January 27, 2010

Native Radio Theater to end?

The last of the radio plays

Audio theater is the missing link between San Diego, Native Alaskans and Queen's Brian May

By Dave Maass
Currently director of San Diego State University’s College of Theatre, Television and Film, Reinholz has served as Native Radio Theater’s artistic director since 2003. He also directed The Red Road, a one-woman play by Arigon Starr, herself a San Diego alum of Patrick Henry High School. The two plays comprised Native Radio Theater’s 2009 season, which may be the organization’s last.

Funded by the Ford Foundation in partnership with Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles and Native American Public Telecommunications, the radio-play series aims to expose Native American talent to a larger and more rural Native American audience. Since 2006, the group has produced two to three programs per year by artists from a wide range of tribes: Hopi, Navajo, Kickapoo and, of course, Athabascan.
And:Radio theater is still an honored tradition in England, where television programs such as Flight of the Conchords, The League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh were first aired on BBC radio. In the U.S., radio theater is a dying art form. Like many arts nonprofits, Native Radio Theater (www.nativetelecom.org/native_radio_theater) has seen funding dry up in this recession. Reinholz says that if the programs do return in 2010 or 2011, they will be in the form of public-health soap-operas designed to educate impoverished populations.

“They would be radio serials, and once the audience is hooked on the characters, then the health issues become the center of the plotlines,” Reinholz says. “The health issues different communities are dealing with become part of the fabric of the story.”
Comment:  Read the article for more on Raven’s Radio Hour, a production I covered in 2008.

For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

Below:  "Native Radio Theater actors perform the Super Indian radio program."

No comments: