BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition

By November 3, 2022 No Comments

The BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition welcomes scripts from anyone outside the UK

The global competition, hosted by BBC World Service and the British Council, offers the unique opportunity for writers to use the medium of audio drama to tell stories for an international audience.

What we want to see
We are looking for entries in the two categories: English As A First Language and English As A Second Language.

Two writers will win an invitation to attend an award ceremony in London and will get the remarkable opportunity to see their plays being recorded for broadcast and streaming on BBC World Service. A Special Commendation will be made for a runner-up in honour of the BBC World Service journalist and writer Georgi Markov (1929-1978).

The two winners can come from either category and there will also be regional winners named to showcase the best writing from across the globe.

What we’ve achieved so far
The last competition in 2019/20 attracted 850 entries from 104 countries, with regional winners coming from Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.

The winner in the First Language category was The Snowman, written by Neil Flynn from Ireland. It is a lyrical monologue about an Antarctic explorer’s desperate attempts to make it back to base camp. In the Second Language category, Ainur Karim from Kazakhstan won with her comedy The Passport, which is set against a backdrop of social unrest and a family in upheaval.

Ross Mueller from Australia won the Georgi Markov commendation with The Birthday Cake, a dark comedy focusing on the wife of a white supremacist.

After delays caused by the global pandemic the BBC is looking forward to welcoming Ainur Karim and Neil Flynn to the BBC in December, to record their winning entries for broadcast on BBC World Service in February next year, when they will be available online to listen and download.

About the Competition
Simon Pitts, Commissioning Editor BBC World Service English, says: “The competition offers a unique opportunity. Two winning writers will have their stories performed by our teams for broadcast to BBC World Service’s millions of listeners. It’s a prestigious prize which promotes original storytellers and places their voices onto the World Service network alongside some of the best UK drama productions including U.Me: The Musical; Miriam And Youssef; and Fall Of The Shah.”

Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance, British Council, says: “This competition is an important part of the British Council’s programme of developing new playwrights around the world, discovering new talent, and helping global artists find new opportunities.

“Sharing stories is a powerful way for us to connect with different cultures and difficult issues. Every competition we hear original voices with extraordinary stories to tell from all corners of the globe – including from people who wouldn’t have considered themselves playwrights before. I look forward to reading the fresh voices and inventive scripts for this year’s competition.”

The shortlisted scripts and judging panel will be announced in due course. Previous judges have included Kwame Kwei Armah, Dame Eileen Atkins, Doris Lessing, Roy Williams, Patricia Cumper and Nina Sosanya.

Who Can Apply
The International Radio Playwriting Competition welcomes scripts from anyone outside the UK, whether established or new writers. The dramas need to be 53 minutes long and can be on any subject.

The closing date for entries is midnight (GMT) on 12 February 2023.

Other Important Details

Check out the Rules and Privacy Notice before applying

How to enter

Submit your entry online – or download an entry form to enter via post or email

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