This global competition offers a unique opportunity for playwrights to use the medium of radio drama to reach an international audience. This year a record of nearly 1,500 scripts were received from across the world, with entries from Egypt and Yemen making the shortlist for the very first time.
The plays range from a comedy about a house-cleaning robot, to a Syrian refugee finally telling the story of his escape on a boat. From a thought-provoking futuristic play about the meaning of life, to love and betrayal in a warzone.
The full shortlist is:
English as a First Language
- Fields Of Glittering Things, by Iz Mazano (Zimbabwe)
- Atacama, by Augusto Amador (USA)
- Stand Pipe, by Derrick Jeffrey (Thailand)
- Tanty Get Ah Android, by Julien Marvin Neaves (Trinidad and Tobago)
- By God’s Mercy, by Colette Victor (Belgium)
- An Incident Over Water, by Paul Charlier (Australia)
- Fire In The Head, by R Johns (Australia)
English as a Second language
- The Journey To Fortune? by Bode Asiyanbi (Nigeria)
- Token Dead White Guy, by Africa Ukoh (Nigeria)
- My Migingo, by Edith Osiro (Kenya)
- The Storychild, by Mohamad Aziz Salim (Malaysia)
- Shadows Of Saint Petersburg, by Xenia Pattberg (The Netherlands)
- The Checkpoint Recital, by Or Amit (Czech Republic)
- The Meaning Of Life, by Anna Spatar (Russia)
- A Boat Story, by Muhammad Addam (Egypt)
- A Broken Heart In A Warzone, by Aziz H (Yemen)
Mary Hockaday, Controller, World Service English, says: “We’re delighted to have received so many scripts, underscoring the role this fantastic award and the BBC World Service can play in supporting playwrights across the world. It’s wonderful to see such an array of countries represented on this year’s shortlist, offering new voices and perspectives from across the globe. Our esteemed judges now have the difficult task of selecting the winners.”
The scripts will now be sent to our judging panel, which this year comprises film and Royal Shakespeare Company actor Ray Fearon, award-winning theatre director Ria Parry, and award-winning poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz.
This year the two first prizes of the competition can come from either the English As A First Language or the English As A Second Language category. Both winners will attend an award ceremony in London and see their plays recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service.
A third award - the Georgi Markov prize - celebrates the most promising script from the competition’s shortlist. The winner of this prize will also travel to London for the award ceremony and spend two weeks with BBC Radio Drama and BBC World Service.
Social media users can keep up to date with the competition on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #BBCPlay.
Further details on the competition, including more information on this year’s shortlisted scripts, here.