff Film, which has played at over 20 festivals and even won some awards at a few. In 2009 he began managing and teaching the “Workshop 101” program for the National Audio Theatre Festivals, for new attendees at the week-long workshop. Mr. D’Ambrosio is a member of The Usual Gang of Idiots, having written forMAD Magazine for over 20 years; nine of them successfully. He is also a regular member of the SueMedia SFX team, having recently worked on their production of The Witches of Lublin. When not having one act plays read at local theaters or playing penny stocks, he can be found wondering why we always write these things in the third person.
Kevin Donnelly (Instructor) swears he’s always had a “real” job but began his audio career writing, engineering, editing and producing news, features and commercials for radio stations back in nineteen-diggity-something way back when reel-to-reel tape was used daily. Since then, he’s graduated to all things digital and computer-centric, so he can make sounds of all kinds flow from computers. Occasionally he’s also been seen walking in boxes of gravel in hot pink pumps, making noises with odd pieces of apparently-unrelated junk or standing behind a microphone pretending to be someone he’s not, based on whatever script a desperate or foolish director has handed him. One even typecast him as a jackass. Seriously. In real life he works in both I.T. and marketing in parallel time lines. He can alternately be seen lashing his minions, fixing broken stuff, relating frequent Eeyorisms, hauling people back from the precipice of digital tragedy, spreading bons mots about the latest goings on and/or compelling simply the best people to attend only the coolest parties. In his copious spare time, he’s a recovering trainer and looks forward to sharing miscellany and esoterica of all kinds, particularly about audio theatre topics. Don’t ask him about the eye patch or the hook, though. Seriously.
Steve Donofrio (Instructor), a.k.a. “the Radio Ranger,” has been on the air at KOPN 89.5 FM Columbia, Missouri for the last 25 years hosting a weekly three hour music and info-tainment show featuring the flora and fauna of the State of Missouri and a mix of Americana music. He has been a freelance audio engineer and technical consultant for the past 30 years. For ten years he served as Technical Coordinator for the Midwest Radio Theatre Workshop and was its Executive Director for three more years. Steve is a founding Board Member and the current President of the National Audio Theatre Festivals Board, as well as a member of the Norman Corwin Award Committee. Over the course of the past ten years he has served many roles for NATF from Executive Producer and Director to Board Treasurer. Steve has worked on numerous musical CD projects as both a producer and engineer; he was also the Satellite Coordinator for the national live broadcasts (over NPR) of the Grateful Dead’s New Year’s Eve Shows: 1983/1984, 1984/1985, and 1985/1986, and the Summer Solstice SEVA Benefit concert in Toronto, Canada in June of 1984. Steve also served on the Missouri Arts Council’s Citizen Advisory Media Panel from 1995 through 1997. He currently works for the Columbia Public Library as a public service and technical support specialist.
Richard Fish (Instructor/Guest Performer) has worked in audio theatre since 1970. “I’m basically an actor,” he says with a laugh, “who has learned to do everything else in order to get the chance to act!” He helped found WFHB Community Radio in Bloomington, Indiana, and has hosted the station’s radio theatre program since the station went on the air in 1993. Richard has performed and taught at the Workshop since the 1980s, and was one of the founding Board Members of NATF. He credits the Workshop for his wonderful luck in being able to work with the leading figures in audio theatre from coast to coast, including The Firesign Theatre, Tom Lopez, and the legendary grand master of the art, Norman Corwin. Rich serves on the Norman Corwin Award Committee, and presented the inaugural Award to Norman on May 2, 2010. As an actor, he’s done over 100 voices and characters, and has costarred with the Firesign Theatre’s David Ossman and Phil Proctor, Marina Sirtis, Gary Sandy, Melinda Peterson, Harry Anderson, Claudia Christian, Ferde Grofe, and Traci Lords, among others.
As a writer, Richard is the only person with whom Norman Corwin ever collaborated with on radio scripts, and he has recently written a novel. As an engineer, he has recorded every kind of music from folk and punk to full orchestras, as well as audio theatre in live performances, studio productions, and on-location. As a journalist, he edits and voices a weekly radio column on scams and swindles. He voices audiobooks, teaches a course in Modern Audio Theatre for Ivy Tech Community College, and in his spare time, with other WFHB volunteers, he helps write, direct and perform in live radio variety shows four times a year.
