My name is Julia and I am the newest addition to the Drama Merchant team. I am here to witness and write to share with you my experiences. You will hear from me often, with the latest news about what is in the works, and insights of what it means to be a creative in today’s world.
I am a creative mind, always have been, always will be. I read like my soul is endlessly hungry, I write about imaginary worlds and people, and I write about my actual experiences in life, professional or personal. But my creativity doesn’t stop there: I paint, I build, I even sing in the shower, but that is not my forte. And I am also an actress, by aspiration and by training.
And recently, the Drama Merchant and I have found ourselves working on the same project. Being on set for a blockbuster movie can be nerve-wrecking. Even if (or especially because) we both are what is called in the industry as “supporting artists” not “featured artists”. A lot of things are happening and they happen intensely fast and incredibly slow at the same time. Meeting someone like-minded like Nathan on set was a relief. We share the same sense of humor and similar views on the world. And so it was particularly easy to make friends with him. We talked a lot, in between takes of course, we are after all professional before all else. And in those conversations, we shared our experiences in the industry. Recently, apart from that big movie, I have not had any luck and it has affected my confidence. On the contrary, he has never been busier, juggling with his independent theatre company and many projects that I will mention soon.
Eventually, he said to me he was feeling so overwhelmed, with so many deadlines for so many different projects, that he might unfortunately have to drop his website newsletter and blog. Now, I write a personal blog and I know how important it is. But he actually has this working machine and I thought maybe I could lay a hand. I write. Amongst many other things, that’s what I do. And I need the exercise to get me out of my block. I thought that was just perfect. I could write for him, and he would be able to focus his attention to the rest of his business.
I am now going to focus about one of his projects in particular, the Radioplay Hour Live - Pinocchio. Let me tell you all about it, and hopefully, your curiosity will be as picked as mine was when he first mentioned it to me.
After a difficult year, we all need a little bit of cheering up and what better time to do so than Christmas? Audiences both young and old will be captivated with The Drama Merchant’s presentation of this family classic. They will also be able to view the ‘Christmas at Bankfoot House’ exhibition and mingle with the cast prior to the show. Christmas is usually a time where adults reminisce the most about their fond childhood memories and kids get to create their own. It is a cheerful time of the year, and reconnecting with old memories only enforces the nostalgia of happy and simpler times.
In that same sense, Pinocchio, whether it be the 1883 book from Carlo Collodi, the many different movie adaptations (do I even need to mention the unforgettable 1940 Disney animated film?) or the numerous live theatre adaptations, make our inner child come out and play for a while. It is about magic and wonder, dreams and hopes, a wooden-hearted toy coming to life to make his maker become what he had always dreamed of, a father. The whole show will be interactive and the audience may even join in the singing to their heart’s content, if they do so wish.
The play connects multiple bridges, the one just mentioned, of Christmas time and childhood cheer, but also one between The Radioplay Hour and Behind The Wireless. Both are programs produced by The Drama Merchant, AKA Nathan Schulz, and promote the performing arts in unusual ways.
The Radioplay Hour is a show that re-introduces the world to old time radio-drama and audio storytelling. Throughout the years, Nathan expanded this concept to live performances, but as Covid-19 shifted the world’s focus, so has The Radioplay Hour’s. In times of restrictions, isolation and quarantine, Nathan took the show back to its roots and restored its core concept: the radio-drama being broadcasted to listeners in their homes.
You can listen to those shows On the Wireless.
Behind The Wireless is a Storytelling and Sound effect workshop that was put on hold since Covid hit Australia. Once again, The Drama Merchant adapted the workshop, turning it into a youtube channel in which subscribers learn how to make and record sound effects out of everyday household items. As explained by Nathan on his website, music and dialogue alone are not enough to deliver good storytelling, sound effects are paramount to convey the atmosphere of a play or book and help the listeners immerse themselves into the world that is being read to them.
The Drama Merchant has found a way of making storytelling interesting and interactive, especially in those isolated Covid days, using props and accessories in old-time radio fashion, to create background and atmospheric noise.
Link to Behind the Wireless
But back to The Radioplay Hour Live - Pinocchio. The show is a myriad of things. It is a well-known classic, ideal for Christmas. It is an interactive experience that presents its audience with the concept of radio-dramas from the 1920s, in which they can participate and learn. It is performed live at the Bankfoot House, which is a beautiful heritage listed building on the Sunshine Coast.
In performing there, we are also educating the public to the value and significance of historic heritage, and providing opportunities to stimulate understanding and appreciation of the region’s cultural heritage.
It is a very well thought-of project and I for one cannot wait to go see it. Nathan’s thought process and goal for this, as well as for all his projects as The Drama Merchant, is to be a champion for creativity, education and collaboration. As you will be able to witness, The Radioplay Hour Live - Pinocchio delivers that, and much more.
He offers a very unique theatre experience, that is not currently provided by any other in the whole of Queensland. The choice of locale provides opportunities to present the Bankfoot House in a different context and setting.
All performances selected for the Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct are in keeping with the era of the property such as Little Women (1868) aimed to be performed for Mothers Day 2021, Pinocchio (1883) and A Christmas Carol (1843), allowing audiences to immerse themselves in literature of the Victorian era and experience live art performances in a heritage setting.
The Radioplay Hour allows Nathan to bring storytelling to Bankfoot House in a new but recognisable medium, making it, in my opinion, one of the highlights of 2020. So don’t miss out! The Radioplay Hour Live - Pinocchio will be fast sold out as I am sure many will want to end the year with a bang!
Written by Julia Mesrobian