Wellesley Middle School’s audiodrama podcasting club was largely spawned by the pandemic as a group activity for students to take part in remotely. Now the fruits of their labor are available to anyone who wants to listen.
The students, led by drama teacher and auditorium manager Katie Speed, wrote, acted in, recorded, edited, and produced two shows: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, which will be continuing in the fall, and The Wayfinder Saga, which is a complete, 6-episode arc that Speed touts as “truly an epic!” Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer tells the real story behind this classic and quirky holiday tale, “and Grandma isn’t as sweet as she seems,” according to the show notes.
Speed acted on a podcast herself for years. “I did all of my recording remotely, as the entire production staff was either in New York or LA, so I knew that recording a podcast could be done 100% remotely.”
Of the WMS club, which relied on Zoom and other technologies such as GarageBand, Speed says members had to get creative: “The students did all of this completely on their own, only with me supervising, and I couldn’t be prouder!”
About a dozen students consistently took part in the club, with others making cameo appearances throughout the year. Some of these students would have otherwise been involved in live drama productions, if not for COVID-19, while others were new to drama.
Skills learned included storytelling, sound design, and voice acting.
The club only met for an hourly weekly, so it took a while to pull shows together. They started in January, and a flurry of activity—including a 14-hour editing push by students Anson and Joss Richman over one recent weekend—got The Wayfinder podcast across the finish line.