It is Podcast Month which means that we will be bringing you all the fun shows you should be carrying around in your back pocket on a phone. Today we speak to a new podcast that is recording its first episode next week in London on the 29th at King’s Place (find out more information by clicking here) . The podcast is produced by the creators of the award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. I sat down with Andrew Pugsley to find out more.
Hello Andrew! Can you tell us a little bit about the team behind Society of Strange Podcast?
The Society of Strange started out as an improvised theatrical show, from the creators of the Olivier Award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. We’re a group of 4 actors and 2 technical wizards, and we’re all interested in exploring and developing odd, unusual and strange stories, and pushing the boundaries of improvised performance.
What is the show all about?
We improvise tales of the weird, macabre and uncanny, all based on audience suggestions. Sometimes, funny, sometimes genuinely frightening! It’s inspired by the Weird Tales movement of the 1920s-30s, and you’ll hear homages to disturbing fiction old and new – HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Tales of the Unexpected, The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror and lots more.
So – why did you create the podcast?
Thanks to our brilliant sound designer, Christopher Ash (who improvises incredible music and soundscapes alongside the actors), our show has always had a very strong audio element. It seemed like a natural progression to begin recording shows and tap into a new audience. There are lots of fans of Weird Fiction out there, and we thought we’d see if we could bring our take on the genre to them, and have fun exploring a new medium at the same time.
How did the podcast come about?
We became aware of the brilliant work being done at Kings Place in London (home of the London Podcast Festival) to promote and develop homegrown podcasts here in the UK. They take care of the recording side of things, and just let us concentrate on creating weird content. So we’re very excited to be working with them to produce our live pilot.
How have you decided what your first episode will be about?
We have no idea what it’s about! It’s all 100% improvised. Come along on March 29th to Kings Place and YOU can decide what it’s about!
Do you intend to cut a lot out of your podcasts or want to keep it raw and quite fluid?
We might do a few trims here and there, but the aim will be to reproduce the live, improvised experience.
What advice have you been given by others about starting a podcast?
We haven’t had any. Maybe we should ask for some…
What will make you different to other podcasts out there?
There are plenty of terrific improvised podcasts out there, plenty of radio dramas, and plenty of weird fiction/fantasy/SF shows – but we don’t know of too many that are doing all of that at the same time in front of a live audience. We like to say, if you thought improv was just comedy – think again prepare to be spooked!
What other podcasts are you a fan of and why?
Tough to choose! The first podcast I ever listened to was Radiolab’s wonderful episode on Orson Welles’ Radio version of War of the Worlds, and I’ve loved every episode they’ve put out since. Fellow improv comedian Cariad Lloyd’s terrific Griefcast is a must-listen. Like everyone else I was addicted to Serial and S-Town… I could go on and on…
“We improvise tales of the weird, macabre and uncanny, all based on audience suggestions. Sometimes, funny, sometimes genuinely frightening!” – Andrew, Society of Strange Podcast
What advice would you give for people thinking about starting a podcast?
Hold a seance and ask someone from the other side to appear in it.
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
What are your aims for your podcast in 2018?
It’s early days for us – we’re recording our pilot, putting it out there and then we’ll see what the reaction is! We’d love to build up some buzz and get it out to as many people as we can. In truth we ultimately hope to use the podcast to summon a Shoggoth or seal an interdimensional portal, but those are 2019 goals.
Finally, in three words why should people listen to your show?
Cthulhu fhtagn R’ylyeh.