Pandemic spawns entertaining podcast series



TREMONT — Barn Arts, a nonprofit performing arts organization in Bass Harbor village, earlier this month released its latest episode of “BarnWaves.” The free podcast’s most recent segment, “Escape to Rockstonia,” features New York-based performers Maki Borden and Wes Zurick and local artists.

Last March, through Barn Arts, Borden and Zurick came up to Mount Desert Island, where they worked with Trenton Elementary School children on a performance art project. The COVID-19 virus’s emergence threw a monkey wrench in the residency. The visiting artists originally had planned to stay for just two weeks, but that plan abruptly changed. They wound up staying for seven weeks in Maine and collaborating with Barn Arts Artistic Director Andrew Simon and others to create the podcast.

“Maki and Wes came up in March and we were working with students at the Trenton School on a new project,” said Simon. “They were here when the schools closed and New York became the epicenter of the pandemic.”

“BarnWaves” combines elements of theater, comedy, drama and music. So far, six highly entertaining episodes have been produced in the podcast series. The medium is well suited for these times when Mainers of all ages have spent much of their time at home and indoors.

Each episode is unique and stands alone, so they can be experienced in any order.

“BarnWaves is free and you can listen wherever you get your podcasts or on our website,” said Simon. “If audiences want to support the work, they can join our Patreon, which is a monthly donation like a Netflix subscription. This makes it possible for us to continue compensating artists for their work in future episodes.”

Barn Arts often works with young people in the area through teaching artist programs and performances, but the language and themes in “BarnWaves” is suited for more mature audiences.

So far, episodes of BarnWaves have been played over 1,000 times and feature more than 20 different artists, based on MDI and in New York. All of the artists have performed at one time or another with Barn Arts in the past.

“It’s been a great way to stay connected to our creative community and put new work out during this time that we can’t be in the theater together,” said Simon. “And we’re planning to release new episodes soon.”

Barn Arts is currently recording and editing material for several new episodes and planning work for several more. The organization is open to feedback from anyone that’s heard the podcast.

“Process is vital,” Simon said, “and we would love to hear about people’s experiences with ‘BarnWaves.’ We’re excited about working in a new, screen-free, digital medium and we think this work is unique to anything else out there. We’re curious what audience members in the community think.”

To learn more, contact Simon at 412-9435 and visit barnarts.me.

 

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