Writer and co-founder of Fizzy Sherbet Tamara von Werthern tells us about their forthcoming live recording of The Fizzy Sherbet Podcast, why it is so important to amplify the voices of women through plays, and how launching a podcast during the pandemic has helped them reach a much wider audience.
Tell us a bit about The Fizzy Sherbet Podcast
Fizzy Sherbet was created in 2016 as a response to Donald Trump winning the US elections to create space and a platform for women’s voices. We initially started with live events at the Hackney Attic, where we presented up to 7 short plays in one night. It was made into a podcast in 2020 during the pandemic to reach a global audience and connect women and female-identifying writers and directors across borders. We feature a short play, a chat with the writer and another chat with a special guest on each episode.
What made you want to open the first episode up to a live audience?
We are really excited about going live. We feel that the audience is an important part of the reception of new writing and that we now can have the best of both worlds. We have a live show, connect with our audiences, and also reach those who can’t come to the venue. It’s an exciting moment for us, and it feels right to be at The Bush, which is an internationally renowned home of new writing, and to also be present online and reach everywhere.
How have you sought and chosen the plays for the series?
We had a call-out for scripts, which was amplified by our international partners, including Nick Hern Books, Tonic Theatre, the Bush Theatre, The Shed in New York, Scenekunstskolen in Denmark (who also have links to South America), Dramatikkenshuis, Oslo and the brilliant European Theatre Convention, whose reach spans across Europe. We were really amazed by the response, we had 394 submissions and are on the cusp of announcing who else will appear in our new series. When reading, we are looking for fresh and exciting new voices from different parts of the world, stories we find impactful, and just brilliant writing. We’ve been very impressed with the pieces we’ve read, the overall quality is very high. Choosing has not been an easy task.
Any highlights audiences should listen out for in the pilot series before checking out this new series?
All our pilot episodes are of course excellent and well worth a listen, but our audio production of White Tuesday by Eve Leigh, directed by Lily McLeish, with Jennifer Jackson and Evelyn Miller won an international audio fiction podcasting award at The Sarahs in New York last November, so don’t just take our word for it. It’s Episode Six of the pilot series, you can find it anywhere where you listen to your podcasts.
How did Fizzy Sherbet begin?
It started in my back garden with a chat about how we can create more space for women’s voices and then me hanging up some paper posters on pinboards in pubs around Hackney to drum up interest. Oh yes, and a Twitter account. And then it snowballed from there. It’s been an amazing journey.
What do you hope to achieve with the project?
I hope to get listeners from very different places have that moment of recognition when they listen to a play or a chat on the podcast. It’s about connecting women writers and sharing creative practice. We recently hosted a panel event as part of the Eazees Festival in Cairo partnering with the British Council which brought together writers from Egypt, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa. It was brilliant to hear how many similarities there were and how many moments of recognition. We also hope to create an archive of women’s voices and creatives on our website www.fizzysherbetplays.com
What is next for you and for Fizzy Sherbet?
Next up is the upcoming series, which is launching with the event at The Bush Theatre. We hope that we will be running the podcast for a long time and to build up many more series, as there are so many brilliant stories to be told and shared.
See The Diagnosis by Athena Stevens recorded live at the Bush Theatre on 2nd October 2021 https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/fizzy-sherbet/