RiverPlay Podcasts

For the past three years, WVIK and River Action have produced weekly “RiverWayStories,” short radio essays on a broad range of river-related topics.  This year, we are building on this collaboration with a series of three-minute podcast plays. Written by local writers, set in local natural places, and featuring local actors, the plays are tiny soundscapes of Quad Cities parks and wild places that audiences can listen to in the very parks and wild places in which the plays are set.

The RiverPlay Podcast Project is partly inspired by an emerging theatrical genre known as Smartphone or podcast plays, defined by director Erin Mee as plays that “take advantage of mobile technology to create site-specific, audio-based theatrical experiences.” Mee is co-artistic director of This is Not a Theater Company, which often sets its productions in unconventional theater spaces—from a pool to the subway to the Staten Island Ferry—and which is a pioneer of the podplay form. Mee has described the unique power of the podcast play to “juxtapose the intimacy of the dialogue spoken right into your ear with the vastness of the site you inhabit.”

We hope that this series will offer listeners the opportunity to develop a more intimate relationship with the Quad Cities’ many parks, while opening their ears and eyes to the vast possibilities of these natural spaces.

This project is supported with Quad City Arts Dollar$ funds, provided by Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, and John Deere.

Ways to Connect

Photo by John LaBella

Featuring Jordan McGinnis, Angela Rathman, and Sara Tubbs

Roger Pavey’s play is set at Bechtel Park in Davenport and offers a contemporary perspective on the history of Dred Scott in Iowa.

Photo by Kate Kremer

Featuring Preston Duncan, Jordan McGinnis, and Angela Rathman

Chuck Oestreich’s play is set in the Sylvan Slough natural area. It interweaves text from the autobiography of Black Hawk with playful, evocative descriptions of the Slough today.


John LaBella

Featuring Jessica Denney, Lou Hare, and Brent Tubbs

Set along the bike path in Davenport, Teresa LaBella’s play features a bantering lunchtime discussion among three people taking a creative writing class.

John LaBella

Featuring Lou Hare and Brent Tubbs

Set mid-river on Halloween night, John LaBella’s spooky play follows a steamboat captain and his mate as they try to avoid a collision with a mysterious stern-wheeler. 

John LaBella

Featuring Sara Tubbs

Set at Eagle Point Park in Clinton, Iowa, Marilyn Kutzli’s play, Forever Watching, is written from the perspective of Stone Face bluff as it reflects on its long history. 

Kate Kremer

Set at Arsenal Island, Ryan Collins’s play builds on text drawn from the autobiography of Black Hawk and imagines the thoughts of the Swan God after his departure from the militarized island that was once his home.

Photo by John LaBella

Featuring Jessica Denney and Lou Hare

A husband and wife muse on the bittersweet irony of children playing on the old tank at Credit Island in John Bowman’s Credit Island Reverie.

Photo by Kate Kremer

Ann Boaden’s clever, subtly rhyming play follows a conversation between two ducks floating in the Augustana Slough, featuring Camilla Best and Jessica Denney.