Dwight Frizzell (Musical Director) is an internationally recognized artist whose work combing media, performance, installation, music, and writing is founded on his decades of experience in audio theatre. Collaborative in nature, his research-intensive projects bridge the fine and performing arts.The Irish Wilderness, a phantasmic meditation on a community of Irish Catholics in Civil War-era Missouri, was produced by the National Audio Theatre Festivals and received a Golden Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Center of the World, featuring Frizzell with his boyhood neighbor, Harry Truman, was part of the Peabody-awarded “Lost and Found Sound” series broadcast on National Public Radio. His work with composer Michael Henry includes Sonic Force: Thunderbolt Threnody for A10 Warthog attack planes, military band, SFX squadron, and Jet Exhaust Choir; and the operatic drama Darwin. Both were produced by the National Audio Theatre Festivals. Frizzell teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. His radio show, From Ark to Microchip, is broadcast/webcast every Wednesday at 12:30pm on KKFI 90.1 Kansas City Community Radio (http://www.kkfi.org). Frizzell performs regularly with the BCR (Black Crack Revue) band. He is also a founding member of the newEar contemporary chamber ensemble.
Henry Howard (Session Recording; AV Support; Marti Operator) has been recording, editing and producing spoken word content for corporate communications, training, podcasting, and education for over 25 years. He also works as a stringer and location recordist for a number of national producers and programs. Henry has worked under Himan Brown (CBS Mystery Theatre) and Vanessa Whitburn (BBC), and was a founding director for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company (ARTC) where he produced many titles. He created the audio content for The Moonlit Road, a collection of southern ghost stories, and edited and mixed The Mad Planet for the NPR 2000X series. Henry has served on the board of directors of NATF, ARTC, has advised The Philco Radio Players, Crossroads: the Radio Program, and taught workshops on sound effects and radio drama production. He maintains the audiotheater.com web site.
Mike Knopka (Metromobile – On Site Recording Truck) is currently the President of ThunderTone Audio, a company specializing in audio production, acoustical design, and engineering. He provides his audio services on a freelance basis for Metro Mobile where he has engineered may remote recordings and live broadcasts for clients such as WXRT, WFMT, “PBS’ “Soundstage”, and The National Audio Theatre Festivals. Mike’s Metro Mobile credits include; The Rolling Stones, The Pretenders, Ringo Starr, Lyle Lovett, Amee Mann, Niel Finn, Blues Traveller, Wilco, Brian May, Dave Matthews, The Patti Smith Group, Dave Brubeck, and many, many more.http://www.mikekonopka.com
Robin Miles (Instructor/Guest Director, September/September) has narrated over 130 audio books and is a multiple award Earphones and Audie Award winner for her work on such titles as Half of a Yellow Sun; The Pirate’s Daughter; Brother, I’m Dying; and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. She is a regular narrator for several different commercial audiobook producers, and in addition to fiction, autobiography, sociology and children’s titles, Robin has recorded an exhibit for the Museum of Natural History in NYC, led sexual harassment training on the Internet, imparted New York’s legal codes for disabled lawyers, and she continues to provide dubbing and dialogue for dozens of feature films and television shows including The Last Days of Disco, Primary Colors, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, New York Undercover, National Geographic’s Tales from the Wild, All My Children, and One Life to Live. Robin’s roles on Broadway and around the country reflect her range and classical background (Shakespeare, Moliere, Shaw, Euripides, and Brecht), and include several premieres and recent contemporary works as well. She is a member of the Audiobook Publishers Assoc. and VASTA, Asst. Professor in the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theater, and holds a B.A. in Theater Studies from Yale University, an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, and a certificate from the British American Drama Academy in England. This marks her second consecutive year as instructor at the NATF ATW, and her first year as a director.
Kerby Mitchell (On Site Recording Engineer) is an Audio Engineer working in and around Columbia, Missouri. He interned at Pete Szkloka Music Productions in Columbia, and is interested in sound design for video games and film, and operates Humble Pie Recording Services in Columbia. This is his seventh year working as an engineering assistant for the Audio Theatre Workshop.
