x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

BBC wants new radio playwrights to make waves

The broadcaster and the British Council are looking for new talent around the globe.

Do you have what it takes to write a play for BBC radio? Kurt Hutton / Getty Images
Do you have what it takes to write a play for BBC radio? Kurt Hutton / Getty Images

The BBC, in collaboration with the British Council, has launched the 23rd annual International Playwriting Competition, open to both professional and non-professional writers.

Interested applicants in the UAE are required to submit original unpublished work for a radio play of approximately 53 minutes in length on a subject of their choice.

There are two top prizes: one for the best play written by someone whose first language is English and one for English as a second language. Each will receive £2,000 (Dh11,550) and a trip to London to see their plays recorded and to attend a prize-giving evening.

The deadline for submissions is July 31.

Although the British Council has presence in more than 200 cities, there is a good chance the winning play could be one from the UAE, according to Michel Bechara, the head of projects at the British Council in the UAE. "The art of storytelling in the UAE is well established. We are confident that the quality of work could be of winning calibre," he says. "This will also be a great opportunity for stories coming from this part of the world, to be heard by such a large international audience on a platform such as the BBC."

The British Council, he adds, is very keen on showcasing emerging talent from the UAE. "The end result is about encouraging people to get creative. The competition could be the start of a new career for someone who had not previously considered it," he says.

He also sees the competition as an opportunity for local radio stations to launch their own radio-play competitions. "With the amount of time people spend on the roads here, the idea could be well received if properly organised and presented to radio listeners," Bechara says. "In addition to talk shows and music, a radio play could be something fun for commuters."

For more information, visit www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice and search for "playwriting"