scripts and microphones

Ken Armstrong

Ken Armstrong - writer and script reader extraordinaire

We first met Ken as a writer through the London Radio Playwrights' Festival. He submitted two short plays as part of the Festival's workshop process, which were so good, they were both chosen for production and broadcast on LBC. He later submitted a full-length play, To Sleep, which was one of the five winners of the Festival in 1994. When we asked him for biographical details for publicity purposes, we noticed that he had won some award for writing theatre reviews, and we asked him if he'd be interested in doing some script reading for our competitions and festivals. To our delight, he said yes.

Ken and John

IRDP is very fortunate in having Ken Armstrong as one of its trustworthy band of script readers. But he's not just any old script reader. There are several things which set Ken apart from all the others - he writes the best (and the longest) critiques in the world, he's always friendly (even if he's having a bad hair day) and he has this great Sligo accent. We've always been impressed by the constructive, helpful nature of Ken's reports, and many writers have phoned or written to tell us how much they appreciate the time and trouble he takes to write reviews which always maintain an even balance of criticism, praise and constructive guidance. His critiques are a tribute to his own considerable knowledge and expertise in the field of writing.

The black and white photo on the right shows Ken with his son, John.

The colour picture below shows Ken in the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden, when he came to receive his award in the London Radio Playwrights' Festival in 1994. Also in the picture is the distinguished playwright, Olwen Wymark, who has held master classes for writers and is a judge in the script competition. Her support for the Festival and her commitment to helping new writers is very much appreciated.

Click for Ken's website

During March 1998 To Sleep was our Internet Play of the Month.

You can send e-mail to Ken at

You can also visit his website to find out more about his writing.

NEW! Ken is currently Writer In Residence at Claddagh Films

The Autobiography

Ken Armstrong lives with Patricia, his super-model wife, and John his only begotten son, in a disused whaling station on the extreme west coast of Ireland. (Only some of this is true!) He is Thirty-Six but often lies that he is Forty because he pronounces it better.

He occupies himself by writing, working for architects and throwing sticks at passing motorists.

He has three IRDP plays to his credit: two short radio plays and To Sleep, all produced by the inestimable Tim Crook. To Sleep was a winner in the London Radio Playwrights' competition in Nineteen something-or-other and was subsequently selected by the Radio Authority as the independent entrant for the EBU play selection committee in Geneva. He has also won the Dickens Museum Short Story Competition and was a finalist in the North West Radio Short Story Competition.

His play The J Seat was produced and broadcast by RTE in Ireland. This play emerged from a five page scene which was discussed in an IRDP workshop by the wonderful Olwen Wymark and the author gladly acknowledges that the one hour result would never have been developed without the help and encouragement gained from this scheme.

Ken has completed two theatre plays, one of which, Paul's Talent, gained an honourable mention in the 1997 Society of Irish Playwrights O.Z. Whitehead Competition. The other play - a full length adaptation of the IRDP produced radio play To Sleep - is even better, at least he thinks so.

1997 provided his first opportunity to speak aloud on radio with a contribution to RTE's Sunday Miscellany programme called Digging a Hole for Myself. This was followed by a second Miscellany piece in July 1998, this one called Bad with Names. Next came An Elite among Altar Boys at Easter this year. Two more Miscellanys are on the way.

In 1998, St. Patrick's Drama Group in Westport (that's in Ireland) asked Ken to write a 40 minute radio play for them and the result, Grainne's Cut, was broadcast last March on the NWR/MWR network in Ireland. At a subsequent awards bash, the two leading actors - one male, one female ('actress' is out, you know) both won nominations for their acting performances, the overall production was nominated for best play and Ken won the best playwright award.

The most recent writing endeavours have centred on The Movies with two and a half screenplays completed to date for Claddagh Films.  At the moment An Autumn Affair looks most likely to make the grade but the adaptation of the IRDP-produced Channel 31 has been well-received too.

Ken relishes the opportunities he gets to read entrants for the IRDP competitions and prides himself on the excellent writers he claims that he was the first to spot. These include William George Q, Elizabeth Berry, Martin McDonagh and Jane Duncan (all right... not the first to spot her but he did think she was great without knowing who she was, so there!).

ken armstrong & olwen wymark

Having lived in London for 14 years, Ken has now returned to his native shore but keeps in touch with real-life via the Internet and his great pal Marja who he has only met once (the 'fat, red-eye photo' on the left taken by Marja proves it!) but who he has now spoken to one zillion and fifty - hang on - one zillion and fifty-one times and, know what, he can't wait 'til the next time!

Ken is basically a mad bastard. His favourite movies include Days of Heaven and The Vanishing, Body Heat and Blade Runner (Deckard is a replicant). Musically he admires Tom Waits and is currently on a serious Burt Bacharach kick which has cost him all his friends. His playwright heroes are David Mamet, Peter Shaffer and Neil Simon and his favourite book remains Watership Down but he hasn't read it since he was 14 and is now afraid to, in case it is actually rubbish. He also respects Fyodor Dostoyevsky but has never read any of his work.

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