(...) is largely an unpaid endeavor manned by amateurs. However, the participants get their satisfaction from providing a service to the community-at-large. They aspire to quality. For a good number of years, some of the most important drama produced in the United States came out of the little theater movement. Eugene O’’Neill started out with the amateur Provincetown Players. As one of the leaders of a little theater ensemble, you still have to indulge personalities to some degree and be sensitive to the needs of volunteers, but you can make many of the demands that professionals expect.
Some of the participants have artistic ambitions, but no desire to enter show business professionally. In 1963, I started my career in the celebrated little theater at Chicago’’s Hull House, from which the city’’s professional theater movement sprung. A decade later, my first radio plays were being produced within a little theater setup, though our station, WNIB, was commercial. By 1976, my National Radio Theater was fully professional and being heard all over the English-speaking world. Your talent pool of volunteers is probably small. Not everyone will comfortably fit the roles available or perform as competently as you would wish. But you do have one advantage. I find that the sincerity and energy of volunteers in performance often exceeds that of professionals and more than compensates for all sorts of faults. Amateurs will sometimes throw themselves into their roles with a gusto that I find immensely stimulating and enjoyable. At this writing, the majority of audio drama in the United States — and at this writing there is a kind of renaissance abroad in the land — is produced by community and little theater operations.
THE WELL-TEMPERED AUDIO DRAMATIST
A Guide to the Production of Audio Plays in Twenty-First Century America
by Yuri Rasovsky