Radio Drama Festival

20 second audio dramas

As the UK was hit by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were vociferant proclamations
over the importance of “washing your hands”. Or rather washing your hands frequently and
properly. We were reminded to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. In the UK, it was recommended to
sing the rhyme “Happy Birthday to you” twice through. Very soon we learned two things: first that “Happy Birthday to you” gets really, really boring when sung twice through, and secondly that 20 seconds is after all rather longer than you thought…

Having learned just how long 20 seconds hand-washing can feel, we have decided this year to
explore collaborating on “micro-dramas”: dramas to wash your hands to; a special creative core to
this year’s UK International Audio Drama Festival. We invited creatives to come together during the mornings of the festival week to find out whether we could make exciting drama exactly 20 seconds long and how that would work collaborating across languages and cultures. We provided a space, a format and some professional actors.

The outcome was that, yes, excellent 20 second drama can be made; its a highly inclusive art form; and it works really well as a collaborative venture.

Here is the work made during the festival. We would love to receive any more 20 second submissions. At the end of April, we will be awarding our first micro drama award.