BPA podcasts a hit during pandemic

Virtual programming supplements in-person events

Voice actors prepare to record one of BPA's podcasts. Courtesy Photo

With many folks still quarantining due to COVID-19, Bainbridge Performing Arts will continue to provide free weekly podcasts from local performers and directors through Bainbridge Pod Accomplice.

The podcast launched in September to fill the void of in-person programming halted by the coronavirus. Podcasts range from new performances of classical radio plays, adaptations of beloved works and music from the Bainbridge Symphony orchestra. The length of each podcast ranges from about 30 minutes to an hour.

BPA creative coordinator Miranda Feldtman said the idea was conceived out of the organization’s original Bainbridge Stay-at-Home Companion, which debuted shortly after the shelter-in-place orders went into effect last spring.

“The idea was originally pitched as a way to bring various nonprofit organizations in our community together,” Feldtman said. “We also collaborated with local musicians, who were incredibly generous in allowing us to feature them.”

Feldtman pointed out BPA’s obligation to continue finding creative ways to serve their audience during a time when being flexible is necessary to survive.

“We wanted to find a way to keep our community of artists, directors and backstage magic-makers engaged until it is safe to meet again,” she said. “We also wanted to find a way to reach our patrons, who are such an essential part of the performing arts experience.”

One big part of the community equation is donations BPA has continually been receiving.

“Our continuing operations wouldn’t be possible without the support of patrons,” she said. “Seeing donations come in this year, with our physical facilities closed, has been completely galvanizing.”

Interested participants don’t have to worry about not being good enough as BPA’s audition process doesn’t turn down anyone, Feldtman said. She added preference is given to actors who have yet to appear in a podcast.

“We are always accepting auditions, so if you are out there and are interested, please do reach out,” Feldtman said.

So far, there have been nine podcasts, including “Selections From Hands Up, Don’t Shoot — A Conversation with Jesse Smith,” “The War of the Worlds” and “The Work of Jon Brenner: A Hidden Life That’s Always Been Right Out There.”

In honor of Veterans Day, the episode premiering Friday features retired U.S. Army Capt. Larry Kerr reading a selection of original poems, many from his book “Captain Billy and the Lunatic.” More than 45 years after the end of the Vietnam War, Kerr’s words summon a poignant remembrance of those who gave their lives.

On Nov. 20, the new podcast will be the premier of Paul Lewis’ original work The Bright Days of Youth. In pre-World War II America, 25-year-old Ruby takes her much younger, recently orphaned half-brother Mike on a cross-country train to the 1940 World’s Fair, introducing him to the famous actor who played Superman.

On Nov. 27 BPA’s Chamber Music Series, “Comfy at Home,” will be performed. The symphony has teamed up in small groupings to perform masterworks by Haydn, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

Starting in December, Feldtman said to stay tuned for holiday-themed programming. In terms of planning for future in-person events, she said BPA will “as soon as it is safe to do so.”

“We have marked this our season of hope and change, and it is our continuing hope that we will be able to return to live performances soon — but in the meantime, we have a plan to continue to engage with our community in a safe and remote way for as long as it is necessary to do so,” she said.

New episodes premiere every Friday and listeners can tune in for current or previous episodes on their favorite podcast app or at BainbridgePerformingArts.org.

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