The story you are about to read has the potential to brand audio theatre indelibly on your conscious mind and to alter the course of showbiz and entertainment. Audio theatre is dramatised and purely acoustic performance where dialogue, music and sound effects help the listener to visualise the story – in my opinion, it is more powerful than visual theatre, and practical too. I listened to a hilarious masterpiece, Diamond is forever, the story is so well and thoroughly told that I only needed my mind to create the ‘movie’ and I was highly entertained. The creator of this masterpiece and many more – which has won two HearNow Theatre Awards – is none other than the iconic Liane Moonraven, a highly educated African American woman who once ruled corporate America. She is a director, an award-winning author, an executive producer, an actress and the creator of The Carmen Online Theatre Group where you can watch and listen to all her productions. She has written feature-length films, short horror scripts and even micro-short thrillers which she also produced and directed.
Liane was born and raised in Washington DC in the States. She’s also mum to two wonderful daughters. She lives in the Midlands, UK.
After high school, Liane went straight to college to pursue a career in Radio, Television and Film production. In the second year, her confidence was knocked down severely when the Chairman of the Department told her ‘to give it up’ because she would never make it in Hollywood. The man told her she had two strikes against her… being a woman and being black. This was discouraging and depressing, and unfortunately, Liane believed the man. She changed her course and went on to have a successful career in tourism. However, the writing bug wouldn’t go down quietly or the creative side or the desire to produce films, and Liane rekindled that passion that had never died: she has now successfully produced and directed several films.
Liane is hugely inspired by some of the world’s greatest masters of craft e.g. Stephen King for shock horror, Edgar Allen Poe for elusiveness and subtleness, and Alfred Hitchcock for suspense and twist: and has developed a way to tap into their geniuses to create her own unique style with theirs as inspiration and motivation. Her all-time favourite book is Dracula by Bram Stoker. Shonda Rhimes, the queen of Thursday nights as Americans call her, is another of her favourite contemporary writers and producers. Recently, Liane was chosen to be part of a project called BACK IN – a six-month artist development programme for early-career BME filmmakers powered by the creative development company PUNCH. This is a programme to help BME (Black and Minority Ethnicity) filmmakers develop industry knowledge and professional connections.
An interesting fun fact about Liane – she once lived in a creepy or haunted neighbourhood, but being the creative woman she is, this experience could only be expressed in a horror series called The Burbs. This is a fast-paced 10 minutes episodes per season told in 6 seasons – you can listen to all the seasons in half a day. The inspiration for this series came to her when one day she was having a conversation with her friend and mentor, Hollywood producer Paul Sampson, about the bizarre neighbourhood. The conversation sparked the idea, it formed in her creative mind, the script writing began, and The Burbs was born. She credits much of her success as a scriptwriter to Paul and his valuable critique and guidance.
Liane is inspirational, and through life experiences recognises that 1) although life is not always a bed of roses, blessings and good things can come from the unlikeliest of people, therefore it is important to be always kind because you just never know who can inspire you: 2) resilience, endurance and gratitude go hand in hand. She believes in the power of manifestation – when you want something bad enough you have the ability within you to have it if you believe in yourself, desire that which you need/want, and trust in the universe to deliver. In addition to the above, it’s paramountcy to trust your inner voice – this helped her when she needed to take the leap from the United States to territory unknown in England. In the UK, her resilience has been tested and stretched to a breaking point which she says she overcame by surrounding herself with good people who believed in her capability and were supportive. She emphasises the importance of keeping reliable, honest and loyal friends. It is also ok to celebrate your victory when it comes. Her words are inspirational and I’m sure they will be inspiring to other people. She believes any acts of kindness one gives to the world comes back tenfold. One of her future hopes is to be an inspirational speaker.
Liane, like many working mothers, faces challenges every day and full-on days from being the cook, the cleaner, the chauffeur, to the house manager and expectations of putting bread on the table. Her ability to balance her personal life and professional life lies in discipline, workable and evolving routines, good time management and self-care, this she does with guided meditation and a bit of self-pampering now and then. It’s important too to check-in with ‘the necessary evil’ aka social media especially for people in our industry. She’s such an inspiration for women out there who might mistakenly think successful women have more than 24 hours in a day. We all, like Oprah and Beyoncé, have the same number of hours in a day, the secret is learning how to productively manage time.
As well as producing and directing films, Liane is undertaking a PhD in Sociology. Her thesis is based on racism – the psychological and/or physiological effects of trauma due to long-term exposure to racism – concealed or otherwise.
In her free time, Liane loves reading and spending time with her family and friends.
Please visit her website The Carmen Theatre Group
Please listen to the very addictive The Burbs – Season One
And the hilarious Diamond is forever