We are excited to announce the opening of a new voiceover studio on the Gorham campus here at USM. A collaboration with WMPG, audio producer, Fred Greenhalgh, the USM Theater department, Music department and other arts departments will bring this new project to life shortly. The opening of this studio is made possible thanks to a generous donation from the family of well-known actor and audio producer, Bill Dufris.
The new Dufris Studio/Studio 51 will allow students to learn voiceover, radio drama, podcasts, audio production and more.
Bringing original, innovative audio storytelling to North America – and Maine, specifically – is what Bill Dufris was all about. In the early 2000s, coming at the height of his popularity as Bob the Builder, Bill brought all he learned from the 1990s BBC Radio Drama scene and started one of the first digital home studios in the United States – located in Cape Elizabeth. What’s more, Bill was not content to create innovative audio by himself – what he really wanted was to make this work with friends. At every stage of the way, Bill’s relentless passion for introducing new people to the art of audio drama reconnected him with USM on many occasions – a value shared by close artistic collaborator and business partner, Fred Greenhalgh (USM alum, magna cum laude, 2006).
Unfortunately, in March of 2020, Bill was taken from us too early by esophageal cancer. The new studio will serve as a lasting tribute to Bill, where his love for audio drama can continue to bring people together and live on through new generations of students at USM.
The Studio 51’s initial build is from equipment at Bill’s studio, which in turn was inspired by Audible’s Glasshouse Studio A in London, England, where Bill and Fred recorded The X-Files with Gillian Anderson and has recorded other big productions such as Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. What distinguishes it from other local studios is its focus on dialogue recording over music production.
The new studio will be opening in January 2024 when the new semester of classes start for students at USM, where the following classes will be held:
- THE 337 Sound Design with Andy Johns on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:00am-12:15pm
- THE 280 Special Topics: Audio Production Beyond Podcasting with Jessica Lockhart on Fridays from 10:30am-1:00pm
- THE 136 Fundamentals of Design with Seif Salotto-Cristobal on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00am-12:15pm.
WMPG will also be launching an extra internet radio stream to complement 90.9FM from Studio 51 for students to create radio from the Gorham campus.