David Ossman (Instructor/Guest Performer): David’s radio career stretches from the infancy of FM in the late 1950’s through free-form radio in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ‘70s to a fifty-year career in writing and production for audio media, stage and film. A pioneer public broadcaster in New York and Los Angeles, Ossman chronicled the poetry scene with a radio series, “The Sullen Art,” later a book (Corinth 1963) and dozens of literature, music and drama programs, including biographical portraits of Bertold Brecht, e. e. cummings and Jean Cocteau.
With The Firesign Theatre, he created a string of improvised live comedy broadcasts in Los Angeles (1969-1972), satiric pieces for NPR’s news programs, including “Campaign Chronicle” (1980) and “All Things Firesign” (2002-3). He produced “Fools in Space” for XM Satellite Radio which won the Gold Medal for Comedy programs at the New York Festivals in 2002. Ossman’s forty-year collaboration with the Firesign Theatre, a quartet of comic writer/performers for radio, audio, stage and film, has resulted in a unique catalogue of more than 20 albums on LP and CD. Firesign’s innovative use of recording technology inspired a generation of audio producers and has garnered three Grammy nominations.
In the early 1980’s, Ossman created and hosted the Peabody-Award winning series, “The Sunday Show,” a five-hour arts magazine for National Public Radio. He went to WGBH, Boston in 1985, to teach radio skills to science journalists in the Macy Science Fellowship, while also working on the final season of The Spider’s Web, the NEH-funded radio theatre series of American classics. He stayed on at WGBH to produce an NEA-funded series of major plays in collaboration with the American Repertory Theatre, including “Orchids in the Moonlight” by Carlos Fuentes and “Jaques and His Master” by Milan Kundera. He became host of “Radio Movies,” a long-form radio theatre program piloted for national release with his then co-producer and future wife, Judith Walcutt.
Melinda Peterson (Instructor/Guest Performer): After 20 years as a professional actor, Melinda was introduced to audio theatre in 1990 when she played all 17 of the female roles in Proctor & Bergman’s Power which aired on NPR as a regular segment of John Hockenberry’s HEAT. She still wonders why she wasted so many years in make-up. Since that time she has contributed voices to NPR Playhouse productions, worked with all-star casts on We Hold These Truths and Empire of the Air for Other World Media, performed with The Firesign Theatre on The Great InternetBroadcast for the Toyota Comedy Festival in New York and traveled several times to Dublin to participate in Crazy Dog Audio productions for RTE, Ireland’s public radio service. She is most proud to be Norman Corwin’s very favorite Lucretia Borgia in The Plot to Overthrow Christmas and most recently lead the cast of The BBC Murders as Agatha Christie. Melinda has been a member of Los Angeles’ classical stage ensemble The Antaeus Company since 1991 and lives in LA with her darling husband, Phil Proctor, and her 3 even more darling cats.
Peter Pollack (Instructor, Workshop 101) got his start in (air quotes) “radio theatre” during the late ‘90s when someone at the thea-tre company (probably him) said “we should do a show like this…!” At the time, he believed that the for-mat was a rare and unusual approach to staged performance. He was wrong, and soon discovered that not only were lots of other folks doing such things on a regular basis, they were doing it in his own back yard (continentally speaking). Since attending his first NATF workshop in 2001-ish, he has had a regular gig directing (and doing occasional acting and production work on) Kids Corner — a syndicated children’s radio show that certainly counts as audio theatre in every way that matters. In his spare time, he writes for a magazine read only by orthopaedic surgeons and tends to his parentheses.
Brian Price (Instructor/Writer, September/September) has been writing, producing and directing audio theater for close to three decades. Mostly recently he’s worked with Native Voices At the Autry, Grist Mill Productions, and always helps write and produce the annual live Mark Time Science Fiction Audio Awards show in Minneapolis. His scripts have been performed in China, Serbia, and across the country. He is a founding partner with Great Northern Audio and a founding member of NATF. He presently lives in Indianapolis with his wife and daughter.
