International Drama Festival 2018: Announcing the winners

The ALCS-supported festival of radio drama from around the world saw 50 entries from 17 countries in 15 languages for its awards. The winners were announced at a reception at the Herne Bay Historical Records Society.

The International Radio Drama Festival is the UK’s only outward-facing radio drama festival. Based in Herne Bay and proudly supported by ALCS, it offers the public 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 production company, the theme focuses on radio drama with some connection to the live stage.

The judging panel for this year’s Festival awards was chaired by Tomas Soldan of Czech Radio, and Brian Shelley, the audience representative.

The winners are:


Almanak by Wederik de Backer (Belgium)

Set in De Mebloem (The Mayflower) at the Brugse Poort, a working-class neighbourhood in the city of Ghent, the play is an exquisite exploration of the meaning of community over time. The painstaking research Wederik undertook in order to create his world became the basis of a wonderfully engaging drama. Prize – £2,000

Awards in the Full Length category were also made to RTE (Ireland) for From Eden (second prize); and RTE (Ireland) for Surviving Ireland and SWR (Germany) for Eine Woche Voller Samstage (equal third).


Ophelia’s Harp by Sverr Gudjonsson (Iceland)

Based on the drowning of Ophelia, Sverr interweaves his voice ‘sculptures’ alongside Ophelia’s songs performed by the actress Arnbjorg Hlif to transform the familiar into something strange, new and utterly beguiling. Prize – £750


The Festival also has an interactive award in which the public can listen to the plays and vote for their favourite. Voting closed on Friday 6th April and the winners of the audience vote were as follows:

Third place: From Eden (RTE)
Second place: Surviving Ireland (RTE)
First place: Almanak (Belgium/Independent)

Watch Co-Chair Brian Shelley announce and discuss the Audience Award winners:

More about the International Radio Drama Festival

The Festival aims to showcase diverse work from across the world, introducing UK audiences to the European tradition of radio drama while celebrating our own more text-based tradition. It gives UK audiences 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 body of work.

Alongside the professional Festival, an outreach programme brings radio drama into local schools and community groups, culminating in a community showcase on the last Saturday of the Festival.

This year, the Festival is being extended through the UK’s first children and young peoples’ radio drama festival which will take place in Herne Bay in June.

We’re holding money for radio writers

In the past year, ALCS has paid out more than £230,000 to 1,600 radio writers for the re-use of their works. According to our records, we are holding almost £125,000 for the contributions of more than 2,200 radio writers who have not yet signed up to ALCS.

Our members are our best form of publicity, so please encourage any writer friends or colleagues to sign up in case ALCS is holding money that is due to them.