Monday, January 25, 2010

Seriously-- I can listen to your drama all day long

Hey Theatre Students (and others)!

Grab some headphones! We've found another great database. I really wish I could listen to this one in my car. It's Audio Drama: The LA Theatre Works Collection from Alexander Street Press. I love the databases from Alexander Street-- they're easy to browse, and they have some unique resources you just can't find elsewhere on the 'net.

Here they've partnered with LA Theatre Works to bring you their archive of audio productions. Founded in 1974, LA Theatre Works had been called "the nation's premiere radio theatre company." Their mission is to enrich our cultural life by producing significant works of dramatic literature on audio and assuring the widest public access to these works. You may have heard their series "The Play's the Thing" on public radio. They also provide audio productions to schools and libraries, and work with at-risk youth. You can purchase individual performances on their Web site, but thanks to Audio Drama, we now have access to 181 plays in streaming audio.

These include classics from the Western canon by playwrights like Chekhov, Miller and of course, Shakespeare, and even some original works such as the specially commissioned docudrama The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial. Voice actors include Richard Dreyfuss, Stacy Keach, Jobeth Williams, Kelsey Grammer, Ed Asner, Jennifer Tilly, Marsha Mason and Charles Durning, to name a few. The plays are indexed not only by playwright, director and genre, but also by themes and subjects. You can easily locate resources for your project on race relations, for example (or medical ethics, or Alzheimer's, or the immigrant experience, or Vietnam).

In addition to the plays themselves, Audio Drama includes teaching guides and critical essays that draw connections between the plays and virtually any other discipline, from the social sciences to the hard sciences to law and medicine. It's not just for theatre professors (or their students).

I'm going to enjoy exploring this database more fully in the future! Check it out--it's worth more than a listen.


LATW said...

Hello from L.A. Theatre Works! Thanks for your kind words about our work. I wanted to address your offhand comment about listening in the car. We do offer our programs to libraries; I would encourage you to get in touch with our Audio Sales Manager to get details on stocking our work. We're at (310) 827-0808. Thanks for the write-up. It's nice to hear some end-user comments about the Alexander Street database! MDW

The Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center said...

Thank you! I will bring this up to our director!