is no longer running festivals and competitions for new writers. Here
are details of the festivals we used to run:
Radio Playwrights' Festival
London Radio Playwrights' Festival was funded by London
and its Patron for the first seven years was Don
Henderson, who died in 1997. Olwen
Wymark then became the Festival's Patron. The Festival
was open to anyone of any age who lived, worked, or studied in London.
It ran from 1990 to 2001, and each year it produced a huge amount
of exciting and innovative work. Many of the plays produced through
the Festival over the years have won awards at the International
Radio Festival of New York, commendations at the Prix Italia,
the Sony Awards and the Writers'
Guild of Great Britain Awards. New writers winning the
Festival's competition have gone on to see their work produced in
Britain and then broadcast all over the world, some of their plays
have even been translated into other languages and broadcast in Europe.
Winning writers have gone on to achieve considerable success in the
field of writing, such as Martin McDonagh, Paul Sirett, Ken
Armstrong, Tony Duarte, Anna Hashmi, Wendy Lee, William George Q, Tony Bagley, Paul Herzberg and many others
who have seen their work produced in the theatre as well as on BBC,
RTE and radio
stations in Britain and abroad.
Every year the Festival offered a free programme of workshops for
writers - both beginners and advanced. Particularly popular were the
Master Classes with leading playwrights such as Alan Plater, Olwen
Wymark and Wally K Daly. In these, writers were asked to
submit scripts beforehand so their work could be performed by actors
and discussed during the workshop. These usually took place in one
of London's theatres such as the Royal Court or the Theatre Royal,
Stratford East. There were also several introductory workshops every
year for all writers new to radio as well as special workshops for
African-Caribbean and Asian writers and disabled writers.
In addition to the series of workshops, there was a script competition
for plays up to 46 minutes long. In previous years there was also
a competition for short plays, five to ten minutes long, which gave
the opportunity to many more writers to have their work broadcast
on the radio. The Festival then also incorporated commissioned plays
from more established writers, as well as a full day of workshops
and awards at London venues such as the Battersea Arts Centre and
the Tricycle Theatre, which proved to be very popular and successful.
Henderson was the founder Patron of the LBC / LAB London Radio Playwrights'
Festival as well as being a distinguished actor in all media. For
IRDP, he played a range of major roles including Socrates and
Van Helsing in Dracula. He was committed to new writing and
the development of drama on commercial radio. His enthusiasm, energy,
judgement and friendship will be missed. His support for the Festival
was very much appreciated.
see our page about Don Henderson, CLICK
The Woolwich Young Radio
Playwrights' Competition ran from 1990 until 1998 and was sponsored
by the Woolwich Building Society, which then became Woolwich plc.
Every year the competition produced ten plays by writers aged 25 or
under. It was open to anyone who lived, worked or studied anywhere
in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland (including the Channel
Islands and the Isle of Man). For the first six years the Patron was
distinguished writer and broadcaster Melvyn
Bragg, and he was then followed by the new Patron, Carla
Lane, OBE, for the final two years. The Woolwich scheme pioneered
radio drama workshops around Britain in schools and colleges, educational
packs with the help of ABSA and the developmental links between radio
and theatre playwriting. For three years the winning writers also
saw their plays turned successfully into stage productions which played
to full houses at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden, the BAC
and the Cottesloe Theatre at the Royal National on the South Bank,
as well as hearing them broadcast on the radio. Woolwich writers over
the years have also won medals at the New York Festivals, and commendations
at the Sony Awards, Prix Italia, Prix Futura and the Writers' Guild
of Great Britain Awards: Jane Duncan, Andy Smith, Emily Fuller, Simon
Beaufoy, Ben Rice, Katy Thursby, Gemma Lord, Glyn Williams, Anna Hashmi
Payne. All of these writers were under 25 when they wrote
their winning plays, and Katy, Glyn and Gemma were only 13. Some have
also had their plays translated for broadcast in Europe.
Both competitions involved a lengthy process of reading and judging
the scripts sent in by entrants. IRDP had a brilliant team of readers
who tirelessly read through all the plays and provided critiques for
all the writers. A distinguished panel of judges then decided on the
final result. Judges for the competitions have included Olwen
Wymark, Yvonne Brewster, Don
Henderson, Bill Ash, Lady Ralph Richardson, Aden
Willcox, Jane Asher, Peter Barkworth, and Nerys
Hughes. The panel of readers included: Ken
Armstrong, Amanda Affleck, Dallas Campbell, Alastair Dougall,
Sinclair, Paul Nimmo, Emma Howell, Gella Richards, Paul
George Q and Marja Giejgo.
sponsorship came to an end in November 1998.
here for information about the winners of the 1998 Woolwich Young
Radio Playwrights' Competition
to try writing radio drama but don't know where to start?
HERE FOR HINTS ON WRITING RADIO DRAMA
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