Don Priest (Instructor/Live Sound Effects Crew): Don (Choctaw) recently retired from Fresno State University in California where he taught video and audio production for 25 years. During that time he won numerous production awards and in 2005 was named the Outstanding Media Professor in the California State University system. Don first attended NATF in 2007 as part of the Native Voices contingent and was “seriously bitten” by the audio theater bug. Since then he has produced, directed, acted, and served on the live sound effects team for a number of audio dramas, including the Native Voices production of Super Indian. In his “spare time” he serves as the general manager of independent radio station KFSR in Fresno, where he hosts two weekly music shows. And since his retirement from the university, has taken on the role of Project Manager for the local public access TV channel.
Phil Proctor (Instructor/Guest Performer) made radio history in 1966 when he united with Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, and David Ossman on Bergman’s “Radio Free Oz” radio program in Los Angeles to create one of the greatest ensembles in comedy history, The Firesign Theatre. Phil’s 45 year history with the group, which was recently inducted into the Library of Congress’ historical archives includes over 25 commercial albums, box sets, and special re-issues; albums with Firesign co-founder Peter Bergman; programs on KPFK, National Public Radio, and XM Sirius Satellite Radio; movies including Zachariah and J-Men Forever; television specials; and most recently, live performances of classic and original material. Phil is also an award-winning actor, singer, writer, and producer, has played on Broadway, at the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, the Theatre at Boston Court, is a member of L.A.’s Antaeus Theatre, has voiced Pixar and Disney animated features, scores of interactive games, played Howard on the Emmy-winning series Rugrats, was the announcer for 3 years on the Big Brother reality show, and has voiced dozens of audio theatre productions outside of the Firesigns with Norman Corwin, Yuri Rasovsky (most recently The Mark of Zorro), Crazy Dog Audio in Ireland, Great Northern Audio, and the audio drama portion of the International Mystery Writers Festival in Owensboro, KY where he and wife, Melinda Peterson, were made Kentucky Colonels! You can find Phil’s news and views at his website, planetproctor.com. Phil has attended the Workshop in previous years, and we are delighted to have him – or as Firesign fans would say, “Someone Like Him”…back again!
Barbara Rosenblat(Instructor/Guest Performer) is a New York actress/singer with numerous performance credits both here and in the U.K. She is also one of the most sought after and beloved narrators of audio books in the country. Her extraordinary range of accents and characterizations in a distinguished body of work (more than 400 titles to date) has earned her 8 coveted Audie Awards from the Audio Publishers Association; Barbara has won more of them than any female narrator. The industry watchdog publication, Audiofile Magazine has named her one of their ‘Golden Voices’ and a ‘Voice of the Twentieth Century’. She has also won well over 40 “Golden Earphone Awards” for superior recordings. In the UK, Barbara has appeared in London’s West End theatre, worked for the BBC, British film and television and performed in two highly regarded shows at the Edinburgh Festival. On Broadway, she created the role of ‘Mrs. Medlock’ is the Tony Award winning musical The Secret Garden, and also served as production dialect coach for the Broadway run and the subsequent national tour. She also appeared in the critically acclaimed revival of Eric Bogosian’s dark comedy Talk Radio starring Liev Schreiber and off B’way as the all singing, all dancing Gertrude Stein in the new musical 27 Rue de Fleurus at Urban Stages. On TV, she has appeared on Law and Order SVU andGuiding Light.
Billboard Magazine has said that Barbara Rosenblat “is spoken of with the same reverence and affection that the music industry reserves for Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.” The extraordinary range of material that Barbara has voiced over the years led one critic to say, “Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film.”
David Shinn (Instructor; Master Engineer) of SueMedia Productions is an award-winning sound designer/engineer and foley (SFX) artist for stage and studio productions. He also specializes in Studio Design and Audio Recording, Multi-track Mixing, and Editing. . Prior to his move to New York, he was the producer and host of The Voice of the Imagination radio variety program on station KMUD. From 1998 until 2006 he co-produced the nationally syndicated Radio Works series which was heard on more than 70 stations coast-to-coast. David has also served as the NATF’s Program Chair for the 2002 and 2003 Audio Theatre Workshops and has been NATF’s Technical Coordinator since 2003. In 2005 and 2006 he worked as Sound Effects Director and Recorded Effects producer for the ATW, and has been Show Caller for the subsequent live shows.
