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Dec 6, 2018 at 10:00 am – Dec 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Writing New Worlds: Radio Drama in the 21st Century

With Ann Heppermann, Cristal Duhaime, Mira Burt Wintonick, Gisele Regato, Jonathan MItchell, Andrea Silenzi, Sarah Montague, Christy Gressman, Cecil Baldwin and Sharon Mashihi

In this new era of podcast popularity, where interview, true-crime and news formats reign, this four-day intensive will explore one of the mediums most carefully crafted sub-genres: the fiction podcast.

Rather than a departure from the non-fiction narrative norm, fiction podcasts are a call-back to the audio dramas of the past, with meticulous sound-design and immersive writing, creating new worlds for audiences to enter. This mode of storytelling comes with its own unique challenges and skill sets that borrow from audio production, filmmaking and literature alike.

This four-day intensive workshop will explore what it means to make audio fiction for the 21st century and consider ways to challenge what audio fiction can become. Students will learn about the history of the radio drama and have critical discussions about the current audio fiction market in the “Golden Age of Podcasting.”

The workshop, led by Ann Heppermann of The Sarah Awards, will provide unique opportunities to engage with writers, artists and producers from Night Vale Presents, Radiotopia, Stitcher, CBC’s Love Me, The Shadows and others, who are making some of the most exciting and groundbreaking audio fiction work today. Students will also be able to hear from industry professionals who are commissioning and developing new fiction podcasts from across media organizations, and will have time to present and receive peer feedback on their ideas and works-in-progress. Participants are encouraged but not required to have a project in mind!

The goal, in the end, is to learn, to subvert and to make the audio fiction that is not in the world but needs to be. 


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for audio producers, writers, sound artists and those looking to expand into fiction audio production!

Before the course you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience and a bio. It would be great if you have a project in progress or an idea that you would present to the group, but it’s not required!

$500 Early Bird Registration by November 20th at 5PM; $475 for members.

$575 Regular Registration; $550 for members.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until November 20th. After November 20th, the fee is non-refundable.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash. Course fees are not refundable or transferable, and any withdrawals will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Thursday, Dec. 06: 10am-5pm

AM: Ann Hepperman
PM: Cristal Duhaime and Mira Burt Wintonick

Friday, Dec. 07: 10am-8pm

AM: Gisele Regato
PM: Jonathan Mitchell

Saturday, Dec. 08: 10am-5pm

AM: Andrea Silenzi
PM: Sarah Montague

Sunday, Dec. 09: 10am-5pm

AM: Christy Gressman & Cecil Baldwin
PM: Sharon Mashihi

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


Warm up with introductory questions + viewing exercises


Presentation by guest speaker + discussion


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker + discussion


Discussion + sharing of work


Wrap up with closing questions


Ann Heppermann is the founder of The Sarah Awards which celebrates and rewards radio drama for the 21st century. Likened to the Oscars by The New York Times, the Sarah Awards encourages producers to push the boundaries of audio fiction through a variety of initiatives—from the Very, Very, Short Short Stories Contest to The Sarah Awards to its podcast Serendipity.

Called a “sort of Goddess of podcasting,” by Bitch Magazine, Heppermann has also worked in audio for more than 15 years. She’s received numerous awards, including a Peabody, and in 2011 was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. She teaches audio fiction at Sarah Lawrence College in its writing program and helped produce the experimental opera fiction podcast Buick City 1 a.m. by composer Jason Cady. She’s also a producer with Pineapple Street Media.

Mira Burt-Wintonick & Cristal Duhaime are the creators of CBC’s Love Me, a podcast about the messiness of human connection, and Pen Pals — a scripted series that puts unlikely pairs in conversation (winner of a 2018 Sarah Award). Previously, they produced Jonathan Goldstein’s WireTap, for which the team won the 2015 Prix Italia for Radio Drama. They also won Gold at the 2015 Grand Prix Nova for their short drama, Call of Dating. Mira & Cristal are based in Montreal, Canada.

Gisele Regatao is a professor of journalism at Baruch College, a reporter, producer and editor who has covered everything from theater in New York to the railroad industry in Latin America. Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, she has worked for newspapers, magazines, websites and two major public radio stations: WNYC in NY and KCRW in LA. Last year she released her first fiction podcast, inspired in part by the telenovelas she grew up watching. Celestial Blood/Sangre Celestial was the first bilingual podcast, released both in Spanish and English.

