Plays are usually meant to be seen, but at the non-profit LA Theatre Works, their mission is to capture and preserve some of the most important stage plays in the world.
"We have recorded over 500 plays. Everything from Escalus to Shakespeare to the latest show on Broadway," said Producing Director Susan Loewenberg.
Through a program called Setting the Stage for Learning, Loewenberg and her team hope high school teachers can remotely use these radio plays outside the classroom.
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"We have offered teachers throughout the United States and actually all over the world 25 plays, recordings that are relevant to the high school curriculum without charge," Loewenberg said.
And they include shows by some top-name actors.
"A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring the Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg, Romeo and Juliet starring Calista Flockhart," Loewenberg said.
She says hundreds of teachers have already signed up on the LATW website to access the links, which they can then share with their students.
"You read lines on a page, a piece of Shakespearean prose, it’s sometimes very difficult to understand that, but if you have an actor, who is acting out the sense of that line, it gives you a leg up as a student," Loewenberg said.
She feels it encourages students to use their imaginations. The program also offers learning guides with ideas to start discussions and create student-content.
"I think it’s a unique way for teachers to engage their students because I think engaging people in this situation is a challenge," Loewenberg said.
Coronavirus also recently claimed the life of Tony-award winning playwright Terrence McNally. As a tribute, LA Theatre Works is now streaming his play Lips Together, Teeth Apart on its website to anyone for free.