The PlayMe Podcast Provides Pocket-Sized Theatre Entertainment

As many now know, I am a HUGE podcast fiend. There honestly isn’t a time when I am not listening to something either chatty, hilarious, sad or downright creepy. I love the combination of stories and information immediately at my fingertips. Truth be told, I get bored with Netflix, and music doesn’t always motivate me while at the gym. Podcasts provide me with entertainment while on the go: cleaning, studying or walking to and from class. ​
Last weekend on my way home for Reading Week, a podcast I was listening to ran an ad for CBC’s “PlayMe” podcast. From what I understood, the “PlayMe” podcast takes original Canadian plays and creates audio entertainment akin to radio dramas from the 1900s. Being a former drama major myself, I decided to check it out. As a university student, I have found less and less time to attend both local, community and global theatre, due to both business and economic constraints; so “PlayMe” provided the perfect solution. 

The CBC describes “PlayMe” as thus: “[the podcast that] is transforming the way we experience theatre by turning contemporary plays into binge-able audio dramas [via] Digital Theatre.” The ultimate goal of this podcast is to celebrate and showcase Canadian theatre talent through both a national and international scale for an “on-the-go” audience. Consisting of an array of short stories, monologues and full-plays, “PlayMe” has something for everyone. 

In an article by the Toronto Star, they note that “PlayMe” was created by Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley back in 2016 and has had almost a million listeners in 90 countries. For Tolley, “PlayMe” brings theatre to those who otherwise wouldn’t be listening while simultaneously democratizing it: “you can have equal access whether you are in Trout Lake or Toronto.”

The episodes I have listened to include the following. My first was What a Young Wife Ought to Know by Hannah Moscovitch. But be advised: it is a very dark drama — so please proceed with caution. The play has been found to be so jarring by some, that when it is performed live, male audience members tend to faint. Set in Ottawa during the 1920s, the play follows the life of Sophie and what she learns about love, sex and marriage. Occurring during the beginning of Canada’s birth control movement, the play provides an honest and raw portrayal about what it meant to be female, fertile and desire family planning.  

The second proved to be much lighter fare. Prairie Nurse by Marie Beath Badian, a comedy that follows two Filipino nurses that move to rural Saskatchewan during the 1960s. Covering cultural differences, love and hockey, it’s a charming story about life. 

Whether you’re a diehard theatre fan like me — or just looking for something new — I think “PlayMe” provides the perfect balance of traditional and modern entertainment.