For the Love of Theatre Podcast

For the Love of Theatre Podcast

Image above: Guest host, Brittany Daw, interviewing cast members of St. Jude’s Players’ Red Peppers, Kim Clark, Rhonda Grill, and Sam Wiseman.

Actor and director Olivia Jane Parker talks to Stage Whispers’ Mark Wickett about her role in promoting South Australian community theatre through a podcast.

“I never had the intention of creating this myself”, says Parker, when asked how it all started. “I went to a TASA meeting [Theatre Association of South Australia] where everyone was talking about how to get bums on seats, and how to get more people to volunteer – but I wasn’t hearing ‘what about if you try this?’”

Whilst overseas, Parker had an affiliation with the Bear Pit Theatre in England’s Stratford-upon-Avon, which publishes their own podcast ‘The Bear Essentials’.

“I thought it’d be so great if we had something like this, because whilst that was about their company, it was celebrating their volunteers and encouraging the idea that theatre is accessible to everyone.”

Working alongside director Geoff Brittain on his production of Baskerville at Adelaide’s Arts Theatre in April, he encouraged her to launch the ‘For the Love of Theatre’ podcast, trying out the concept on his show.

“Ok, but how do you make a podcast?” laughs Parker, “I’ve got a laptop; I guess I’ll buy a microphone.”

The podcast celebrates the quality community productions in South Australia, together with their creatives, and enables further connections between all local theatre groups and their audiences. Publishing a new episode approximately weekly, each focuses on a particular show about to open from one of the dozens of community theatre companies in South Australia.

Image (left): Annabel Whitford of the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, together with the podcast's originator, Olivia Jane Parker, at a performance of Angels in America.

Each episode consists of information about the production, interviews with the creative team and the actors – but primarily it’s about those who give so much of their lives behind-the-scenes, and every episode has information on how to get involved in local community theatre.

“I’m more excited to interview the volunteers,” says Parker, “how people fall into theatre is so vast and varied and it’s wonderful to hear them say how they get a sense of fulfillment doing this, or how they found their place.”

The podcast is an opportunity to go beyond the show’s poster, to discuss what it’s about, what is the director’s vision, and who has been involved in putting this together – often giving time to some of the creative team who don’t usually get the attention when promoting a show, for example, those creating music for the show. “I get to celebrate these musicians – I don’t think a lot of people know that it’s often locals composing the soundtracks.”

Parker has always had an interest in theatre, but she says it could be challenging when she tried to get involved as an eager kid out of school, wanting to learn by doing, but not knowing who to talk to (“I couldn’t sweep the stage for free!”). Back then, the theatre companies were full of volunteers, but now some of those companies are challenged with the demographics of their audiences, volunteers, and committees – and need younger people to get involved.

The podcast is designed to be inclusive to those new to theatre, explaining theatrical terms when they come up in the interviews: “What are wings? What’s a farce? If someone is listening and doesn’t know, I don’t want them to feel like they’re left out of the conversation.”

Parker is still learning too: “I was interviewing Jill Bartlett OAM, president of Therry Dramatic Society, who taught me that the term ‘bump-in’ originated here in Adelaide.”

Passionate about local theatre, Parker says it’s essential to our well-being: “studies show that     children who have access to theatre have more hope.” Indeed, she confirms that was vital to her as a nine-year old going through stressful family change. And its role in training professional creatives for the future shouldn’t be underestimated either. “There’s a responsibility on all of us to keep community theatre alive.”

Image: he creative team of 'Moonlight & Magnolias' from the Adelaide Repertory Theatre, during rehearsal.

The ‘For the Love of Theatre’ podcast reaches beyond the city – one episode has the host venturing eighty kilometres up the Expressway to interview the creative team and performers for the newest production from Murray Bridge Players and Singers.

The local theatre companies are starting to realise some additional benefits of the podcast in their own publicity: “why not take sound bites from these episodes and use them in your marketing?”

“I don’t want it to be about me,” she says, adamant that the theatre companies are the stars, “it’s someone from the cast reading the summary of the play, others acting out a skit in character, or contributing a creative quote to frame the episode.”

Image (right): Michael Diakomichalis plays the theremin in rehearsals for 'Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery'

For future episodes, guest hosts will lend their own voices to anchor the podcast content. And that content is not constrained to a specific production: “there’s no reason why we can’t talk about how reviewers write about a performance; how a director chooses their cast; or even how  a company pays its bills!”

Despite the South Australian focus, listeners of the podcast aren’t just locals either: “the audience is definitely people who are already interested in theatre locally, but it’s a lot broader than that: we have international listeners too!” The podcast’s ability to dig deeper into the mechanics of the production process means that there’s something for everyone, wherever you are. “I would listen to a podcast if it’s about a show I’m interested in – I’m learning about the process.”

“Whilst the purpose of the episode is to get bums on seats, to get volunteers, to communicate that theatre is for everybody, it’s not exclusively about the show. We talk about things like how do you balance this life of yours?” she says, acknowledging the massive challenge of juggling a day job, family responsibilities, and extensive time spent creating theatre.

“People ask me how do I do it? We just do. We make it work because we love it.”

‘For the Love of Theatre’ podcast is available through Spotify, Amazon Music, Podchaser, and direct from the Red Circle website ( For more information on how to get involved in South Australian community theatre or the podcast itself, e-mail:

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