Talented actress Thérèse Plummer is a one-woman show in audiobook storytelling
Thérèse knew she wanted to be an actress from an early age and she has certainly made her dreams come true. Her work as a voice-over artist is widely recognised by the audiobook industry. She was nominated for many different awards and has won several, as well as receiving great reviews from critics and listeners all over the world. A recent report from CBS NY cited a ‘meteoric’ rise in demand for audiobooks, as many people discover the greater benefits of relaxation; listening and unwinding as they enjoy having a story read to them. With growing evidence of this not just in the US but worldwide, Thérèse has found herself in high demand.
According to Pew Research one in five US adults have listened to an audiobook and one in four has read an e-book. With an incredible rise in the popularity of audiobooks it is vitally important who tells the story and Thérèse’s obvious passion for her work is a big part of what makes her so successful. Thérèse told us the fans of her audiobooks are truly phenomenal and supportive; no wonder, she is a one-woman show for six hours a day.
Sometimes she has to tackle multiple-roles, playing all the characters; male and female, young and old, using a wide repertoire of accents and sometimes even crazy voices for the extra sci-fi or paranormal stories, often as the key narrator. And how does she manage that? She told us more about her acting and voice-over work as a storyteller in this short interview.
Thérèse, can you tell us about your acting beginnings?
My dad was an actor and out of my eight siblings, my brother and I both followed in his footsteps. I will never forget playing Pepper in “Annie” at the Music Box Playhouse in Northeast Pa. I left the theatre after opening night just glowing and soft snow was falling over everything and it felt like magic. I continued acting through high school and college and knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. I studied psychology in college and minored in theatre and dance and I actually worked as a counselor with both kids and adults for five years after college. At 26 I got to NYC knowing I needed to fulfill my dreams. After a few years of ‘beating the pavement’, I got an agent and started auditioning, landing roles on “Law and Order SVU” and “The Good Wife” as well as films and commercials. I also took an audiobook class at Actors Connection and effectively fell into that world as well. I am so grateful to say I have been a self-supporting working actor and voice-over artist for the last 14 years.
You are also a storyteller who has won multiple Earphone awards for your work. What is the best thing about being a storyteller and which other awards have you been nominated for?
It always feels amazing to have my work recognised by the industry and AudioFile magazine, as well as all the reviewers have been extremely thoughtful and generous in their critique of my storytelling. I was nominated and won a SOVA in 2016 in LA for my work on “Hope Harbor” by Irene Hannon. Today I am proud to say that I am also nominated again this year for three Audie Awards, which are the audiobook industry Oscar’s. It is so nice to be with my colleagues, producers, directors, engineers, and storytellers for a night of glamour and fun.
What kind of challenges did you face as a storyteller?
My job is to serve the authors words and bring there story to life. I feel extremely blessed to be able to do that service in this world. It’s without a doubt the most exhausting and rewarding craft I have participated in. I have to remain driven, believing in the ‘product of me’ for six hours a day (breaks included of course), playing all the characters; male, female, young, old and all with lots of different regional and international accents or dialects and sometimes adopting crazy voices for the extra sci-fi or paranormal roles. If I get sick I am out of commission and cannot record, as my voice will be compromised. It requires a lot of sleep and self-care. But it is worth it!
What are your best projects to date as an actor and a voiceover-artist?
Some of my favorites roles as a stage-actor have been Juliet (“Romeo and Juliet”), Kate (“Taming of the Shrew”), where my Dad played my father in the show and Regan (“King Lear)”. For television, I recently co-starred on an episode of “Virgin River” for Netflix which was amazing. I recorded all of Robyn Carr “Virgin River”, “Thunder Point” and Sullivan’s “Crossing Series” and when I found out Netflix was producing “Virgin River” I was so excited to be able to audition and get a role. The fans of the audiobooks have been phenomenal and so supportive. I hope they love it. I loved acting in “Law & Order SVU” and had an amazing moment with Mariska Hargitay when she told me that I had everything I would ever need inside of me. I hold that golden nugget with me to this day.
Do you have any interesting projects coming up?
Look for my episode of “Virgin River” on Netflix. And I recently finished two incredible projects: “The Age of Light” by Whitney Scharer (People’s magazine picks and book of the week) and “The Stranger Inside” by Laura Benedict, which was highlighted on the NY Times ‘New and Noteworthy Audiobooks’. Both recorded at Hachette Audio. I am currently working on a fascinating audiobook by Sloane Tannen called “There’s a Word for That”, for Hachette Audio. It is filled with real, hysterical, dysfunctional characters that have been nothing but a joy to play. It is a story I will remember for a while.
Photo credit: Jody Christopherson