Gain professional skills and take creative adventures

Apply to be a HUSH writer, learn about auditions, become a composer

#HUSHpodcast, otherwise known as HUSH, is a sci-fi series written, performed and produced by students in grades seven through twelve. It takes an eclectic team of creatives to produce the show which is first broadcast on the radio program Voices in the Valley before being uploaded onto iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher. (The podcast has been downloaded over 7000 times since its release in 2017!)

Without a script, there is no show, and the writers make up the backbone of the whole production. Three times a year, new writers are invited in to join the HUSH team. Writers must be dedicated to their craft and able to work under deadlines. In addition, they must agree to listen to all previous episodes of HUSH, become immersed in the HUSH universe and learn the details of the podcast story bible.

Following the industry practice of television writers, the writing team collaborates to develop the season outline and break it down into eight episodes. Episodes are divvied out and writers work as an individual or a small team to write the first draft of their assigned show. The draft is then shared with the larger group for revisions. A read through by actors helps to tweak dialogue before the episode is released to the student director for rehearsal and recording.

Actors and composers are an important part of the team as well. Auditions are held periodically to supply the voices of various roles. Professional vocal actor Therese Molloy provides acting lessons, and actors rehearse twice monthly and then record. Student composers work with professional musicians including Jesse Nelson to underscore scenes and provide transition music.

Throughout the year, HUSH meets most Saturdays from 9 AM to 12:00 PM in the Shire's classroom space located in the Zephyr Studio, 421 South Main Street, Stillwater, Minnesota.

Writers, actors and composers interested in joining the HUSH team should email

Another option: HUSH Jr for middle school students

Our goal with HUSH is to provide as professional an experience as possible to students. In addition to developing writing skills, students learn about industry standards and how to work on a creative team. While we do open up the possibility of middle school students joining HUSH, many of them find it a better fit to be a part of HUSH Jr - a podcast spin off of HUSH that meets Saturday afternoons from 12:30 to 2:00. In HUSH Jr, students learn the key elements of writing an audio script, develop dialogue writing skills, and explore all the components of creating a podcast.

Similar experience at the developmentally appropriate level

Both HUSH and HUSH Jr bring together writers, composers, musicians, singers, foley artists, graphic artists and social media experts to collaborate. For both HUSH and HUSH Jr, students write a script, compose original music, create sound effects and act in an audio play. While all are welcome to fully participate in HUSH Jr, HUSH is by invite and audition only.

The first step, of course, is determining placement. For those who are interested, contact

Three Trimesters Per Year

The HUSH and HUSH Jr experience is divided into three trimesters:
  1. FALL: September through December
  2. WINTER: January through April
  3. SUMMER: May through August

Thanks to grants, donations and sponsorships, we are able to keep tuition well below actual program costs. First time students entering the program pay $275 for the first trimester. After that, tuition remains at $175 per trimester. All students are welcome whatever their ability to pay.

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Email, Text or Call for More Information

Email to find out how you can become involved in HUSH or call Executive Producer Stephani Atkins at 651-351-0804.

The Shire's Mission

The Shire is a student directed cultural project that empowers youth in grades 6 through 12 to pursue their passion for storytelling while developing communication, collaboration and leadership skills. We do this through a stair step approach that strengthens community and expands networks among young artists and their mentors. Find out more about The Shire HERE.

Want to find out more, or learn how to be involved? We're only a text away: 651-351-0804

StoryArk Matters

As the umbrella organization for The Shire, Voices in the Valley and #HUSHpodcast, StoryArk nurtures storytelling in all of its diversity across the generations and through multiple media. By sharing our stories, we impact ourselves, our community, our culture, our country and even our world.

StoryArk is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.