International Radio Playwriting Competition

Tags: New Writing

A competition for writers from around the world to have their play broadcast on the BBC World Service

  • Winners of the 24th International Playwright Competition from left to right: Alana Valentine, Ana Gonzalez Bello and Virginia Jekanyika (c) Hannah Robins, BBC

The Competition

Now in its twenty-fifth year, the British Council is delighted to be supporting the International Radio Playwriting Competition in partnership with BBC World ServiceCommonwealth Writers and co-producers The Open University.

There are two first prize categories – one for writers with English as their first language and one for writers with English as their second language. The play must be in English, unpublished and must not have been previously produced in any medium. The winners will each receive £2,000 and a trip to London to see their plays being recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service.

In addition, the Georgi Markov award honours the shortlisted script which shows the most promise, with the opportunity to take part in a two-week residency with the BBC's London Radio Drama department and with BBC World Service.

The competition was open to entries from 1 October 2015 - 31 January 2016 to anyone over 18 and living outside the UK, whether a new or established writer. The shortlisted scripts have now been announced. This year, over 1,000 entries were received from a record 112 countries, with Papua New Guinea making the shortlist for the very first time.

The plays include thought-provoking stories with subjects ranging from slavery, war and corruption to a comedy about a maid in India and a hold-up on a train in South Africa. The full shortlist is:

English as a First Language

  • Goodbye Kofi by Bode Asiyanbi (Nigeria)
  • Tomorrow’s Child by Janet Morrison (Jamaica)
  • Easter Island by Anton Krueger (South Africa)
  • Playing With Fire by Joanne Gutknecht (Canada)
  • Listening by Leland Frankel (USA)
  • The Virgin Missile Crisis by Hoyt Hilsman (USA)
  • If You Come This Way Again by Lindsay Nightingale (Australia)

English as a Second Language

  • The Day Dad Stole a Bus by Pericles Silveira (Brazil)
  • Only Some of Us by Elizabeth Gail (South Africa)
  • The Waterloo by Ifeoluwa Watson (Nigeria)
  • The Confessions by Thomas Hukahu (Papua New Guinea)
  • The Maid Who Made It by Mariam Samah (India)
  • Darkness At Dawn by Erupu Jude (Uganda)
  • Tell Them Where I Am by Ivy Rose Universe Baldoza (Philippines)

"It is tremendous to see such a broad range of countries represented on this year’s shortlist. Radio is a wonderful medium for powerful stories, and the growing appeal of this competition highlights the role the BBC World Service can play in supporting playwrights across the world."

Mary Hockaday, Controller, World Service English

The judging panel includes award-winning playwright Charlotte Jones; Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, Madani Younis; and actress Pippa Bennett-Warner.

For updates throughout the competition, follow the hashtag Look #BBCPlay on Twiter or visit the BBC World Service competition Facebook page. 


Find out more about the competition


Find out about previous competitions, the winners and their plays


Get advice from the experts with videos, podcasts, articles and free courses from the Open Universiy

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