The International Radio Playwriting Competition 2023

Writers from around the world are invited to submit their scripts for the 28th International Radio Playwriting Competition, which is now open for entries.

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

We are looking for entries in two categories: English as a First Language and English as a Second Language. The two first prizes can come from either category.

Both winners will attend an award ceremony in London and see their plays being recorded for broadcast and streaming on BBC World Service. A Special Commendation will be made for the runner-up in honour of the BBC World Service journalist and writer Georgi Markov (1929-1978).

Please read the competition rules and our privacy notice before entering.

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

Entries close at midnight GMT on 12 February 2023.

“Prize”: The Cash Prize and the Trip
“The Cash Prize”: £2,500 sterling (or the equivalent in a local currency at the BBC’s discretion)
“The Trip”: a trip to London (standard airfare and accommodation for one person) to see the winning play being recorded and attend a prize-giving event

1. Entry is only open to anyone who at 12 February 2023 is (a) over the age of 18 and (b) not considered to be a resident of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man (“UK”). Professional and previously published writers are eligible to enter, but this is not a requirement of entry. We may require proof of eligibility.

2. Entrants must not be BBC, BBC Group company, or British Council employees, close relatives of such employees or any person connected to the competition. Proof of age, identity and eligibility may be requested.

3. Entrants should write a radio play of approximately fifty three minutes’ length on any subject of their choice.

4. The entrants warrant, by submitting plays, that each play:

a) is the original work of the entrants
b) is not an adaptation of an earlier work (for example, a novel)
c) will not have been professionally produced in any medium (an informal play-reading is acceptable; a play-reading with a professional director and in front of a non-paying audience is acceptable, but a performance involving payment to actors and/or a paying audience is not) before 31 March 2024
d) will not have been offered for publication, performance or broadcast or produced in any other form or medium to any other person or company before 31 March 2024, and
e) will not have been entered for any other competition before 31 March 2024.

A breach of these warranties will result in disqualification from the competition.

5. The winning playwrights will be deemed to have entered into an undertaking not to accept offers for their entries from other broadcasters or publishers before 31 March 2024.

6. All scripts submitted must be approximately 53 minutes in length – this usually equates to a minimum of 45 pages of A4 paper (or equivalent) and a maximum of 65 pages (note, a rough guide is a minute per page; please read and time your play before you send it). The play should have a maximum of six central characters (there may be up to 3 small “doubling” characters too, who don’t have more than a few lines each). There must be no central roles for children. Word count approx. 9000-10000 words.

7. Your script should be accompanied by a short synopsis which outlines the complete story of the play. This must be no more than 400 words.

8. There are two categories for entry. One is for entrants who speak English as a first language, and the other is for entrants with English as a second language. The BBC may require proof of eligibility for the selected category before announcing a winner. For translated entries, it is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that the translated script fully complies with these rules and entry requirements, and the entrant must have the right to enter into a contract on the translator or translators’ behalf as per Rule 14. No additional payment can be made by the BBC for translations.

9. The play must be written substantially or entirely in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the facility to offer a translation service. Entries that have been translated must acknowledge this fact by giving a credit to the translator or translators. Entries that have been translated will be entered in the English as a first language category.

10. The competition opens on 24 October 2022 and closes on 12 February 2023. Entries must be received by midnight GMT on 12 February 2023. Entries received after this time will not be considered. Entrants are responsible for checking the equivalent closing time based on the time zones for their location.

11. Entries must be submitted in one of the following ways:

• By post to the following address: International Playwriting Competition 2023, BBC Radio Drama, Room 6015 BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA, United Kingdom

• online at https://www.bbc.co.uk/send/u21134593 by completing the online form

• by email to the following email address: radioplay@bbc.co.uk

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