On April 16, 2021, the UWEC Theatre Arts program released the first two episodes of Get Lost: A Walking Podcast of Eau Claire. Entirely devised, written, and performed by students, Get Lost explores common areas of the city and their not-so-common stories.
Each episode spans a different walking path through Eau Claire and will be embedded with fictional narratives and historical facts. Episodes uncover local legends such as the history of Banbury Place, the mysterious elephant said to be buried somewhere in the city, and even comical stories about the game of Kubb.
In the wake of COVID-19, the theatre faculty decided to pivot to new forms of performance. “After working on two filmed productions, we thought that a podcast would create a different experience and help students hone their writing and voice acting skills,” says Arthur Grothe, the curator of the podcast and UWEC’s Artistic Director of theatre. The idea for a ‘site specific’ podcast was fueled by a desire to get out of the house, the dorm, the apartment and start to reconnect with the world.”
Theatre students gained extensive experience in what it takes to research and record a podcast. “Research is always a part of the process, but this research was unique in that it uncovered stories and facts about our collective home.” Grothe says. “We also have the great fortune to have a recording engineer, Lena Sutter, as part of our team. This meant that students got to have professional level recording work in a state of art facility at the Pablo Center.”
The podcast is a veritable love letter to the city of Eau Claire. Listeners will be able to track the walking routes, along with accessing extra information and media, through an interactive map available on the podcast’s website. “I’ve been really impressed with the overall work and creativity of the students working on this project,” Grothe says. “It would have been easy to ‘phone-in’ the work given all the challenges, but the writers and artists committed themselves to creating an exciting, new project that is unlike anything our program has done before.”
If you’re looking for something fun to do outside this spring, come Get Lost with UWEC’s theatre students! The podcast is available on most podcast platforms beginning April 16, with new episodes releasing throughout the spring months. Go to getlostec.com for the route maps and additional information about the project.