The National Audio Theatre Festival’s 4th annual audio arts show, “HEAR Now,” is returning to Kansas City, Mo., June 9–12. Touted as an “audio version of a film festival,” the four-day show will feature audio dramas, sketches, shows and poetry — both live and taped — in addition to workshops teaching audio drama production and story-telling.
“It’s the only festival of its kind in the U.S. dedicated to the art of recorded and live audio storytelling in all its many genres and forms,” according to Festival Director Cynthia Allen.
On opening day, June 9, the festival opens with a live drama taken from the Shakespeare manuscript, “First Folio: The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” at the Kansas City Public Library’s Park Plaza Branch. Audie Award winning voice actors Dion Graham will play as Othello and Barbara Rosenblat will act as Shylock.
There will also be some recorded Shakespeare performances by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a playing of a recorded Star Wars Shakespeare and historical recordings of Shakespeare featuring the voices of John Gielgud, Paul Robeson and Laurence Olivier.
Special live performances include, “Reading With Your Ears: The Stories We Tell,” on Saturday, June 11, and audiobook live readings by well-known narrators Barbara Rosenblat (“Orange Is The New Black”), Julia Whalen (“Gone Girl” audiobook), Dion Graham (Madame Secretary), Robin Miles (AudioFile Golden Voice), William Dufris (AudioFile Best Narrator) and Robert Fass (multi-Audie Winner).
Workshops for training in audio drama production and storytelling will be led by former NPR anchor Frank Stasio and playwright Howard Craft. The classes will focus on creating a daily podcast of original short fiction written and produced by students.
The events will happen at a variety of locations throughout Kansas City. All of that information can be seen at the HEAR Now Festival website.