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About A New Theater of Sound

A New Theater of Sound

As you are reading this, take in this thought: you could be literally anywhere on the globe where an internet signal is available. Think about it. An astounding technological milestone of communication, in this 21st century, has been reached d for what you see and hear through the web can come from nearly anywhere on earth.

A century ago (give or take), an equivalent communication “miracle” was blossoming. Radio. Someone in Kansas could hear the sound of a virtuoso violin being played in Boston. Someone in Pennsylvania could listen to a Broadway play. The cultural life of a nation was transformed by the mysterious and illusive radio wave. And in that transformation, a new art form was born: radio drama.

So here we are – riding on another cultural sea-change prompted by technology – beginning a global conversation about radio drama, about theater whose core is derived from sound. Radio drama, audio theater, theater of the imagination, call it what you will – there is no denying that it is a distinct art form. That notion is the springboard upon which we leap. Where we fly to, where we land is unknown and up to you.

The purpose of this site is to light a fire, to inspire, to start a conversation about this genre. This kind of theater is thriving in some parts of the world. Yet it is moribund in the country that gave birth to it. With what you find here we hope to give some historical perspective of the field as well as shed light on work happening right now here and around the globe. We have a point of view, but we encourage thoughts and ideas in an ongoing dialogue. Such is the heart of the mission of A New Theater of Sound as well as The Greene Space - to have a local conversation with global reverberations.

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Sarah Montague

Sarah Montague is a veteran public radio producer and director of documentary, spoken word, and drama programs, including WNYC’s and Symphony Space’s popular short story series SELECTED SHORTS (which she has produced since 1996).  She is the co-producer (with Arthur Yorinks) and director of “T” is for Tom,” a season of radio plays by Tom Stoppard, for New York Public Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.  Other dramatic works include producing the WNYC series THE RADIO STAGE; the jazz/theatre series JAZZPLAY (with WBGO, Newark); a revival of Archibald Macleish’s classic The Fall of the City (Gracie and New York Radio Festivals award-winner for Best Drama, 2009).  It’s Better with Animals (2008) a dramatic trilogy produced for BBC Radio 4 (with Judith Kampfner) was selected as a Radio Times pick of the day.  Her documentaries include The Fall of the City: Prophetic Classic; They Made America (with Sir Harold Evans); and Titanic: Unsinkable Myth.

Montague is also a cultural feature producer whose work has been heard on Morning Edition, On the Media; Only a Game; and  Studio 360.  She is a regular contributor to WNYC’s online culture site, where she writes on theatre and literature and curates the lecture series “Talk to Me.”   She is a published critic and essayist, and adjunct professor at Eugene Lang College/The New School.  In December 2010 she organized a symposium on contemporary audio drama, OPEN AIR (with Cecilia Rubino), co-produced by Lang and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.  She is currently at work on a documentary series about literature and war.


Arthur Yorinks

Arthur Yorinks has written and directed for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio and is the author of over thirty acclaimed and award-winning books, including the Caldecott Medal winner, Hey, Al.

In his found decades of working in the performing arts, Mr. Yorinks has written and directed numerous plays including So, Sue Me, which premiered at The Kennedy Center and It’s Alive, which premiered at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York. Mr. Yorinks was Philip Glass’s librettist for the operas The Juniper Tree and The Fall of the House of Usher, both of which have been performed all over the world.

In the field of dance, among the several dance companies he collaborated with, Mr. Yorinks helped create a full-length dance/theater piece entitled A Selection with the renowned company Pilobolus. Over the years his eclectic and wide-ranging career has brought him into projects with celebrated artists from Andre Serban to Bill Irwin to the legendary filmmaker Michael Powell, as well as many others.

Compelled by the use of sound in the theater Mr. Yorinks has, for twenty years, experimented with the relationship between audio and live performance. Ten years ago he formalized that passion into a company devoted to exploring, evolving, and redefining audio theater. Since then, Yorinks has written and directed over 30 original audio plays performed in seasons he established at The Kennedy Center, The Henry Street Playhouse, The Jacob Burns Film Center, and The New Victory Theater in New York as well as other venues across the country. This audio work has been broadcast nationwide on XM Satellite Radio. Arthur Yorinks is at the forefront of a quest to redefine audio theater and create and produce this genre of theater for the 21st century as both a live theatrical experience as well as a recorded and broadcast medium.

Mr. Yorinks, in addition to originating A New Theater of Sound in collaboration with The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, consults for New York Public Radio and runs the company he founded, The Yorinks Theater Group.