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Audioplay grant

07 Aug 2019

Audioplay grant Image

By Meg Hill

Southbank start-up Audioplay was awarded a $25,000 grant from the City of Melbourne in July as a round one winner of the council’s small business and social enterprise grant program.

Audioplay is an immersive audio experience for kids. Founded by sisters Gemma and Zoe Pepper, Audioplay is a “new kind of way of experiencing entertainment”.

“Kids put headphones on and then step into the story and become a character,” Gemma Pepper said.

“They physically play it out in the real world, so they might use cushions and blankets or something in the living room, like old school imaginative play, but with a blockbuster soundtrack, a sound score and all the sound effects you might hear in a movie.”

Audioplay is based in ACMIx, where Gemma and Zoe secured an ongoing spot after taking part in ACMI’s 12-week intensive program for creative businesses. Gemma and Zoe both come from a theatre background and evolved Audioplay out of a theatre production they made a few years ago.

“We’ve both worked in theatre and the arts our entire careers,” Gemma said.

“We did circus together when we were young, but we started working together when Zoe was working on tours to Edinburgh and I helped her getting stuff together, we worked really well together.”

Gemma said Zoe is in charge of all things creative – from script development, overseeing sound components, working with composers, sound engineers and actors – while Gemma is in control of the business side.

“Creating Audioplay has been an interesting transition from us working in theatre to thinking ‘how do we see this as a digital product?’. It’s been a really interesting new adventure.”

Gemma had just returned from Copenhagen, where she was to receive another award for Audioplay, when she found out they had been successful in the grant program.

“There’s so many different opportunities. We could be working with libraries, or with after school care, or with a whole range of different places that engage with kids,” she said.

“So, when this grant came up it was a fantastic opportunity to explore those angles.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the grants had a long history of helping local businesses grow into thriving well-known brands.

“We’re incredibly proud that past recipients of these grants have gone on to enjoy huge success while also contributing to our city’s rich and diverse hospitality, innovation, sustainability and tourism sectors,” the Lord Mayor said.

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