19 October 2019 - 2 November 2019


UK International Radio Drama Festival comes to Canterbury

Enjoy five days of radio plays in Canterbury


The fifth UK International Radio Drama Festival takes place in ​Canterbury​ from 18 – 22 March 2019.

The festival presents five days of live listening to radio/audio plays drawn from 19 different countries and presented in 15 different languages.  

This year’s theme – celebrating our fifth anniversary – ​“your best ever work”​ and has attracted over 60 entries ranging in length from a couple of minutes to a full hour. 

Entries come from national broadcasters and from independent producers and span a wide range of genres.

Listening sessions take place throughout the day from Monday – Friday.

We listen together in glorious mono, recreating the experience of the 1 million plus daily UK audio drama listeners, many of whom enjoy their audio drama in the car or in the kitchen. Listening sessions are free and members of the public are very welcome on a drop- in basis.

For those who cannot make it to Canterbury, all plays included in the festival are available to hear via our website.  An English language script is available to live and online listeners for all plays; reading in English whilst listening in another language is an experience very similar to watching a film with subtitles. 

The ​festival jury ​makes two awards – for the best full- length entry; and the best short form (under 7 minutes). In addition, anyone who has heard the work may vote for the ​“audience award”​ in an online poll. The jury is made up of professionals and audience members; anyone who can commit to the full week of listening is welcome to put themselves forward to join it.  

Speaking about the festival, its Artistic Director, Jonathan Banatvala said:

“This is a very special festival. It constantly surprises and delights me - whether that is a perfect two minute gem or a totally immersive hour long soundscape.  But it is the opportunity for everyone – professional or audience member alike - to talk to each other about the work they have made or heard over a cup of tea which makes it so unusual.”  

In addition to the listening events, we will be welcoming the renowned radio drama critic, Gillian Reynolds​ to an evening in conversation with ​Kate Chisholm​ of the Spectator at Waterstone’s book store on Wednesday 20 March at 6.30pm.  

This year’s festival has sponsorship from the ​Writer’s Guild​ and the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. 

For further information visit the International Radio Drama Festival website.

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