Joint British-Ukrainian competition is created to promote the development of the genre of radio drama in Ukraine. The winning play will be produced and broadcast by the National Radio Company of Ukraine in January 2019, and its author will be awarded with a prize of 25,000 UAH. The winners will be determined by the jury, which will include representatives of the National Radio Company of Ukraine, Mystetskyi Arsenal, Rockethouse, and Ukrainian experts in literature and theater.

Short-listed participants will be invited to participate in a radio playwriting workshop (24 ­– 28 September 2018), led by British BBC Radio 4 and Radio 3 playwright Frances Byrnes, where they will work on their scripts, exploring a range of writing and editing techniques.

Later, the British production company Rockethouse will conduct training on the features of the production of radio play, work with actors, the choice of sound effects, musical accompaniment, and promotion of works among radio listeners for producers of the National Radio Company of Ukraine and other radio stations and online platforms who work or want to work with the genre of radio drama. Participation conditions and the dates will be announced in summer through the National Radio Company of Ukraine, the British Council, and Mystetskyi Arsenal.

The first radio dramas in Ukraine were dated back to the 1930s when radio broadcasting, along with literature, was a powerful tool of propaganda. In the Soviet Union, radio plays were called “theater in front of a microphone” and they were first broadcast live, and were recorded later. Nowadays, in Ukraine, the most common is the staging based on artistic prose. However, radio drama as a genre remains irrelevant, not trendy. Young writers almost don’t work with it, and new works are created without taking into account global trends.

“Ukrainian writers are turning to the genre of radio drama very rarely. First of all, because the further fate of such a work is unknown: in other words, if you can relatively easy publish a novel in a separate book, and you can read a poem from the stage, the play at the same time needs an additional creative phase, which is staging, as well as the platform for presentation to a wide audience. And the next problem is lack of authors’ skills with specifics of this genre. The theme and the dynamics of the text should attract: a bored listener can easily switch to another wave”, - notes Oksana Shchur, the curator of the Literary Laboratory of Mystetskyi Arsenal.

“The British writer Stephen Wyatt, who created, among other things, radio adaptations of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The Divine Comedy” for the BBC, said that the radio show takes place in your head, not before the eyes. This is exactly what gives an extraordinary freedom – both for author and listener. We invite experienced writers and novices to send stories that rethink the resonant phenomena and processes in our society, giving a new look at the daily challenges. The genre of radio drama opens up extraordinary opportunities both for the author's creative development and for the dissemination of his or her ideas to listeners throughout the country”, –comments Dasha Stokoz, manager of the British Council's literary program in Ukraine.

"The radio play is a special genre of artistic speech. The concentration of thought, emotion, voice, and imagination. Since 2008, the “Culture” Ukrainian radio has held four competitions of the original radio plays under the motto “Let's Rebuild The Forgotten Genre”. This year, the National Radio Company of Ukraine, Mystetskyi Arsenal and the British Council will combine efforts to take a comprehensive look at the process of creating a radio play, to popularize the genre of radio drama and to develop creative skills of authors who want to write for radio”, – says the producer of special projects of the “Culture” Ukrainian radio Svitlana Svyrydko-Serova.

Competition Timeline:

April 25 - June 30 – Application period

September 3 – Announcement of the short-list

September 24 – 27 – Radio play writing workshop

November 13th – Announcement of the winner

November 26 – 30 – Radio play producer and director training

January 2019 – Premiere of the winning play on the National Radio Company of Ukraine 



The National Radio Company of Ukraine is a radio platform of the Ukrainian public broadcaster by the National Public Broadcasting Company. Radio has been broadcast since 1924 and is one of the oldest broadcasters in the world. The National Radio Company of Ukraine is on three channels: the first one is a spoken news sociopolitical, the second – a youth music-talking “Promin” radio, the third one – the artistic educational “Culture” radio and has editorial programs in English, German, Romanian and Russian. “Culture” Radio is the only radio station in Ukraine that works in the genre of radio drama. Every year, there are 215 radio theater releases (“Theater in front of the microphone”, radio plays, radio broadcasting of theatrical performances).

The British Council is an international organization of the United Kingdom whose goal is to expand cultural relations and educational opportunities. We establish a friendly dialogue and build understanding between people in the UK and in other countries. We do this through a positive contribution to the United Kingdom and the countries we work with – by changing lives, creating opportunities, building connections and trust. We work in more than 100 countries around the world in the fields of art and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year, we personally interact with more than 20 million people, and cover more than 500 million people online through broadcasts and publications. For more information, please visit:

National Art and Culture Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” is a flagship Ukrainian cultural institution that aims to promote the modernization of Ukrainian society and the integration of Ukraine into the world context, basing on the value potential of culture. Synthesis and development of contemporary art, new music, theater, literature and museum spheres are made through exhibition projects and activities of the laboratories. Thus, various arts are developing and enriching each other, while artistic and professional communities find points of intersection and mutual reinforcement. Mystetskyi Arsenal also serves as a platform for interaction with the world's cultural community through joint cultural projects. 

Rockethouse’s motto is “Unexpected and Beautiful Radio”.  Founded in 1998 it’s a bijou supplier to the BBC specialising in one off documentaries and dramas for UK National Radio and the BBC World Service. They also work with Amazon audible producing sound for long duration audio dramas such as The Jungle Book and The Christmas Carol (with Sir Derek Jacobi) and narrative computer games.  

Writer Frances Byrnes began a career as a trainee at the BBC Radio Production Department in 1988. Since 2005, she has been writing artistic and memoir radio shows for Radio 3 and Radio 4. Frances adapted cowboy films and classic novels to the dramatic genre, and even put a ballet on radio.