Audible launches $5m fund to commission and produce new works by emerging playwrights

Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment has launched a $5 million transatlantic theatre grant, furthering its commitment to supporting emerging talent in the creative arts over the coming years.

Working with an advisory board of internationally acclaimed playwrights and actors, including Sir Tom Stoppard and Annette Bening, Audible will dedicate the $5 million fund to commissioning and developing English-language works by emerging playwrights around the world.

The fund will support the creation of one and two-person audio plays driven by language and voice, in keeping with Audible’s core commitment to elevating listening experiences through powerful performances of well-composed words. Audible will solicit submissions for fund grants immediately.

“For two decades, Audible has embraced, celebrated and worked to elevate the artful performance of well-composed words.” said Andy Gaies, Audible’s Chief Content Officer. “Today we extend that commitment to the world of theater, and to talented playwrights whose words ought to be heard in performance by gifted actors.”

Over the next three years, Audible will work with drama schools and theatre professionals as part of its drive to seek out and support the development of emerging and existing theatre talent. At a time when both playwrights and theatre companies increasingly rely upon funding for the arts, this new initiative will offer established and new playwrights the opportunity to be heard by millions of Audible listeners. Beyond support for playwrights, the fund will sustain live and in-studio production of the newly created plays.

“Audible’s innovative proposal to commission original work for one voice or two voices for both stage and recording studio is welcome news in hard times for arts funding, and it puts the writer at the heart of things,” said Sir Tom Stoppard.

“This program will expand how audiences view one-person shows,” said Leigh Silverman. “In a solo show the drama unfolds between the story the character intends to be telling and the actual story he or she is telling.”

The fund is the latest commitment by Audible to the performing arts.  In 2016, Audible partnered with the Donmar Warehouse to create Les Liaisons Dangereuses, read by the cast of the stage play: Elaine Cassidy, Dominic West and Janet McTeer. Last year Audible also presented live comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of its sponsorship of The Pleasance Theatre

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