Jonathan Mitchell is the producer and creator of The Truth, a podcast that makes original dramatic short fiction. Now in its seventh year, The Truth is distributed by Radiotopia, and has been heard on radio programs like This American Life, All Things Considered, and Snap Judgment. His work has won many awards, including the Peabody, Third Coast Festival, The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award, and the Gold Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction Audio.

Andrea Silenzi is the host of The Longest Shortest Time. On the show, she tells the stories of kids and families while exploring her own journey towards becoming a parent. Before joining Stitcher, she hosted a hit show about dating and relationships called Why Oh Why. During the show’s run, it was named a best podcast by The New York Times, NPR, Vulture, Esquire, GQ, and Apple Podcasts. She’s the founding producer of Slate’s The Gist, one of the first daily news podcasts around, and she holds the world record for most guests booked for an hour-long radio show. That’s 67.

Sarah Montague is an award-winning public radio producer and director of documentary, spoken word, and drama programs, including SELECTED SHORTS, the national broadcast series featuring short fiction in performance; an award-winning revival of Archibald Macleish’s The Fall of the City; and the documentaries Adrienne Rich, They Made America, Titanic: Unsinkable Myth, and “T” is For Tom (Stoppard).  Most recently she has directed several audio plays for the podcast series Play for Voices:  Ana Candida Carneiro’s That Deep Ocean, Albert Ostermaier’s Anaesthesia, and Pedro M. Víllora’s One Fewer Night in Baghdad (January 2019).  Montague has also produced audio theatre readings and live drama at WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.

Montague’s feature work has been heard on Morning Edition, On the Media; Only a Game; and Studio 360, and at wnyc.org.  She is a published critic and essayist, and adjunct professor of culture and media at Eugene Lang College/The New School, where she co-founded the Internet radio station newschoolradio.org. and teaches courses in media, audio theatre, and journalism.  She has also hosted and co-taught several playwrights’ workshops on audio fiction at venues including CUNY-TV and the Center for Investigative Reporting. She is currently at work on a documentary series about literature and war and is a member of the women’s news collective Local Switchboard NYC.  

Christy Gressman is a partner and the executive producer in the Night Vale Presents podcast network, alongside network co-founders Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, co-creators of the genre-defining fiction podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Her work focuses on curating, managing, and growing Night Vale Presents — navigating the ever-evolving podcast industry landscape at the helm of an independent network — as well as developing and producing the network’s shows. She is the executive producer of Night Vale Presents’ current and upcoming podcasts, including fiction shows Adventures in New America and DreamboyConversations with People Who Hate Me with Dylan Marron, and Pounded In The Butt By My Own Podcast with Chuck Tingle. She is the creative producer of fiction podcast The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), a co-production of Night Vale Presents and WNYC Studios, the co-creator and producer of I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats in collaboration with Merge Records, and an artist and attorney. Christy is a graduate of Yale School of Management, Harvard Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania. 

Sharon Mashihi makes movies, radio, and performances. Her work can be heard on the podcasts The Heart, Stranglers, Snap Judgment, Unfictional, and many others. As an editor, Sharon worked on The Heart ‘s critically acclaimed “No” series, as well as 2016’s Peabody Award Finalist, “Silent Evidence”. Sharon’s performances and installations have been featured at Essex Flowers, The Wassaic Project, Tapefest, The Hearsay Festival in Ireland, and Moogfest. Sharon is co-writer of the 2017 feature film, The Ticket , and story editor of the forthcoming film, Madeline’s Madeline. She is also a session leader at The School of Making Thinking.

Cecil Baldwin is the narrator of the hit podcast Welcome To Night Vale. He is an alumnus of the New York Neo-Futurists, performing in their late-night show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, as well as Drama Desk-nominated The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Vol. 2. Cecil has performed at The Shakespeare Theatre DC, Studio Theatre (including the world premier production of Neil Labute’s Autobahn), The Kennedy Center, The National Players, LaMaMa E.T.C., Emerging Artists Theatre, and at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Film/TV credits include Braden in The Outs (Vimeo), the voice of Tad Strange in Gravity Falls (Disney XD), The Fool in Lear (with Paul Sorvino), and indie film Billie Joe Bob. Cecil has been featured on podcasts such as Ask Me Another (NPR), Selected Shorts (PRI), Shipwreck, Big Data and Our Fair City.

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Dec 6, 2018 at 10:00 am
Dec 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm
$475.00 – $550.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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