BBC World Service International Play Writing Competition ( win £2,500 sterling & funded trip to London)( Deadline: 31 January 2020. )
The International Radio Playwriting Competition, hosted by BBC World Service and the British Council, offers the unique opportunity for playwrights to have their radio play heard across the world by the BBC World Service’s millions of listeners.
Whether you’re an established or a completely new writer, the competition welcomes scripts from anyone outside of the UK. The radio dramas can be on any subject you like, as long as they are 53 minutes long.
This year the two first prizes can come from either the English as a First Language or the English as a Second Language category. Both winners will receive a cash prize of £2,500 sterling, travel to London to attend an award ceremony, and see their plays recorded before they’re broadcast on the BBC World Service.
Last year we received over 1,500 entries from a record 112 countries. Writers from Zimbabwe, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Malaysia, Egypt, Kosovo, Iceland and Russia all made the shortlist.
“This competition is an important part of the British Council’s programme developing new playwrights around the world, discovering new talent, helping global artists find new opportunities, and connecting with the UK”, says Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance at the British Council. “Sharing stories is a powerful way for us to connect with different cultures, explore difficult issues and be inspired by fresh voices. We look forward to reading the inventive scripts for this year’s competition.”
The two first prizes from the last competition were won by Aziz H from Yemen and Colette Victor from Belgium. Bode Asiyanbi from Nigeria was awarded the Georgi Markov prize – a prize celebrating the most promising script from the shortlist, in honour of BBC World Service journalist and writer Georgi Markov.
Victor’s play By God’s Mercy is a comedy drama set in an impoverished South African township and seen from the point of view of a mattress. Aziz H’s A Broken Heart In A Warzone is a dark comedy about two audacious thieves who steal from houses when their owners flee to air-raid shelters during frequent bombings.
Entering the competition can be a life changing experience. Previous winners have left their jobs to pursue careers in writing — including Virginia Jekanyika, who won the English as a Second Language category in 2013 with her play The Cactus Flowers and moved to the UK to study creative writing.
“I don’t care if you’ve got three jobs and five children, write your play.” said Kwame Kwei-Armah, who was a panelist for the 2008 competition. “Just write it, this is such an opportunity. You can come to London, you can have your play looked at by the BBC, you could have your play broadcast to millions on air.” So, if you have a compelling story to tell, don’t miss this opportunity to have it broadcast globally.” Information about how to apply is below. We’re excited to read your stories.