Audible has created a $5 million dollar fund for emerging playwrights to create original content to create a series of audiobooks. A dozen plays will be commissioned this year and they will be voiced by one or two narrators.
Audible founder and CEO Donald Katz explained the plan to The New York Times, saying that Audible will be able to bring new, young playwrights to bigger audiences than they might otherwise find, and added, “To celebrate live performance in the theater is one thing, but think of professional sports. There’s the game, but it’s also being projected to millions of other people in a really powerful way.”
Grant recipients will be recommended by an advisory board made up of theater industry insiders: the actress Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”); the award-winning playwrights Lynn Nottage (“Sweat”), Tom Stoppard (“The Coast of Utopia”) and David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”); the directors Trip Cullman (“Six Degrees of Separation”) and Leigh Silverman (“Violet”); and two artistic directors of Off Broadway companies, Oskar Eustis of the Public Theater, and Mimi O’Donnell of Labyrinth Theater Company.
It remains to be seen what the pricing structure will be like for the finished product or if they will be apart of Audible Channels.