David’s work as a sound designer and sound effects performer has been heard through productions with SueMedia, Seeing Ear Theatre, the Hollywood Theatre of the Ear, Quicksilver Radio Theatre, USA Productions, Movies for the Ears, Play it by Ear Productions, and at The Museum of Television and Radio in New York. David’s most recent project, The Witches of Lublin is a 2012 3-time Audie Finalist. In 2011 David was an Audie Finalist for William’s Leap For Freedom and 2010 he was part of the Blackstone team that won an Audie for The Black Mask. The Longest Night: A Personal History of Pan Am 103 which he produced for Midsummer Sound Company in 2009 was a 2010 Audie Finalist. In 2009 he was the master recording and mixing engineer for the Audie Nominated Jack’s Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac; he also received a AudioFile Earphones Award for the Edges narrated by Tovah Feldshuh in 2008. From 1998 until 2006 he co-produced the nationally syndicated Radio Works series heard on more than 70 stations coast-to-coast.
Eric Somers(Instructor) is Professor of Design and Communication at Dutchess Community College of the State University of New York, where he served as Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts for 15 years. He began his career as a fine arts television producer which triggered a life long interest in the relationship of sound to image. He currently specializes in using algorithmic music composition techniques to design sonic environments for theatre, dance, film and art installations.
Professor Somers teaches courses in sound recording, electronic music, photography and digital media production at SUNY Dutchess and runs The Sandbook Studio, which specializes in high definition clas-sical music sound recording, sound design for media, and high end digital photographic services for the fine arts. Mr. Somers received BA and MA degrees in Radio-TV-Film from Michigan State University with minors in music and mathematical logic. He also has taken master classes in electro-acoustic com-position from Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio. He has served as Chair of the New York section of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), President of the International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD), and Senior Newsletter Editor for the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the US (SEAMUS).
Professor Somers has published and lectured widely throughout the world including master classes at the Juilliard School (NYC), The University of Glasgow (Scotland), University of Illinois (Champaign- Urbana), The Royal Swedish Academy of Music (Stockholm), Georgia Tech (Atlanta), MIT (Boston), The Advanced Telecommunications Research institute (Kyoto, Japan), and many other venues.
Ellen Stewart (Treasurer, The National Audio Theatre Festivals, Inc./Instructor) is a resident of the foothills of California, and a professor emeritus of theatre and speech at Columbia College in California where she continues to teach audio drama. For more than thirty years, she produced and directed plays for her college and two theatre companies for which she served as Artistic Director. For the past ten years she has operated an entertainment company, Murder for Hire, multi-tasking as playwright, director and actor. An improviser, she was a member of the Bay Area Theatre Sports Sunday Night Players in San Francisco for several years. A participant with NATF since 2001, performing in close to a dozen original works, she has directed two script contest winners (Histories in 2007 and Where Eagles Fly in 2008), assistant directed Dwight Frizzell’s audio operaDarwin in 2009, and co-produced the 2011 live ATW show.
Julia Thro (Musician) has performed as guitarist in the Kansas City area since 1982. She worked with the rock bands Millard Fillmore, One of Us, the Joey Skidmore Band and most recently, Venus Envy. Beginning in nineties, she joined the worldbeat scene playing West African pop music with Afrique, reggae with the Messengers, and Afro-Nuclear Funk Swing Reggae Tango music with the Black Crack Revue (BCR). An ongoing interest in Arab music led her to taking up Turkish lute with the Gerald Trimble Ensemble and Goat’s Ear. She also composes and arranges music for many situations, including the multi-media shows for LightWild architectural displays and the live performances at the National Audio Theatre Festival’s yearly Audio Theatre Workshop.
Judith Walcutt (Instructor/Guest Performer): is the founder and CEO of Otherworld Media, an internationally acclaimed production company since 1981. She has been a professional in the broadcast and communications field for over thirty years. As a writer, director, and producer, she has generated hundreds of hours of programming for radio, theatre, television, and live festivals. Her producing credits include ”The Spider’s Web” at WGBH, Boston, hosted by Julie Harris and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The weekly radio drama series for young people aired classics of American literature, and was the last of its kind for public radio. Her first large-scale production for “The Web,” The Red Badge of Courage, a collaboration with her future husband, David Ossman, became the pilot for WGBH’s “Radio Movies” in 1986 in which the team applied the techniques of on-location recording, as well as filmic sound design and musical scoring to “radio drama,” moving the art form out of its past and into its future.
