1. Playwright’s Podcast
Genial playwright Simon Stephens hosts this thespiest of thespy podcasts. Produced by the Royal Court, Playwright’s Podcast eschews celebrity performer names in favour of – as the title suggests – playwrights. Stephens makes an unobtrusive interviewer, who teases an hour or so of fascinating reminiscences from the likes of David Hare, Lucy Prebble and Roy Williams. In an age when virtually no dramatists have much of a public profile, it’s a rare and fascinating forum.
2. What I Love
Theatre director Ian Rickson is one of the greats: he ran the Royal Court in the late ’90s and ’00s, and has directed everything from Jez Butterworth’s peerless ‘Jerusalem’ to PJ Harvey tours. This isn’t strictly speaking a theatre podcast, but his day job permeates these intimate chats with guests like Kae Tempest, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ben Whishaw. They share their favourite film, piece of writing and song.
3. That Black Theatre Podcast
The National Theatre has launched many interesting podcasts over the years, but its current series is one of the best, as host Nadine Deller takes us on a journey through the rich history of Black British theatre. It’s a chronological affair that begins in the ’30s with an examination of Jamaican-born Una Marson, and then studiously onwards. As of December 2020, it’s just about to arrive at the present day.
4. The Hamilcast
There are plenty of US podcasts devoted to chummy yet baffling interviews with relatively obscure Broadway performers. The same could be said of The Hamilcast, but it elevates it to an artform. Nearly 250 episodes solely devoted to the musical ‘Hamilton’ may sound like an oddball undertaking, but host Gillian Pensavalle is a delight as she breezes into wildly enthusiastic chit-chat with various show veterans – it’s an insight not just into ‘Hamilton’, but the whole business of being a musical theatre performer.