The story of Write Out Loud began in early 2007 at a bridal shower. It was there that San Diego actor Veronica Murphy met the friend of a friend, Sophie Walker. The talk soon turned to the importance of story and the Lifestages program at San Diego’s Playwrights Project. Sophie shared her passion for the Stories on Stage performance series in Denver – stories read to a live audience. Inspired by this, Veronica and Walter decided to create a similar series for San Diego. And Write Out Loud was born.
Write Out Loud’s first production, Something New, was produced June 29, 2007 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, in association with Tonic Productions. This production was made possible by Amy Biedel, Tonic’s producer, who provided the venue free of charge; and by our first three readers, Pamela Brittain, Michael Buckley and Michael Grant Hall, who took the stage bravely without really knowing where all this was going. The audience was entirely made up of friends and family, and totaled about 22 people.
Write Out Loud’s first season was made possible by a very generous arrangement with Cygnet Theatre Company, which provided the company the use of its theatre near San Diego State University, and let us insert marketing materials in their theatre programs. Program themes for that first season mirrored the shows of Cygnet’s season. For example, Cygnet’s Turn of the Screw was matched with Write Out Loud’s A Screw Askew.
Our holiday program in December 2007, Giving Season, was designed for families and was the biggest selling production to date. We had readers from age 13 to 80 years and audience members as young as eight. The program featured classics like The Night Before Christmas and Truman Capote’s Christmas Memory, as well as children’s stories like Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco and Barrington Bunny by Martin Bell.
Write Out Loud’s 2008 season kicked off with an all-Twain program Ever the Twain Shall Meet. The size of the audience was convincing proof that Write Out Loud was really going to work.
The success of Write Out Loud makes clear that audiences in San Diego county are hungry for the experience of being read to. It is very gratifying to see that Write Out Loud is accomplishing the one thing all theatrical companies strive to do: connect with the people in its community.