TheatreTalk: A Podcast by And for Wesleyan Theatre students

Photo by Theatre Talk (@theatretalkpodcast) via Instagram

Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) prides itself on community, but with the current COVID-19 pandemic, it has been nothing short of difficult to maintain. Reanna Rohrer, a sophomore from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, wanted to find a way to keep the theatre community connected, as well as welcome the first years with open arms. “I understood that coming into college as a freshman can be a difficult time… and you are surrounded by completely new people… and I thought it might be twice as difficult for them with COVID. I wanted to create a safe environment where they could just listen, get to know some of our Wesleyan Theatre Company peeps, and feel a little bit more at home.” This idea is what led her to creating TheatreTalk, a podcast by and for WTC.

“This all started as a Theatre Management project for Julie Wilshusen”, Rohrer said, “and you basically just do anything that benefits the company.” With this in mind, she needed a little bit of help, calling upon a few fellow company members, “Gus Sippel plays the intro and outro music, Dio Raquel Jr. helps with production and publicity, and will be a new co-host, and Molly Davis and Kabrianna Mumford consult, edit, and help plan each podcast.” With their help, and her undeniable drive, she started the Instagram and an introduction within four days of having the idea.

When asked about the content of these podcasts, Rohrer passionately stated, “We all have personalities, and you can’t get to know someone exclusively through a character on stage, and it is a place you get to do that. We also talk about advice… current projects that [the guests] are doing and the processes that they go through… and how they deal with theatre and COVID.” Theatre all over the country has been hit hard by COVID-19, making almost everyone in the profession currently jobless with no clear end in sight. Rohrer comments how it is a privilege to even have the ability to do theatre here at NWU during these times, but it is not a walk in the park.

The process of creating each episode is a feat. Rohrer sets up individual Zoom meetings beforehand with each guest in order to curate questions for each experience. She also never forgets to “protect the pack”, by sanitizing everything before and after each use, and every episode includes guests that socially distance together (ex. roommates). She also requires masks when distancing isn’t feasible, but each episode is recorded a minimum of six feet apart. These recordings take up to two hours, with endless more on top of it for the editing process. Rohrer gets these episodes up and ready to listen to within 24 hours of pressing record, as well as updates all the followers on the Instagram page with upcoming guests and engaging content, all while still finishing her homework.

So far, Rohrer has five episodes uploaded, with two coming this week. The podcast has accumulated nearly 300 listeners, spanning all over the United States, as well as four other countries. Rohrer said that, “[the Instagram page] has gotten more followers than are even in WTC, which is super nice… that people like hearing what we have to say.”

When Rohrer was asked if she had any final comments or words of advice, she said, “Find your own opportunities to create your art, but please make sure to do it safely. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response right away, people will listen when the time is right.”

For more information, you can visit the Instagram page @theatretalkpodcast, and follow them on Spotify, Amazon Music, Spreaker at “Theatre Talk” to listen to their episodes. You are also able to help support this project by donating to their GoFundMe at “Theatre Talk Podcast.”