THE VENUS RADIO THEATER is about telling authentic, artist-driven stories.
The big entertainment companies have become nothing more than highly profitable mortuaries. They take good ideas, remove them from their vital organs, stuff them with formaldehyde, and present the finished product to the world in a harmless and inoffensive open casket. These morticians would tell you that they are fighting for the interests of the “average viewer.” I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to be referred to as the “average viewer.” In fact, in my experience, humans are surprisingly and endlessly interesting. Yet, the industry by and large treats “interesting” as the outlier in favor of “average.” And as such, the artist is cast aside for the committee, but at VRT, every production artist reigns supreme.
But why is it so important to tell authentic, artist-driven stories? My parents are deaf, and later in life, I would be diagnosed with Bi-Polar 2 disorder.
When I look back on my childhood, I can’t help but think of all the people who wouldn’t talk to my parents, ignored my parents, or abused them because of their disability. I wish I could tell you this isn’t normal behavior, but the truth is, it was. And as a child, I felt helpless. I hoped that I would see a story in the movies that represented my family’s story. Instead, the few times deaf people enter the pop-culture, it’d always be as outsiders and, worse, how they affected “normal” hearing protagonists.
And as I grew older and moved away from Rhode Island to the big city of New York, and I began to make diverse friends, I realized how many other people were waiting to hear their stories and from their perspectives. But also how these amazing artists wanted safe workplace practices and respect. And I set out to create an organization that places the artist first and provides them with the resources they need to tell the story they want.
Due to the advent of smartphones and ubiquitous audio services, the audio theater has come roaring back to life after spending the better half of the last century in deep slumber. We love audio because there’s no limit to our imagination or where we can go. The only thing that limits us is our own will and talents. The Venus Radio Theater stands for excellence in quality and advocating the voices of all its artists.
I am proud to say that two years into this project, we’ve created a community of over one hundred talented artists who believe in this dream. Our initial first season of productions features stories written by PoC, LGBTQI, Female, or Person with Disabilities. Out of the over thirty actors we have employed on various productions, over two-thirds have been either PoC, Women, or LGBTQI. But most importantly, we acknowledge we can do better, and we continuously strive to be better. We are incredibly grateful for all the other wonderful folks in the space that have been a beacon to us as to what we should be striving for.
Specifically, I want to shout out to The Parsnip Ship and its artistic director, Iyvon Edebiri. She and her team have been running an audio theater dedicated to diverse voices for over five years. And we thank them for the great work they do, and everyone should check them out. Also, shout out to the team at Radio Drama Revival. Reading and following folks like Elena Fernández Collins and Wil Williams has led me to discover so many other great audio dramas and be aware of what’s happening in the space.
I am incredibly excited for the future and to be part of this great community.
I hope everyone enjoys the fruits of our labor! Please keep tuning in every month to hear great new audio stories!