22nd March 2020

It’s a funny old world. Even a fortnight ago I was optimistic that I would be down in Canterbury tonight, welcoming old friends and meeting new guests to the 6th International Radio Drama Festival. The Audio Drama makers I have met from around the world are an unusual breed; intrepid, questioning of authority and authoritarianism, and passionate about their work. If any group of bloody minded individuals could have got to Canterbury for the Festival it was you.

Radio Drama Festivals are special. They return us to a different era when families listened together to radio plays coming off the wireless. Today they create a shared experience out of an art-form that is often enjoyed alone. Driving the car, cooking dinner, doing the ironing… (although when did we last do that??) Nothing can replace the joy, the learning and the collective experience of listening to great audio plays in so many tongues from so many countries. And the opportunity to meet in the evenings, discuss the work and cook up new projects together. Well, we’re not going to try to. We will simply hold the 2020 International Radio Drama Festival at the first opportunity we can later this year.

Ironically however, in the best tradition of theatre comedy, when one door closes another opens. Now is a great time to be listening to audio drama, as thousands of us around the world find ourselves at home and unable to travel; in what governments  and press like, with a touch of drama, to call “lock-down”. It’s a great time to enjoy and celebrate radio drama, first because unlike so many other art-forms now bravely “going online”, it is the performing arts medium created for and dedicated to being played at home. The radio-play is  made for this situation. And secondly, it is the art form that most magically defies the demand that we are shut-down and shut-in. All of us who work, make and listen to audio drama know that its greatest gift is that it will take you anywhere with any characters it chooses. Just shut your eyes.

So with this in mind we are loading up all the wonderful audio dramas submitted for this year’s festival here on-line and with translations of the work into English, for you and anyone to enjoy. It’s not a substitute for this year’s festival. It’s just a little added extra, to help us through a difficult time.

Jonathan Banatvala
Artistic Director

This week we’ll be releasing all the submissions received for this year’s festival. Just click on the links below to find the playlist and scripts… and enjoy!

DAY 1 – released on Monday 23rd March

DAY 2 – released on Tuesday 24th March

DAY 3 – released on Wednesday 25th March

DAY 4 – released on Thursday 26th March

DAY 5 – released on Friday 27th March

If you’re feeling generous, please consider donating to our Crowdfunder. Money raised will go to the 2020 Audience Award winner, voted by the online public (including YOU!). Voting will happen later in the year when we’ll hold the 2020 Festival.