British Council/BBC World Service International Radio Playwriting Competition 2020

Closing Date : January 31, 2020

If you know that you have all it takes to write and you reside outside the United Kingdom, this opportunity is for you. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) offers you a golden opportunity to get you heard all over the world through your script. To stand a chance to be awarded this opportunity, writers all over the world are invited to turn in their scripts for the 27th International Radio Playwriting Competition.

For the records, the International Radio Playwriting Competition is jointly hosted by BBC World Service and the British Council. It presents a very special and unique opening for scriptwriters to write even from the remotest parts of the earth yet have their play heard throughout the world through the BBC World Service. This is simple to achieve because the Bbc World Service has millions (if not billions) of radio listeners worldwide.

It does not matter the level of your experience in scriptwriting. Both the already established writers and absolutely new entrants into the scene are treated equally and stand the same chance of being selected for the award. Therefore, almost anyone can take part provided he or she resides outside the United Kingdom.

Area of Interest

There is no specific area of interest. The play can be on politics, religion, livelihood, segregation, stigmatization, gender issues, personal struggles, religion or any topic you can ever think of. However, there is this singular requirement that every play to be accepted for review under this opportunity must be up to 53 minutes in length.


For this session, there will be two winners.

The plays or scripts of the eventual winners will be recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service. Furthermore, the two winners will be rewarded with £2,500 sterling.

Also in the package, as a reward, is a fully sponsored trip to and from London for each winner. This is to empower them to attend the award ceremony on a yet to be announced date. This means that the winners’ transportation (by air) and the cost of accommodation for them will be borne by the organizers.

There will also be a special award called Special Commendation which will be in memorial of writer Georgi Markov. This will go to the writer of the play/script which has greatest prospect on the shortlist.


The competition is open to;

  • Any writer who is at least 18 years (as of 31 January 2020) regardless of sex, religion or tribe.
  • Such writers who are not residing in the United Kingdom
  • Both emerging and writers who have already registered a solid presence.


Two categories are open for entry. The first category is for writers whose first language (L1) is the English Language. The other category is for those competitors who speak English but as a second language. It should be noted here that there may be need the competitors in the second category to prove their mastery of the language by the BBC.

Entry Requirement

Interested writers are to note and adhere strictly to the following requirements:

There is no restriction or specification on the topic or subject area.

Your play must be roughly 53 minutes in length. This would contain roughly between 9000-10,000 words.

Each paly is only expected to have at most of six principal characters. If necessary, you may be allowed to include up to three small “doubling” characters, each of which must not have beyond a few lines each).

The children must not be given any central role in the play.

All scripts must be written extensively or exclusively in English language.

All plays must go together with a short summary of about 400 words, which sketches the complete story of the play.


Entries could be submitted through any of the methods outlined below:

Online by clicking here.

As electronic mail to:

In person at the applicant’s local British Council office.

By post to:

International Playwriting Competition 2020,

BBC Radio Drama,

Room 6015 BBC Broadcasting House,

Portland Place,


W1A 1AA United Kingdom.


Note: No entry will be accepted and selected for review if it does not come with a duly and completely filled copy of the entry form. You can download the entry form here.

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