Play On Podcast – Inclusivity in Theatre

Image Credit Apple Podcasts

Podcasts are one of the most popular medias nowadays, and almost anyone can listen to or create them. They are good for long road trips, background noise during work or homework, and just fun to listen to in general. This past week, The Siskiyou listened to the first few episodes of the podcast called “Play On” which was created by Next Chapter Podcasts. 

Next Chapter is an independent group that is focused on authentic but original storytelling that will help listeners get into Shakespeare in the modern day. Jeremiah Tittle, founder and CEO of Next Chapter, states “‘Next Chapter Podcasts elevates bold, authentic voices to enlighten and inspire audiences seeking truth and human connection.”’

This past week, The Siskiyou listened to the first few episodes of Play On, a subcategory of the Next Chapter Podcasts. The podcast specifically focuses on combining theatre and the traditional podcast style, to give listeners the experience of live theatre through just listening to the performance. They take classic Shakespearean plays, put them into semi-modern terms, and then have actors read the scripts as if they were performing them on the live stage. 

The first play that Play On modernized and produced was the infamous Scottish Play known as Macbeth. They cast a very inclusive ensemble to play all parts, with people from all walks of life. Instead of presenting the play how it was acted, with men playing all the roles, Play On’s production of Macbeth featured women, men, and even featured three drag queens, Miss Peppermint, Monét X-Change, and Manila Luzon as the witches. 

Many know that modern productions of Shakespearean plays are more inclusive in having women play the female roles, but one of the most astounding and exciting things about this was having the three amazing drag queens play the witches. This is a big difference compared to most productions and it is also a big symbolic step for people of the LGBTQ+ community everywhere. In between episodes of the podcast, there was an interview with the three of them; they discussed about how hard it was to make it as a drag queen in theatre. Directors would turn these talented performers away just because they are drag queens, and dismiss their talent because it doesn’t “fit” the role. With this being a podcast, the only visual is whatever the listener pictures while listening to the podcast, so this gave them the opportunity to be in a play without being judged before they were cast. 

Play On is known for being very inclusive and taking down the stereotypes perpetuated and gatekept in theatre. Their production of Macbeth is one like no other and The Siskiyou cannot wait to listen to the next play!

For those interested, here’s the link to check out this great cast of talented performers.

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