OP Audio Lab (2021) | The Orchard Project

About the OP Audio Lab

After a successful pilot in 2020, the Orchard Project is expanding its ecosystem of support to dramatic audio storytelling. This will provide new opportunities and parallel tracks of opportunity to projects we are already working on. The Audio Lab is not limited to writers for TV and playwrights, but rather it is intended to give any writer who has an interest and idea for an audio project the space and support to cultivate their work.

The lab will offer a select group of writers and teams an opportunity to develop content in a setting where they can accelerate an unproduced project, receive high level support and feedback from leading voices in the field, and network with each other and other industry leaders in a supportive environment all geared towards moving their work forward.

The lab will meet together once a week for group work, have additional panels with industry professionals working in the audio field, and have OP office hours as desired. The virtual weekly meetings tend to take a writers’ room format, where group feedback and comments are encouraged. 

As with our other programs, the Audio Storytelling Lab has its roots in the same theatrical community that has served the Orchard Project’s history, although we welcome applicants of all artistic backgrounds.

The Audio Lab is an idea, pitch, and early development focused lab created for the exploration of an audio idea and the expansion of its writing through group and professional feedback. The selected fellows are individuals who are excited about fostering community with a group of  diverse and passionate peers and committed to the development of their ideas with an appetite for feedback. The fellows are individuals who are curious and committed to understanding and developing their own writing and world-building with the goal of innovative “audio first” dramatic writing. 

This lab looks to engage with new forms of audio storytelling that move beyond the traditional “radio play,” encouraging storytellers to experiment with “audio first” storytelling and utilize other unique storytelling opportunities the format provides. 

The selected fellows are individuals who are chosen through a rigorous outreach and selection process, open to the public. As with all the Orchard Project labs, participants will join with varying degrees of professional experience, but will likely have some history of manifesting their creative work in public before joining the Orchard Project community. (In or out of the Audio sphere) Anyone can apply, there is no age requirement, and applicants can be either represented by an agent or not. To honor the history of the Orchard Project and the constituency it serves, the program will aim to include at least some with a live performance interest or background.

Within this lab, the Orchard Project has supported companies big and small, established and emerging. Each summer, it normally supports more than 100 artists, working on more than 30 separate projects. Past resident companies have included The Royal Court, the Public Theater, Tectonic Theatre Project, The Atlantic Theater Company, Pig Iron, The Rude Mechs, American Repertory Theater, Paines Plough, The TEAM, Mabou Mines, and more. Shows developed at the Orchard Project have later been produced at stages including the Royal Court in London, The Public Theater in New York City, the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, American Repertory Theater at Harvard, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Atlantic Theater Company in New York City, Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, Playwrights Horizons in New York City, The National Theatre in London, Theatre Di Roma in Rome, Philadelphia Live Arts, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many other theaters across America and Europe. Lab-born shows include TONY®-winning 33 Variations on Broadway; The Royal Court’s Posh (also on the West End); Obie-winning The Aliens, The Shipment, and Architecting; and Robert Schenkkan’s TONY®, Steinberg, and Kennedy-winning Broadway hit All the Way.

The 2021 Audio Lab will take place in July/August 2021. Exact dates to be determined.

All of our programming is planned to exist virtually until such time as it is safe for us to convene in Saratoga Springs once again.

The 2021 Audio Lab will take place over 6 weeks, with group lab meetings occurring once a week for 2 hours.

Lab participants will also be able to sign up for individual office hours with OP staff and facilitators as desired.

All Orchard Project Lab participants begin their labs with a group orientation in Orchard Project Creative Vocabulary, outlining both the process and facilitation vocabulary that serves as a foundation for artists and work during their Orchard Project experience. 

  • The Orchard Project Audio Storytelling Lab is free for invited artists. 
    The Orchard Project’s 2021 Audio Storytelling Lab will require each artist to agree to both the Orchard Project’s general participation policies (LINK), and an agreement that, while not providing any royalty or compensation to the Orchard Project, allows projects developed through the program to credit their participation in it. This agreement is will be available for review shortly. 
  • While we generally continue to support work developed in our labs in an ad hoc manner after each lab, the focus of our labs is on the creation of self directed progress, peer and industry community. The Orchard Project, however, does have particular resources that it allocates to work after labs. We know that these resources/options are not an ideal match for all participants, but in certain circumstances, the Orchard Project and artist may continue to work together on the development and advocacy of their work after the program, in which case other arrangements will be made on a case by case basis

Full information about the application process for the 2021 Orchard Project are available here.

In addition to project description and biographical information asked for in our new common application, we are asking applicants to provide:
Your idea for a narrative audio project. This can take the form of a project description, an outline, ortreatment, or simply a paragraph describing your idea.