The UK International Radio Drama Festival is the UK’s only outward facing radio drama festival. It is based in Canterbury, Kent, offering anyone and everyone an opportunity to celebrate radio drama through open access to the live listening sessions in person and online. Organised by International Arts Partnership, a theatre producing company, the theme has been focused on radio drama with some connection to the live stage.

The 6th edition of the Festival will be at Eastbridge Hospital in Canterbury,
from 23 – 27 March 2020.

2015 Poster

The festival aims to bring diverse work from across the world, introducing a UK audience to the European tradition of radio drama often anchored in soundscape whilst celebrating our own more text based tradition. The festival provides a UK audience with the rare pleasure of listening to radio drama in other languages, supported by English language translations of the script. The festival also brings together work from national broadcasters with that of emerging independent producers and is proud that the major prizes have largely been awarded to this exciting but lesser known work.

Awards are made by a jury – membership of which is open to anyone who commits to listening to all the work across the week – and which always includes international producers who have travelled to the festival with their work. An audience award – unique in Europe, decided by popular vote and open to anyone anywhere in the world to vote – complements the jury award and usually goes to work which has not achieved a jury award. In 2020 we hope to be able to offer an award for the best work from a first time producer. This award will take the form of a bursary towards a new piece of work.

In 2019 we were the first major International Radio Drama Festival to go paperless, introducing the idea of using Kindles to read scripts instead of printing and shipping thousands of sheets of paper.

Radio Drama with young people

Alongside the professional festival, an outreach programme takes the opportunity to make radio drama into local schools and community groups, culminating in a Community Showcase on the last Saturday of the festival.

We’ve recently produced a radio drama for People with Dementia and run a pilot for a Young People’s Radio Drama Festival.
Learn more about these projects in the Outreach section.

To find out more about our Partners and Sponsors – and how you could support us – click here.

Don’t forget to check the resources page for all things radio drama!