She has also acted as Executive Producer and Line Producer of Otherworld’s ground-breaking, all-digital production of The War of the Worlds (a Grammy-nominee in 1988); the historic reimagining ofNorman Corwin’s We Hold These Truths (1991) which honored the 200th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights; The Door in the Wall starring Colleen Dewhurst; and a co-production with WETA, the 1992 epic Empire of the Air which authentically recreated the sounds, voices and programs of the first 50 years of U. S. broadcasting (and was celebrated by the New York International Radio Festivals with a Gold Medal); and the only complete audio adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in an all-star production celebrating the book’s centennial and introduced by Ray Bradbury (winner of a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal Award).
As line-producer-director of the Live Radio Theatre productions for the 2007 and 2008 International Mystery Writers Festivals in Owensboro, Kentucky, she staged original plays based on stories by Ray Bradbury and Mary Higgins Clark, Rupert Holmes’ “Remember WENN” television series, Stuart Kaminsky, Sam Bobrick, and several adaptations for stage of full-length plays and motion pictures. In 2009, Judith produced and co-adapted with her husband David Ossman an entirely new production of four virtually unknown BBC radio mysteries by Agatha Christie, written for the BBC between 1936 and 1954. The final performance in Owensboro were broadcast live as part of the series, “Discovering New Mysteries,” hosted by Angela Lansbury, produced by Otherworld Media. Her long-time search for a theatrical expression of the audio medium led her to use stage techniques from Broadway and sound-design from Hollywood, along with glamorou costuming and original “period” music to take Christie’s melodramas into the realm of Hitchcock’s thrillers.
Marc Weiner (Instructor/Engineer): Marc’s unnatural relationship with sound began in the 50’s with a 78 rpm record player and continues to this day with iPods, Zooms and God knows what else. With almost fifty years of experience in professional audio and broadcasting, mostly in technical and production areas of radio and television at CBS in New York, Marc has matured and grown not nearly as much as the industry has. Since his retirement almost ten years ago, Marc has volunteered a large chunk of his time to mentoring current and former members of Hofstra University’s student run radio station, WRHU, (his alma mater…. (not the college, the radio station!)) as well as serving as its de facto visionary and IT manager. These activities, as well as his time with NATF and other audio diversions, serve both to keep his skills up to date and himself out of trouble. He has recently come to realize that human beings are the worst thing that ever happened to planet Earth.
Sue Zizza (President, The National Audio Theatre Festivals, Inc./Instructor/Show Caller)is the owner of SueMedia Productions, a full service audio production company. She is an audio producer, director, writer, and sound designer.
For more than 20 years she has produced award winning audio drama for public radio and audiobooks. This year she is a 3-time Audie Finalist for “The Witches of Lublin” (Distinguished Achievement in Production, Best Original, Best Packaging) which has received numerous others awards including a Gracie (Best Director), a Gabriel, and an Earphones Award. In 2012, Sue also created the ‘illuminated style’ of audiobooks for the novel Swordspoint, which is received an Earphones Award and is featured as part of Neil Gaiman Presents at Audible.com. In 2011 Sue was an Audie Finalist for William’s Leap For Freedom and 2010 she was part of the Blackstone team that won an Audie for The Black Mask Audio Magazine. 2009 saw her receive an Audie Finalist nomination forJack’s Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac.
Sue’s sound clients have also included: USA Networks/SciFi Channel, The New Victory Theater – Broadway, USA Productions, Movies for the Ears, and The Museum of TV and Radio – NYC. Additionally from 1996 – 2007 she served as the Executive Director of the National Audio Theatre Festivals – an audio arts training organization. When she’s not producing and directing, Sue specializes in manual SFX (Foley) effects for audio productions, film, television and the stage. Sue also teaches audio arts and sound production at New York University’s Kanbar Institute for Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts. She has been a regular presenter at national audio conferences like the Audio Engineering Society (AES) where she demonstrates sound effects recording and performance techniques. Her work has been honored by The Audies, The Gabriel’s, The International Festival of New York, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and the Communicator Awards.