Mara’s picks from 2019 (Mara Thomas, ASBX blog post 026)

Greetings, Soapboxers!

Thank you for being part of the Artist Soapbox community this year. Lots of firsts in 2019! With your support, the podcast reached the 10,000 download milestone and we also celebrated the release of Tamara’s audio drama Master Builder. Here are five more podcast episodes that I would like to highlight as we close out this year.

061: The impact of fashion. Designer Dara Page crafts art to wear with intention.

New York. Milan. Paris. Raleigh! Little did I know we had an incredible fashion designer making sustainable art-to-wear right here in our community. What a treat to hear Dara Page of Haus Page describe taking the leap from retail and designing for others to creating her own label. Also, as part of Haus Page’s commitment to zero fabric waste, Dara’s group Sewing Acts of Kindness has turned those fabric scraps into over 10,000 items donated to local charities. Truly beautiful and inspiring!

067: Nurturing Empowerment. The Beautiful Project Reframes the images of Black girls and women.

The Sisterhood of Sharpening! I loved listening to Khayla Deans and Pamela Thompson put into words this element of womxn’s friendships. Something that is inclusive of yet reaches beyond the support we provide one another — how we can make each other better, how we can help each other soar. The vitally important work of The Beautiful Project supports the Black girls and womxn it serves to embody their worthiness first and foremost for themselves. This episode asks those of us listening to consider how the existence of programs like The Beautiful Project is a comment on the culture that necessitates them, an area of much-needed sharpening.  

077: Producing independent theatre. Artistic Director Brook North on the work, the traps, and joy of making “what we want to do.”

Simply put, Brook North delivers the real talk on what it’s like to make theater, man. And not just any theatre — local, independent theatre that knows what it is and knows what it isn’t. Very few of us have the luxury of big budgets and paid staff to help us produce our shows. Rather than bemoan that fact, Brook rolls up his sleeves and does the work. Brook exemplifies the multi-hyphenate who can wear just about any hat required of a production. I’m inspired by his ambition and willingness to put so much of himself into the work South Stream produces. 

084: How do you honor your story? Writer and educator Allison Kirkland on crafting memoir and creative nonfiction.

I’m so grateful to Artist Soapbox for highlighting the wonderful resources that exist right here in our community, and the conversation with Allison Kirkland was a great example of that. Both through her blog Creatives in Conversation and through the creative nonfiction workshops she facilitates at branches of the Durham County Library, among other places, Allison is a true homegrown creative hero. This episode affirmed the power of storytelling in community and what can happen when we value everyone’s lives and experiences. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m happy that Allison is helping connect people to the power of their own voices. Don’t be surprised if you see me on your student roster someday, Allison!

090: Common Denominators. Veteran performer Dale Wolf on silence, story, and speaking out. [Durham 150 Artist Spotlight] 

Anyone who has witnessed Dale perform can attest to the beautiful, embodied physicality they bring to the stage. Now, thanks to this episode, we can also enjoy and learn from Dale’s eloquence and perspective looking back on the body of work they have created over the years. Dale’s continued evolution as a performer and a person serves as a gentle and inspiring reminder that the only constant is change. Embracing change can foster a deeper understanding of our own self-expression and deeper relationships with others. Thank you, Dale. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

Happy New Year, Soapbox family! See you in 2020,



Mara Thomas is a Durham-based playwright, actor, musician and teaching artist. Her newest play, YEAR OF THE MONKEY, will be produced by Delta Boys Theater Company at The Fruit in Durham in June 2020. A local musician for over 15 years, Mara currently makes noise in the punk group Cold Cream. She is also part of the Soapbox Audio Collective, currently at work on the serial audio drama Jesus Pancake.


Hear Mara on Episode 076Episode 064, Bonus Episode 002Episode 017 and Episode 001 of the Artist Soapbox podcast.

Blog posts and podcast episode about the Creative Accountability Group:

  1. Take your work seriously: put Creative Resistance on notice!
  2. Better together. A Creative Accountability Group debrief with Mara and Tamara
  3. Ask WHY to create opportunities for compassion
  4. Map your dreams

Blog posts about creativity resources:

  1. Cleaning house: Making space for creativity
  2. Nourish your creative self: Give your creative self a lift with something beautiful
  3. The importance of physical practice: Get out of your head and into your body (And here’s another)
  4. Community Building
  5. Preparing for a Creative Residency
  6. The gifts of loneliness
  7. Go with the flow
  8. Adventures in downtime

Blog posts about creative obstructions that present themselves when you’re on your creative path.

  1. Imposter Syndrome: Who do I think I am? Why even try?
  2. Perfectionism: I’m so afraid that my creation will not be perfect that I never actually do it. And another one about perfectionism!
  3. Comparison: I’ll never be as good as that person. I should probably quit.
  4. Distraction: I’ve convinced myself that all these other things have priority over my creativity.
  5. The Creative Vacuum: How do I cope with the after-the-big-project-time?

Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, live events, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, Food for Thought, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

Jesus (1400 × 1400 px)-2

Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


Food for Thought

Three pilot episodes of new scripted audio fiction series inspired by the prompt Food for Thought.


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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