THE WORLD COMES TO HERNE BAY: The Fourth International Radio Drama Festival

“Not only do the fish and chips taste better at Herne Bay, but the radio drama sounds better. Come and join us to listen to the best from around the world right here on our doorstep!” – Project Manager, Nicholas McInerny.

For the fourth consecutive year, Herne Bay will this month host the UK’s only International Radio Drama Festival. The event provides a unique chance to hear a remarkable selection of diverse radio drama from around the world, which ALCS is delighted to support.

Taking place from 19–23 March, this year’s festival provides a platform and competition for 50 different works in 15 languages from 17 different countries, ranging from Iran to Iceland and Romania to Russia. The theme is ‘from stage to air’, and the running times of the dramas vary between two and 54 minutes.

With the help of a Heritage Lottery Grant and sponsorship from both ALCS and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, the festival team has renovated the second floor of Pettman House in Hanover Square, Herne Bay , transforming it into a welcoming space with a vintage feel. Visitors can tune into the entries in cosy surroundings and enjoy complimentary tea, coffee and cake while soaking up radio in the old-fashioned way. It’s all a welcome return to the traditional power of broadcasting and a world away from the internet, technology and social media.

In addition to the main Pettman House venue, all this year’s entries can be heard at Beach Creative, Beach Street, Herne Bay . Beach Creative provides an accessible venue for visitors and will be celebrating the festival with an open exhibition from 20–25 March. Full details can be found on its website.

The UK International Radio Drama Festival is a truly world-spanning event. But anyone concerned that their understanding of Serbian or Icelandic may be a barrier to enjoying some of the planet’s finest radio drama need not be worried – English scripts are provided for all entries.

In addition to the main prize of £2,000, which a jury of industry experts will award, an audience prize can be voted for in person at the festival or online via its website. Listeners can also discuss what they’ve heard at the end of each day at a local pub.

The 2018 Festival will provide the opportunity for dementia patients to produce their own radio drama, with a bespoke workshop tailored to their needs. The final piece and accompanying support material will be available to download or listen to online. This follows a successful initiative at the 2017 festival, in which audio plays were broadcast in care homes, where many residents had fond memories of listening to radio plays.

Other events for the 2018 Festival include a Children’s Radio Festival to engage future generations. It is hoped this event will take place over a weekend later in the Spring.

The full programme can be found on the festival website, Facebook or Twitter.

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 haven’t yet signed up.