Friday 04 December 2020

BBC World Service and the British Council have announced the winning entries for the 2020 International Radio Playwriting Competition. This global competition offers a unique opportunity for playwrights to use the medium of radio drama to reach an international audience. 

As with the 2018 competition, one winner was selected from the English As A First Language category and one from the English As A Second Language category. Both will go to London next year to see their plays recorded for broadcast on the BBC World Service, and to attend a prize-giving ceremony.

Ainur Karim, from Kazakhstan, won the English As A Second Language category with her play The Passport. A student finds a passport and against a background of increasing social unrest and familial disagreement, tries to decide whether to return it to the lawyer it belongs to. A family comedy with political resonance.

Ainur Karim commented: “I am thrilled, happy, and proud of myself. I wrote The Passport specifically for the International Playwriting competition, based on political protests in my country in June 2019.”

The scripts were judged by an esteemed panel, which this year included award-winning audio drama writer and producer, Patricia Cumper MBE, FRSA, renowned stage and television actor, Nina Sosanya, and development producer, script editor and actor Nigel Hastings.

This year there were 854 entries from 104 countries. The judges were delighted to make their final selection from entries spread across 15 different countries.

Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance at the British Council, said: “This year’s competition produced fresh and inventive scripts from both established and emerging writers from all corners of the globe. Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with each other, especially at times when physical travel is restricted. The British Council is proud to support this competition as part of our programme to develop new playwrights around the world and to help global artists find new opportunities.”

Nigel Hastings, chair of the panel, said of the judging process: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to read so many compelling stories, hear so many different voices and see so many different worlds. The submissions were truly international and making decisions was incredibly hard.”

Steve Titherington, judge and Senior Commissioning Editor of BBC World Service English, said: “The overall standard was higher than I’ve ever experienced. It’s been wonderful to see so many countries represented in this year’s competition, offering fresh voices and perspectives from across the world. We are delighted that the award is continuing to inspire participants to write scripts of real humanity and such high quality. We are thrilled about the role the BBC World Service has in supporting playwrights across the world.”

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact:

​Daniyar Duimagambetov, тел: +7 701 765 05 10;
Aizhan Rymbayeva, тел: +7 702 217 48 90

About the British Council

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.  

About BBC World Service

BBC World Service delivers news content around the world in English and 41 other language services, on radio, TV and digital.  BBC World Service reaches a weekly audience of 351m. As part of BBC World Service, BBC Learning English teaches English to global audiences. For more information, visit BBC News attracts a weekly global audience of 438m people to its international services including BBC World Service, BBC World News television channel and