Local theater Strides Collective pushing the boundaries on queer storytelling

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There's a new theater company shining a spotlight on Philadelphia's emerging queer playwrights, and the company just released its first production.

Karen Rogers has the story in this week's 6abc Loves the Arts.

"The Strides Collective" aims to push the boundaries on queer storytelling in an inclusive and diverse space.

"It's really exciting to develop work that is non-stereotypical in nature and features queer characters in ways that are exciting and unexpected," says Jonathan Edmondson the founder and artistic director of The Strides Collective.

Edmondson started the company in 2020 just before the pandemic hit.

"And we pivoted like everyone else and started to make work virtually, and connect with artists that way," Edmondson conveys.

"The Diamond Peak Studio Sessions" is the collective's first official release.

"I served as the writer and director for the piece. It's an entirely audio experience. It's probably unlike anything you've heard before," Edmondson exclaims.

It brings back the "radio drama."

Edmondson describes, "It's about five bands who go to the studio to record their new albums. But the microphones never turn off. So they capture not only the music creation but also fights and conversations in between the music takes."

The performance features original music composed by cast members.

"Audio, the world was literally my oyster, and I could make anything happen," portrays Edmondson.

"It's kind of nice to close your eyes and just listen to a story. You can paint the picture for yourself. And you can get lost in your imagination," Edmondson reveals.

The Strides Collective also offers a Virtual Emerging Playwrights Residency Program, providing a platform for artists to grow.

"It is so important to keep developing work for and by queer artists, for queer artists, and to give them a space to safely create...We're excited to showcase their work at the end of July," said Edmondson.

The Strides Collective | "The Diamond Peak Studio Sessions" is streaming now through June 30th, 2021
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